Mountain Bikers who Trail Run? Trail Runners who Mountain Bike?

I’ve spent a number of years bouncing back and forth between mountain biking and trail running. A few other people I know have had done the same thing, including my brother.

For certain stretches, I’ve felt like I go months (or even a year) just focused on one, or the other. Other times, I feel like they’re each an equal part of my outdoor recreational life… and that the cross-training helps both pursuits. I’ve also used mountain biking as a way to keep training, with lower impact, while recovering from repetitive running injury (e.g. stress fracture). And, of course there’s the variety. I’ve also sometimes felt like I should just drop one, so I can really focus and make some gains on the other.

So, for anyone bouncing back and forth between trail running and mountain biking, just curious what your experience has been.

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I tried doing both for a while, but could never motivate myself to mountain bike. Always just wound up running instead as I enjoyed it more and was actually faster on many of the local trails on foot. I found my fitness far exceeded my bike skill level and just lost interest.

I have since picked up road cycling though, and really like that as xtraining. I’m doing at least one ultra trail run this year and a full distance tri. So far the training seems to be pretty complimentary. I mix up long runs between trail and road and will fartlek on trails for speed work as well. I still get the structure and can have more fun in training. Win win to me


I picked up mountain biking when I joined an adventure racing team and now I am equally excited by both trail running and mountain biking often combining them into back to back training sessions. I am a newbie on the mountain bike when it comes to the skill but the ultra endurance fitness from trail running and racing is really helpful for longer mountain bike sessions. Most mountain bikers will not be able to handle 100k on trails. I’d love to know what else people are doing to combine these sports.


I’m not really a mountain biker, but a roadie who like to take a bike off road. I’ve done a bit of cyclocross, and lots of gravel type rides before gravel was a category.

The last ten years, biking has taken a back seat to running mainly due to time constraints but in the last eight months I’ve been on the bike a lot as running has been curtailed.

I’m definitely going to keep cycling in as a cross-training activity in the future.

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