Purpose: To determine if cycling cadence affects subsequent running speed through changes in stride frequency.
Methods: Thirteen male triathletes completed three sessions of testing on separate days. During the first session (control condition), the participants completed a 30-min cycling bout of high intensity at their preferred cadence, immediately followed by a 3200-m run at race effort. During the second and third sessions (fast condition and slow condition), the participants repeated the protocol but with a cycling cadence 20% faster or 20% slower than the control condition.
Results: After cycling at a fast cadence, the 3200-m run time averaged nearly a min faster than after cycling at a slow cadence. Running stride frequency after cycling at a fast cadence was significantly greater than after cycling at a normal or slow cadence. Stride length did not differ between conditions. Joint kinematics at foot strike, mid-stance, toe-off, and mid-swing were not different between conditions.
Conclusion: Increased cycling cadence immediately before running increased stride frequency and, as a result, increased speed.