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Biking equiv of a marathon?(21 posts)

Biking equiv of a marathon?UncleMoe
Aug 27, 2001 8:44 AM
What would you say is the biking equiv of a marathon?

- Century?
- Double Century?
- Depends on the route?
- Hills?

Just curious. I trained for a marathon last year, but on my last 20 mile run I got a frature in my foot and couldn't run (or walk for a week from the pain!). I was pretty wiped out after that run.

The longest I've ridden my bike is 80 miles and I felt OK. This Saturday I did 50 miles, but it contained 12 climbs of over .5 mile each, one climb was 3 miles with elevation of 1500 feet. I was complete toast at the end of the day.
Well it depends on your training.MB1
Aug 27, 2001 8:55 AM
But riding a Double is usually considered the equivalent of running a Marathon (as opposed to jogging and walking) by people who have done both. A century is just too easy to cruise through even though it takes a lot more time than a marathon.

Hills of course change things but I'll ignore that for now.
re: C, dependscyclopathic
Aug 27, 2001 9:04 AM
go by the time and intensity. 4-5hr marathon sounds about right, riding even flat century under 5hr solo is tough.

there're some really hilly centuries and there some really flat marathons. Wind has more influence on rider then on runner.

The beauty of biking is that if you get tired, you can stop pedaling, you can coast downhill, etc.

I'd say century = marathon
I have run a marathon beforeThioderek
Aug 27, 2001 9:06 AM
I have to tell you that nothing kicked my ass like that double century plus I did two weeks ago. It was a concerted 15 hour ride of mental and physical effort. I felt so drained after the ride, I couldnt put in more than a 95 mile week for the week that followed it-just commuting.

I felt much better after the marathon in comparison. I was able to run after 2 days off my feet. Plus my brain wasnt as wasted. I generally felt better all around.

I would say a marathon equiv would be in the neighborhood of 130-150 miles-at least for me. I recall feeling good up until this point and actually comparing how I felt to the way I came through in the marathon. After this point, I was running almost entirely on willpower. It was a tough one.

This will be different for everyone I think. Just like marathons have different courses-some are flat, some have hills, some have a headwind but they are all 26 miles. The differences can affect the times in a major way though.

Look at the Chicago Marathon-very flat and considered one of the fastest courses. Boston's has the notorious "Heartbreak Hill." While NY's has the bridges that can tax you hard.

So it is a tough comparison. I can only compare how I felt in my ride to how I felt in my marathons.

My .02.
134.56 miles on bike = 1 marathonwink
Aug 27, 2001 9:34 AM
one mans position!
The Marathon EquivalentJon Billheimer
Aug 27, 2001 9:45 AM
From my own personal experience, given an equality in terrain I'd say a double century is the equivalent. The hard parts to equate are energy expenditure vs. the "wear and tear" factor. Of course we burn a lot more calories riding a double than running a marathon. But running 26 mi. beats one up pretty badly! Once you're fit centuries feel pretty easy. However, when I did a mountainous double I felt about as wasted as I did after running several marathons. The double was mentally much tougher, though.
The Marathon EquivalentJon Billheimer
Aug 27, 2001 9:46 AM
From my own personal experience, given an equality in terrain I'd say a double century is the equivalent. The hard parts to equate are energy expenditure vs. the "wear and tear" factor. Of course we burn a lot more calories riding a double, even riding a century, than running a marathon. But running 26 mi. beats one up pretty badly! Once you're fit centuries feel pretty easy. However, when I did a mountainous double I felt about as wasted as I did after running several marathons. The double was mentally much tougher, though.
Phil Liggett said during the TDF that....................Live Steam
Aug 27, 2001 10:08 AM
a hilly stage of the TDF of about 240km was equivalent to running two or three world class marathons back to back. I am pretty sure he said three. I am not a runner, but I think this is way overstated.
Phil is a pinheadsteeveo
Aug 27, 2001 11:04 AM
... as someone hilariously said here a few weeks ago.
I'd never run that kind of HILLY marathon nmjagiger
Aug 27, 2001 7:18 PM
RAAM or the Leadville 100. (NM)MrCelloBoy
Aug 27, 2001 9:39 AM
Aug 27, 2001 10:13 AM
it takes 10 days for top finishers to do RAAM and only 10hr for reasonably fit to do Leadville 100. even if you walk you'll get through 26mi faster!
re: Biking equiv of a marathon?Breezydz
Aug 27, 2001 9:53 AM
I've done quite a few of each and find a century ride feels much like the first 25 miles of a 50 mile run. Moving along without much regard for pace and not a lot of suffering. I once did a slightly hilly century with a goal of breaking 6 hours and found it more tiring but less painful than a marathon.

There are an awful lot of variables to even out if one is to make an arithmetic equation. Somebody - probably a tri-athlete - has probably used a heart rate monitor, stayed in the target zone for both distances, and arrived at the answer. I'm content to be able to do both and can say with confidence that a century ride is usually much more fun.
re: Biking equiv of a marathon?saa
Aug 27, 2001 9:55 AM
i've run a marathon in 3:30 which is not that hard once you train for it,you can still cruise at a pace that make you sweat, so biking is the same doing 100 is not that bad if your in shape, the only part of running that is hard is the abuse on the body, because your really not that tired
another opinionSamDC
Aug 27, 2001 10:02 AM
Some say that biking 3 to 4 miles is equivalent to running one mile, so if a marathon is 26.2 miles than its biking 78.6 to 104.8 would be the analog. However, reading from some of the posts it would seem these distances would be too short.
Aug 27, 2001 10:27 AM
it's about right.
I worked with a gal and she would run marathon in 4.5hr. Riding solo 4.5hr would put me ~90mi mark, and I am fitter then she is.
re: Biking equiv of a marathon?PegLeg
Aug 27, 2001 10:37 AM
Century == Marathon

This depends on the century. I did a solo century in early July. I had a fairly strong headwind. After 50 to 60 miles I felt it. The last 20 miles were like hell. I was hurting for several days afterwards. This was like a marathon.

I did another century in late July. I don't remember any real headwinds. I rode with 4 other riders in a paceline. We all pulled our duty at the front. This century was a piece of cake. I felt it afterwards but I was not hurting. In fact, I did 55 miles the next day.

It all depends.
Calories per hourMel Erickson
Aug 27, 2001 10:58 AM
I think this would be a good starting point for comaprison. Not sure how many calories are burned per hour for each, though. My wife could tell me but she's working (like I should be!). Find an average pace for a marathon (3-4 hour marathon?) then figure out how many calories per hour are burned. Using an average cycling pace (say 15mph) and the same number of calories burned as calculated for a marathon, you can figure out the distance. You'd have to take into consideration the pounding your body takes running vs. cycling and adjust for that too. Both cycling and running are done over varied terrain and could not readily be compared. You wouldn't have to worry about that. It's one of those "everything else being equal" things.
Calories per hour?Tahn
Aug 27, 2001 6:04 PM
This site gives you the calory expenditure for different activities for your own weight.

My personal experience is running is much harder on your body. I can manage to do a century (solo)in less than 7 hr. but am still struggling to complete my first marathon in less than 4 hr.
re: Biking equiv of a marathon?Ray Sachs
Aug 28, 2001 4:53 AM
Hmmm, the consensus seems to be that doing a century is easier than a marathon. I've never tried a marathon, but judging from when I used to run, a 10-mile run used to beat me up more than a century does now, despite the time difference. So I'd have to agree with that consensus. I think coasting plays a huge role in your ability to rest on a bike. So let's eliminate that variable.

How about a marathon equals a century on a fixed-gear bike. No coasting. I rarely ride more than 50-60 miles on a fixed gear, but assuming it's reasonably hilly, that's a pretty tough ride. I would think an even remotely hill century would be a pretty tough go on a fixed.

problem in comparing the twoDuane Gran
Aug 28, 2001 5:29 AM
I will volunteer up front that although I have done a bit of running, I have never run a Marathon. I don't speak from experience, but I have done some henious things on a bike.

My observation is that the runner must support the body in addition to completing the event, whereas the cyclist's body is supported (mostly) by the bike. I have done rides where I nearly collapsed after standing off the bike, not realizing how fatigued I was. I have seen runners collapse also, but make no mistake about it, running is harder on the body. When I say that I refer to the frame (joints, bones, etc). If you doubt this, take a poll of people in your cycling group and you will find that an alarming amount of them are former runners. It is hard to distinguish the muscle fatigue from the joint stress.

I have heard that it easily takes 3 weeks to recover from running a Marathon such that you can do it again. I attribute much of this long recover time to the stress on the non-muscular parts of the system, namely the joints. Yeah, cycling can cause knee problems, but hour per hour of excercise I would bet my last dollar that cycling has much fewer injuries. This isn't to speak ill of running, it is just that runners need to pay extra heed to stretching and warmup/warmdown to avoid injury. There are exceptions to every rule, but this is why I think it is hard to compare them.

If we used the "3 week recovery" as a rule, I think in cycling only the sickest of ultra endurance events (yeah, that's you dog) would qualify. If we use caloric expenditure as a measure, I bet something between 125-150 miles would equate. Who knows? They are both really hard. Now we need some Iron Man folks to come in and tell us how it really works...