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Cycling equivalent to running a marathon

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Cycling equivalent to running a marathon

Old 10-08-05, 07:59 PM
  #26  
Corsaire
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I agreed that running a marathon would be equivalent to a DOUBLE century on the bike. Only the marathon abuses much more the body because of the road pounding.

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Old 10-08-05, 09:18 PM
  #27  
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You know it's funny. All of us here think running is harder. But I have a friend who's a runner who've done marathons, etc. He did a 50+ mile ride with me once to train for his triathlon. After we were done, he told me that he felt like he had just ran a marathon. I personally think running is more difficult but that's because I'm a cyclist. So keep that in mind.

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Old 10-08-05, 09:46 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by Comatose51
You know it's funny. All of us here think running is harder. But I have a friend who's a runner who've done marathons, etc. He did a 50+ mile ride with me once to train for his triathlon. After we were done, he told me that he felt like he had just ran a marathon. I personally think running is more difficult but that's because I'm a cyclist. So keep that in mind.
Exactly. If you don't train as a runner, you're gonna think a marathon is a lot harder than a century. Similarly, most runners won't be able to hop on a bike and do a century easily either.

I think a marathon is comparable to a century.
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Old 10-08-05, 10:39 PM
  #29  
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Although calories are one thing to consider, it's the repeated shock or impact to a runner's body that makes a marathon so much more grueling and damaging than a bicycle race that burns the equivalent amount of calories. You really can't compare the two becaue of this reason. The Tour de France can go on for three weeks and thousands of miles, because bicycling doesn't damage the body as much as running. It would be unimaginable to run multiple marathons over the course of three weeks. In the Olympics, you're doing a lot of if you run the marathon and the 10k. I've trained for and run four marathons, and that's enough for me. If I have a few hours to spare these days, I would rather spend it on my road or mountain bike rather than running just because I don't want to deal with the effects of running's abuse to the body afterwards. My wife's training for a marathon to qualify for Boston again, and she said after that, she's done with marathon training. One big thing running has over cycling is that you can get a decent workout running in 30 minutes. I don't like starting out hard, so 30 minutes of cycling is only the warmup for me.
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Old 10-08-05, 10:41 PM
  #30  
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For the effort level that most people run a marathon at, I think a 80-100 mile, lots of climbs ride at a good average speed would be equivalent effort. They're hard to compare though. Completely different in terms of the demands, I think.

Background: As a former collegiate runner, I can run at 7-7:30/mile pace for the rest of my life. 10 mile recovery runs at 63:00 or faster regularly back then. 80+ mile weeks (running). Now, I can ride ~20mph solo for a couple hours in low wind conditions as well. I get about 275miles/week in now on the bike. I have never run a marathon, but have put in 20 mile runs, and 30 mile days. I know I could do it if I wanted to, but never had any interest in it. I like SPEED.

To be honest, people give marathoning too much credit. My dad runs high 3:20/low30s, has terrible form, and runs about 30-40 miles a week. He ADMITS he doesn't train that hard. He qualified for Boston this past year. Maybe I'm a snob, but I don't find "running" a 4:30 marathon anything special. Half @ssing through life is not for me.

In terms of comparing road/track racing (running) to road racing (cycling), i think the 3k-10k vs the 20-40k TT would be a good match up. Both disciplines at those distances are short enough to have you in pain for quite a large amount of the race. Whereas a marathon is damn near entirely aerobic and doesn't really kill until deep into the race, not much lactic acid buildup until the end. Both of them (short run and TT) rip your guts out if you're giving it your all.
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Old 10-08-05, 10:42 PM
  #31  
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I think a marathon is comparable to a century.
I bet you've never run a marathon. Give me a flat stretch of road with no wind. If I want to be able to walk normally the next day, I'll take the century any time over the marathon.
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Old 10-08-05, 10:46 PM
  #32  
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To be honest, people give marathoning too much credit. My dad runs high 3:20/low30s, has terrible form, and runs about 30-40 miles a week. He ADMITS he doesn't train that hard. He qualified for Boston this past year. Maybe I'm a snob, but I don't find "running" a 4:30 marathon anything special. Half @ssing through life is not for me.
Your dad has good running genes that he obviously passed on to you.
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Old 10-08-05, 11:41 PM
  #33  
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From my nym you can figure out that I have been a marathon runner; much better than average but not at all a top runner, even qualifying for the Olympic Marathon Trials was pretty much a dream (PR 2:35, hurt trying to go 2:29, needed 2:22+/- for qualifying). When making the comparison it is good to make things match and comment on the things that do not line up. A three hour marathon is a "standard" for a good recreational runner, but not someone that is a particularly good runner (unless you are adjusting for age).

At 3:00, the pace is 6:51/mile and the caloric rate is 900 calories per hour. This probably equivalent to riding 22 mph. Thus, ride 66 miles in three hours to get an work level tht is on par. Next, you cannot eat much if anything at that pace and fluid intact is not nearly so easy as on the bike. Therefore, restirct your fluid and, especially, your food intake to match the circumstances.

The running, as many have commented, involves much more pounding, although training and good technique diminish this. If you see a top-level marathon runner, the pace is 4:50 or better per mile (5 min/mile is 2:11:05); if you have run that fast recently, even if jst for half a mile, I bet you did not look anything like those top runners. They do not look like that are going that fast because they are so smooth (and you have to be otherwise you give up too much).

To go relatively hard, try a 6min/mile marathon (2:37:18), which is a very good recreational runner. Now do the 66 miles in 2:37 and see what the effort is (and note, ride solo with no drafting for the comparison). This is slightly misleading because the wind resistance makes more of an impact when speeding up by 15% riding than running. However, the critical "glycogen burning" metabolic paths are pushed to the limit running at this pace and the :clamer" situation, sitting in the saddle, makes it a bit easier on the bike.

To run well, I think that you need to be consistently at what many consider high mileage -- say 80+mi/week. This really is not that much, since it is only 9 hours or less. At 20 mph average, this is would cover 180 miles on the bike, not a level that would usually be adequate for, say, a Cat III racer. When I ran marathons, my peak weeks would be 100 miles and typically I would do 400 miles/month or almost that for the last two months of training (backing off sooner than for riding).

When I started racing on the bike I rarely did more than 200 miles/week and yet was able to win a fair proportion of my Cat III races. Of course, a key factor here is that I primarily raced hill climbs and a few hilly road races, and my training involved a fair bit of climbing (Glendora Mountain Rd/Mt Baldy; Carbon Canyon/Brea Canyon, Puddingstone 8.3mi loop (used for the Pomona Valley race, I think) at pretty hard work rates (I was always under 70 minutes for the Mt Baldy climb, which I did periodically, and between 1:21 and 1:26 on the 22 mi Glendora route to Mt Baldy). I believe that these climbs were done at 1000 - 1100 calories per hour, about the same as 55 - 60 minutes for 10 miles.
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Old 10-09-05, 12:37 AM
  #34  
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OK, let me ask you this ...


How many marathons can a reasonably fit person do each year? This is an honest question ... I'm not sure. The only thing I have heard is that most people train for one, or maybe two per year.

But I know lots and lots of people who ride several centuries a year without any difficulty at all. There's a whole group of us who ride a century each month of the year, for example. Several of us are well past that now, already, and still going. Many of us not only do multiple centuries each year, but also ride brevets and randonnees which are longer ... sometimes much, much longer.

This has not been a particularly good year for me, but I'll give it as an example. I have ridden:

7 - centuries
5 - 200K brevets
3 - 300K brevets
2 - 400K brevets
1 - 1200K randonnee

How many marathoners do 18 events in a year? My point is this ... if running marathons were as easy as riding a bicycle, wouldn't more marathoners do more events each year?
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Old 10-09-05, 12:42 AM
  #35  
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i used to run 32 miles every weekend, plus play rugby 2 a week, (2 games and 2 training sessions) and cycling was my mode of transport back then.
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Old 10-09-05, 12:48 AM
  #36  
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I've been a runner for 20 years, and just started cycling 2 months ago. I've run 15 marathons with a best of 2:36. I did my first century after just 2 weeks of biking, and I was sore, but not nearly as sore as any of my marathons. One difference though is that I always raced the marathons, but did the century just to complete it. During the century on the last few climbs, I was in my lowest gear, spinning and didn't know if I could make it, but after a down hill I recovered and was able to push it over the last few flat miles. When running a marathon, once I start to bonk, it's over and there's no coming back. The great thing about cycling is that you can do hard efforts day after day with relatively little soreness, unlike running. That's one reason why you'd never see a running version of a stage race like the tour de France, and if you did, the speeds would be much slower than a single marathon. So to answer the original question, I would guess around 150-180 miles on the bike would equal a marathon soreness wise, but you'd burn a lot more calories because it would take a lot longer.
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Old 10-09-05, 03:22 AM
  #37  
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I trained for a tri and was using the HRM and checking out the data...
My average HR running was way higher than cycling, which was in turn, way higher than swimming.

How far would you need to swim to + a run marathon?
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Old 10-09-05, 04:01 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by Machka
OK, let me ask you this ...


How many marathons can a reasonably fit person do each year? This is an honest question ... I'm not sure. The only thing I have heard is that most people train for one, or maybe two per year.
Very good point. For the past few months, I've been riding a century every weekend. I've only been riding for about 1.75 years. I couldn't imagine running a marathon every weekend. I've been running for 11 years. Has anyone done a marathon every weekend? Sounds like knee-suicide to me.
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Old 10-09-05, 06:22 AM
  #39  
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160k, HARD on the bike, flat course solo.roughly the same time elapsed
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Old 10-09-05, 06:33 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by Corsaire
I agreed that running a marathon would be equivalent to a DOUBLE century on the bike. Only the marathon abuses much more the body because of the road pounding.

Corsaire
A double century on a fixed gear through mountains and cobblestones...


...never mind the calories- it is the body's abuse that is most difficult.

Ever notice that most ELITE marathoners only run a handful of races per year (despite all their training)- that should also say something- where as in the TdF racers ride more than 100 miles many days consecutively.
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Old 10-09-05, 06:44 AM
  #41  
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I would like to think that a century like Portland's Torture 10,000 would be close... 100 miles / 10,000ft of elevation gain. I know I was thoroughly destroyed both physically and mentally afterwards

You would think a 39/26 would be plenty low enough for climbing...not so much on that ride. lol

Otherwise maybe a double century...certainly not your run of the mill century though.
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Old 10-09-05, 07:13 AM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by Jakey
I would like to think that a century like Portland's Torture 10,000 would be close... 100 miles / 10,000ft of elevation gain. I know I was thoroughly destroyed both physically and mentally afterwards

You would think a 39/26 would be plenty low enough for climbing...not so much on that ride. lol

Otherwise maybe a double century...certainly not your run of the mill century though.
I've done several 10k ft/100mi rides (on a 39/23) and they are still not close to even 20 miles running. I'm basing this on what I see as the most practical aspect to go by: perceived effort. Calories burned is a good scientific marker, but it only takes into account one part of the whole experience.

I still think Machka and filtersweep have a very good point in that even top runners don't run many consecutive marathons.

I'd say at LEAST a double century, but probably more like some higher randonneur events like 500km. I as a recreational runner would try for one or two marathons a year (if I could still run). Also, as a recreational rider, would try for one or two 4-500km rides a year.
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Old 10-09-05, 08:20 PM
  #43  
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I've been thinking about this one. How I feel after a marathon. And how I feel after a bike event.

My new best comparison is:

- Ride 80 miles
- Throw yourself down a flight of stairs
- Ride 20 more miles


For your amusement and consideration.

-Z
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Old 10-09-05, 09:09 PM
  #44  
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You can just as easily ask how many rounds of boxing equal a century on a bike.
They are totally different. Running abuses your joints much more than swimming or biking. Additionally, you have the issue of pace. If you do a 7 hr. century, that is equivilent to walking a marathon as far as time and average heart rate . I know I can walk 26 miles with very little preparation. I have been training for 3 months to ride a 7 hr. century, and there is a question whether I will make it.
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Old 10-09-05, 09:58 PM
  #45  
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This thread picqued my interest, reminding me of something, and the reference to the Chicago Marathon today made me go check. My nephew both rides a bike and runs marathons. He ran the Chicago Marathon today. He was about 7 minutes slower than last time, but he did it a lot faster than I could in my dreams. Bib #611- Andy Hass.
https://results.doitsports.com/lasall...names=&x=0&y=0

The way I run, a marathon would be about equal to RAAM.
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Old 10-09-05, 10:22 PM
  #46  
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Great thread. I just did a half and I'm considering doing a full marathon in December. I've got nothing to add other than I agree that it would take at least a double to equal 26.2 on your feet.
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Old 10-09-05, 11:01 PM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by 7rider
I bet you've never run a marathon. Give me a flat stretch of road with no wind. If I want to be able to walk normally the next day, I'll take the century any time over the marathon.
Wrong. I ran 2 marathons.
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Old 10-10-05, 09:34 AM
  #48  
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want to thank everyone for putting so much thought into their answers. I know it's impossible to compare but this sure does help clear up my thinking about the two events.

One thing I can say for sure, I love my bike. Running, while fine for others, is something I just can't do. It doesn't capture my spirit like cycling. It doesn't make me think I'm flying.
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Old 10-10-05, 10:16 AM
  #49  
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Funny thing is, I don't mind running on a treadmill, but I hate riding on rollers / trainers. Kinda the reverse when I'm outside.
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Old 10-10-05, 10:47 AM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by Machka
How many marathons can a reasonably fit person do each year? This is an honest question ... I'm not sure. The only thing I have heard is that most people train for one, or maybe two per year.
Back when I ran more and read Runner's World religiously, I recall an article on at least one guy that ran one marathon every week for a year (I don't recall what time he did them in). I can't imagine doing that because it seems that the stress on your joints would be tremendous, although as someone pointed out, the elite runners focus more on technique than "plodders" like me. I am in awe of you "recreational" runners who do 2:35 marathons.

Having done both (poorly), I think marathons may be somewhat tougher, but the recovery time is a huge difference in my experience. That's a major reason that I cycle.
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