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Running to Riding Conversion(14 posts)

Running to Riding Conversionlemonlime
Sep 26, 2003 11:35 AM
I've recently been diagnosed with plantar faciitis and am probably looking at a loooong layoff from running. So I plan on using my mtn bike for some road riding, too, but was wondering how many biking miles equal a running mile. Would it be two to one, three to one?

re: Running to Riding ConversionTNSquared
Sep 26, 2003 11:54 AM
Based entirely on my own experience and backed with no physiology knowledge or scientific data whatsoever, I'd say between 3-5 bike miles to 1 running mile.

I've run for almost 20 years now, including several marathons, and just started riding this past March. I've already done quite a few rides over 100 miles, with a long of 130, and still haven't approached the fitness I have when I'm marathon training.

Of course, thats only taking general aerobic fitness into account. Alot of the conversion would probably depend on how hard you tend to push yourself in running and on the bike. The bike offers more opportunity to recover during the work out by coasting, so fight that temptation if you are looking to get the most benefit out of the fewest miles.
By which measure?Humma Hah
Sep 26, 2003 12:18 PM
As a general rule of thumb, an average adult male will burn around 600 calories per hour on a bike. I'd guess the figure is pretty close to the calorie burn per hour for running, because you do both a little below your AT. A measured figure for cruisers, also applicable to MTB's, is 50 calories per mile on flat terrain. Roadbikes are somewhat more efficient, maybe 35-40 calories per mile. If climbing, add about 20 calories per 100 ft.

But on abuse to the body, cycling is a whole other world. 100 miles on a bike is relatively easy compared to a running marathon. No pounding, very little pain. Double centuries (200 miles in a day) are not superhuman events. There are people who have ridden quad centuries, ultra-distance events like a solo 508-mile race, or even the Race Across America: diagonally across the US, the solo record being 8 and a half days.
Depends on what you consider running a lot.mk_42
Sep 26, 2003 12:29 PM
I ran XC. To me, while building base, 8 miles wasn't too far. During the season our "off" days were usually 5 miles. The guys who run the 400 consider 2 miles far. Marathoners (no thank you) probably consider 8 miles an off day. I guess it's the same with riding though not as much.

That said: "Long" distances (40-60 miles) I'd consider about even to building base and peg it at 5 to 1. "Short" distances with a faster pace (~25 miles) feels more like 8 to 1. I ran seriously in highschool and for 10Ks etc. and stuff but I just bike for pleasure for now but that's about how I'd compare it.

And as a side note keep in mind that it's totally different muscles. Both cardio yes, but totally different. Your milage will probably go up pretty fast at first as you get used to using bike muscles. If you've ever switched sports I'm sure you know what I mean.

not totally different musclesSao
Sep 26, 2003 2:24 PM
I used to think they were very different, but don't think that anymore. They both primarily rely on legs. If you live and train in a hilly area, you use many of the same muscles in both activities. Running up a hill or doing stairs is very similar to standing up a hill on a bike - quads and calves. You use your quads more on flats riding a bike, obviously, but if you are sprinting a lot or running stairs, you also use your quads a lot.

I guess if you are just a casual runner who doesn't do much in the way of sprints or hills, you won't use the same muscles as cycling *as much*, but they still are used.

You even use the ITB in both, although running seems to make mine flare up more often. Damned flat feet.

With running, you are pumping your arms, so you get more of an upper body workout, but then again, if you climb hills a lot on the bike, you use your arms and shoulders as well. Running seems to keep the middle tighter.

Maybe someone can enlighten me with a formulaic explanation as to what it is that is so different, but I can go many weeks cycling a lot but barely running at all, then run a half marathon in the same time as before, so something is keeping the fitness level up. I think it's the cycling cross training.

My $.02.
really dependslaffeaux
Sep 26, 2003 1:07 PM
I can ride a bike for 25 miles without a second though. Two days ago I tried to run 2 miles and had to stop several times, and I'm still very sore from it today. The activities are different and difficult to compare.
re: Running to Riding Conversionjrescpa
Sep 26, 2003 1:35 PM
My Approach. I figure 6 miles cycling to 1 mile running assuming my heart rates compare. Base pase running for me is HR 140-145. So I try to use that as my guide. A 60 mile ride is still easier on the legs than a 10 mile run. Your peronal ratio will depend on which sport you are stronger in.
re: Running to Riding Conversionlyleseven
Sep 26, 2003 2:05 PM
It very much depends upon whether you are cycling on flat or hills. if you are doing a lot of climbing the ration is closer to 2 to 1. On the flats without sprinting, it goes up much higher. Per hour, it is about 3 to 1 if on the flats. But, keep in mind, different muscles are used. A lot of running may help more in changing to cycling, but the reverse is less true.
they say a century is equal to a marathon nmrrjc5488
Sep 26, 2003 3:18 PM
Whoever says that hasnt done both.Steve_0
Sep 29, 2003 3:55 AM
I believe a double century is much closer to a marathon (talking toll on body, not fuel consumption ---otherwise I agree with kerry, below).

My background is running, yet an impromtu century is far easier than a well-planned marathon.
Sep 26, 2003 5:11 PM
Running consumes about 100 calories per mile for a 150 lb. person. Cycling consumes about 33 calories per mile for the same person. Answer: 3 to 1. Running is a lot harder on your body, so it is NOT correct to say that "a century equals a marathon" even though the century burns more calories. You can do a century day after day "forever" but you could never run marathons every day. The fact that your HR is different running than cycling at the same power level (calorie burn rate) is due to the higher physiologic demands of lifting your entire body off the ground for every step.
I agree with Kerry, 3:1bianchi boy
Sep 27, 2003 10:39 AM
I used to run primarily and cycle for cross-training. Back then, I figured 4 miles cycling equaled about 1 mile running. Now that I don't run any more and cycle much more, I think the ratio is closer to 3:1. That's because I cycle a lot harder than I used to back when it was just a diversion. If you're just putsing around at 12 mph on flat roads, it would be much higher, like 5 or 6:1. Riding at faster speeds, especially on hilly roads, lowers the ratio quite a bit. I used to like running up hills, but climbing on a bike is much more painful and difficult (for me anyway). Of course, cycling doesn't subject your body to all the wear and tear that running does. But that's what makes cycling such a good aerobic sport -- because you burn a lot of calories without pounding your joints to death and getting all sorts of injuries.
Who knows? somewhere between 3-5:1. I do have advice on PF thoMg1
Sep 27, 2003 4:37 PM
I did a PF tour 3 years ago, thanks to a trail run. I suffered with it for 2 mos, then got serious about treatment. Went to the Podiatrist, since he did me right years earlier with Orthotics; he checked it out and rec'd ibuprofen + stretches + icing. Did that, no change for 2 mos. Tried the night splint, PF wraps - no help. Called podiatrist back, he said next step was a cortizone shot, maybe surgery. I didn't like either option so kept going with the stretching.

Finally, at the advice of a former PF sufferer, I went to a Physical Therapist. By this time it was regularly swollen and extremely tender in the morning. The PT I saw was a PF pro. She gave me a different, much more effective - and time consuming - stretching / icing regimen, PLUS 2-3 weeks of treatment ultrasound and massage. She also had my doc write a scrip for Celebrex, which cut down on the pill intake.

But the ultrasound was what did it for me. I noticed a difference in 10 days, and within 2 mos I was able to start comfortably ratcheting up the miles.

BTW, I kept running for almost the entire time, although at ~30-50% of my normal (20-30/week) mileage, and no speedwork (or trail runs!). This is somewhat controversial, but the PT rec'd this as long as I kept with the stretching / icing.

Hope that helps, and good luck...PF is a pain in the @ss. I've run for 20 years and fortunately that's the worst injury I've ever had to deal with.
Who knows? somewhere between 3-5:1. I do have advice on PF tholemonlime
Sep 27, 2003 9:23 PM
Thanks for the advice. I'm in the Navy and get physical therapy for free, so I'm heading down there on Monday! Looking at so bleak a layoff has really had me down. I simply love running. Everyone talks about the wear and tear, but other than a stress fracture, this (PF) is about the only other problem I've had. I've had the symptoms for about two or three months now, but was trying to ignore it. Then it began to effect me just walking, chasing the kids around, etc. Figured I should have it looked at.

I've mountain biked for a few years and kind of always considered roadies as crazies with a death wish, but then I made the "mistake" of watching the tour, and watching Lance go up the Alp d'Huez was awesome, and reminded me of attacking the hills on foot. I loved the intensity and suffering (I also mountain climb). And a little obsessive/compulsive disorder goes a long way. :)

Sorry for the ramble. Thanks for the replies/advice!