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Article compares Cycling to Running...(16 posts)

Article compares Cycling to Running...timfire
Nov 15, 2002 2:05 PM
I don't know if you all have seen this, but I know the topic of cycling vs running comes up from time to time. I found this article interesting even though I don't run. Anyway, to sum it up without giving figures, the issue with comparing the two sports is the role aerodynamics play (especially w/ cycling). Because running happens at such low speed, wind doesn't become much of a issue and thus effort (per mile) is fairly constant. But as even a new cycling knows, wind resistance increases exponentially with speed on a bike. Thus when comparing the two, you must compare running to cycling at a specific speed.

Using the numbers in the article, a century at 15mph is equivalent to running about 28.5 miles.

Anyway, here's the article:

"Convert your cycling miles to running miles ... and vice-versa" [ ]

Seems to confirm that a century and a marathon are . . .ms
Nov 15, 2002 2:14 PM
nearly equivalent. Except that if I ran a marathon, I probably never would walk again -- I hate to think about what it would do to my knees.
Exactly re kneesvindicator
Nov 15, 2002 2:32 PM
Looking at marathoning as a runner, and never having run one, it always seemed to me that the big barrier wasn't aerobic and muscle conditioning to put out enough energy to propel me 26.2 miles. The big barrier was conditioning my muscles, joints, tendons, etc. to take the pounding of that many landings.

So a century may be equal to a marathon in terms of calories burned, watts produced, whatever, but not in physical wear and tear.

Given the nature of the ultra-endurance sports world to keep pushing the envelope, if this "equation" were valid, I would have expected the runners to have come up with something like the TdF - a marathon a day for ___ days. That they haven't says to me that a marathon indeed takes a greater overall toll on the bod than a century.

Which is one of the reasons I can't wait to try a century in the spring rather than a marathon!

Off-topic: Ultra-marathonstimfire
Nov 15, 2002 2:42 PM
Speaking of ultra-endurance sports, my fiance heard a story over the summer on NPR about a 100 mile running race held in Death Valley! The winner did it in like 39 hrs (if I'm remembering correctly), and like 5 or 6 hrs faster than the next contestant. They had support teams and everything.
Off-topic: Ultra-marathonsFrankDAfish
Nov 15, 2002 3:03 PM
i forgot what that ultramarathon (hellfire ultramarathon maybe?) but they run from death valley to halfway up mt. whitney. The real hardcores continue up to 14,000+ summit.
Badwater Ultradotkaye
Nov 15, 2002 3:22 PM
Actually 135 miles, it used to go all the way up to the summit of Mt Whitney, but the National Park Service wouldn't allow it, after a few years. Not sure what the rationale was. This year the race was won by a 41-yr old woman, 5 hours ahead of the first man..
Badwater Ultrabob_vanderhaus
Nov 15, 2002 3:42 PM
The winners of all ultra events seem like they are in their 40's. I guess the RAAM and 135 mile running races are where all the "have beens" finish their careers when they can no longer be competitive in sensible events with the youngsters... ;-)
A friend of mine...4bykn
Nov 15, 2002 4:22 PM
competes in a marathon each year. This sounds insane to me. She is(as am I) a low-flatlander, central Illinois. She runs 13 miles up Pikes peak, then runs 13 back down. Doesnt even sound like fun to me!
From a former marathonerTREKY
Nov 15, 2002 3:30 PM
I've run several marathons before I switched full time to cycling.In my many years of running and racing I've been through just about every runners injury you could go through.I can tell you from experience that the recovery from the century ride and the marathon is not even close.You can recover and go back to your normal activities at least three times faster after a century ride than a marathon.I don't plan on running anymore marathons but I've already pencilled in 3 centuries for next year.
I agree, ...a marathon takes more out of you [nm]bent_spoke
Nov 15, 2002 4:05 PM
Math not so hotKerry
Nov 15, 2002 4:19 PM
Riding at 15 mph/24 kph consumes about 20 calories per mile/12 calories per km. (160 lb. rider, no wind, flat roads). So 100 miles = 2000 calories at that speed. Riding at 20 mph/32 kph ups caloric consumption about 55% per unit of distance. Riding a century at the higher speed burnas about 3100 calories. Running a marathon is around 2600 calories, so riding a century at 18-19 mph burns about the same calories as running a marathon. However, the damage to your body from running is no comparison. Riding 100 miles day after day is not that big a deal. Running marathons day after day is well nigh impossible.
I've run 8 marathons..Juanmoretime
Nov 15, 2002 4:51 PM
under 3 hours and the toll it took on my body is much more than even a very fast paced century. Atfter a 20 plus average century I ready to ride the next day. Usually the next day after a marathon I can barely walk, resuming running is usually a week later and I still recovering for a couple weeks after that.
I've run 8 marathons..otiebob
Nov 16, 2002 8:51 AM
Yeah - same experience here. I've done 6 marathons and 7 centuries. The marathon is much harder on the body than a century and requires a lot more training in advance if you're looking to finish with a PR. I would love to hear from someone who has done an offroad century on mtb. It might be more like the marathon as far as soreness and recovery time. Maybe 150 or double century on road is more like the marathon experience. Regardless, I would encourage every cyclist who can, to try a marathon and every runner to hop on a bike and do a century (both with proper training of course). Both are really rewarding experiences and make you appreciate the nuances and mental/physical aspects of 2 great, and distinctly different, sports.

Ive done LOTS of off-road centuries and 24'sekdave
Nov 16, 2002 10:21 AM
Id say that the off-road century compares with a road double century and then some.

In terms of how it beats youre body up....yes, off road is much, much harder on you than road.

I can ride a century as training rides 2 or 3 times a week. But after 100 on dirt, Im sore and stiff for a week.

24's are a whole other ball game. You feel like crap for a couple days, then you feel great. Trouble is, 9 times out of ten you come down with a cold withn the week after a 24. I guess it destroys your immune system.
re: Article compares Cycling to Running...DINOSAUR
Nov 16, 2002 9:30 AM
What the article refers to is the number of calories burned off comparing cycling to running.

Long distance running takes a toll on the body. I've run about 8 full marathons and about 3 times that amount of 1/2 marathons and 10K's. Then injury did me in around 1986.

Most long distance runners end up getting injured somewhere down the line because of the impact. Guys who cycle for years can end up with lower back problems, unless you work on the abs (what I am learning now).

Wish I could run again. Run during the winter and cycle during the summer, best of both worlds....
I feel your pain.VertAddict
Nov 16, 2002 11:04 AM
A relatively recent and severe hiking ankle/foot injury has me side-lined from running too, but even before that I had all sorts of knee problems. I ran a 3 hour marathon back in the day, but the 10 mile race was the distance I really loved, and it pains me not to be able to do them now.

I have this dream of a world where I can cycle and run every day, injuries aren't a problem, time isn't an issue - now back to reality!