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Cycling equivalent to running a marathon

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Cycling equivalent to running a marathon

Old 10-08-05, 10:47 AM
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Mayonnaise
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Cycling equivalent to running a marathon

met a guy whose running the Chicago Marathon this weekend. It got me to thinking about what would be the cycling equivalent of running a marathon. Itís hard to compare the two because they are such different endeavors, so I figured calories burned would be the best factor to use. So, how many calories do you burn running a marathon. Then, how many miles do those calories translate to in cycling? I know it depends on terrain, flat versus mountainous, but Iím just looking for a ballpark here.
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Old 10-08-05, 11:02 AM
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Right i do my full effort rides and runs work out fairly close over 55min session, running burns around 60 callories more. Differance being running iv covered 10k cycling i done 29k.
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Old 10-08-05, 12:17 PM
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Running burns off a fairly constant 100 calories/mile regardless of speed. So a marathon would be about 2600 calories.

It's hard to compare running to biking because of the muscular forces required. Running occurs with large powerful spurts of power with each push and a lot of "dead" time when your muscles aren't applying any force. Cycling is a more continuous application of less force. They end up taxing your muscles and body differently, so I'm not sure you can make a comparison. Closest comparison would be a velodrome event, perhaps 2 hours of madison or points races.
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Old 10-08-05, 12:52 PM
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Calories not whithstanding, I consider my "marathon" to be an imperial century. I have yet to complete my "marathon"...will attempt on Oct 22 though.

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Old 10-08-05, 12:53 PM
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I run all the time, and did a marathon a few months ago. I cycle about 75-100 miles a week and have to say that training and doing a marathon is harder in my opinion.
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Old 10-08-05, 01:02 PM
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Then try training to ride faster and longer.

This "which is harder" question was the genesis of the Hawaii Ironman.

Not that it settled any questions.
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Old 10-08-05, 01:05 PM
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I have done a century and a marathon and consider a marathon to be much more grueling on the body. I dont know how many miles I would need to bike to compare it to a marathon, but it would be definitely be more than a hundred.
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Old 10-08-05, 01:14 PM
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I haven't done a full marathon (and won't be able to due to injuries) but I have run 20 miles and that was MUCH harder than a century.
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Old 10-08-05, 01:15 PM
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My crap comparison:

For me running 10km leaves me at about the same soreness as riding maybe 70km.

so 42.2km x 70/10 = 295km equivalent to marathon. I think that sounds fair.
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Old 10-08-05, 01:17 PM
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Running is much harder IMO. The key is correct running technique so you don't abuse the muscles...

Farthest I've ever ran was 10 miles. That felt ALOT harder than 70 miles through canyons
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Old 10-08-05, 01:26 PM
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Hmmm i came from a running back ground, and tbh, if your working at your max over the same time frame theres little difference for me. the thing is for most poeple they take it easier on the bike, by selecting a lower gear or holding back abit. Im guilty of it too at times. But you r mileage is always goin to be higher on the bike. most of the events i do the cycling is about 1 3rd more than the run.
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Old 10-08-05, 01:37 PM
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Well, at the end of STP (204mi), I felt pretty worn out.
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Old 10-08-05, 01:38 PM
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Would depend on the persons time but say you run a marathon in x amount of time id say riding at peak performance for the same amount of time would probably be the equivalent. So if you complete the marathon in 4 hours riding the same time on a bike (constant) would be ruffly equiv. For me i can do 40 miles and head back out a hour later to silver creek for another 7 or do another 12 or even 15 miles with out feeling draiend. But if i walk the foot trails in silver creek a couple laps each (10 miles) i feel much more drained. And that 10 miles takes me about the same time as 40 miles +.
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Old 10-08-05, 01:42 PM
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Depends on what the person has trained for too. I go biking with a X country runner and biking is definatly harder for her. Conversely, I can bike for hours but try and get me to run for any decent distance and I'll die.
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Old 10-08-05, 01:56 PM
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Never done a marathon but I would think 200 or so miles on the bike would be close.
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Old 10-08-05, 01:57 PM
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I've done both and I concur that a marathon is MUCH harder than a riding a century, as is the training. I think part of it is that you get some recovery on a century like downhills, rest stops, traffic lights, etc. whereas most marathon runners never stop and active recovery is much more difficult while running. IMHO, perhaps 150-200 miles on the bike would be about the same on the road or MAYBE that trainer century Peng was talking about a few weeks ago. That might be about the same because you have full-time resistance on the trainer.
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Old 10-08-05, 02:02 PM
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World championship road race distances - 276km, 290km etc at competitive speeds.
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Old 10-08-05, 02:06 PM
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I had a physics teacher in high school work out that him biking 100 miles was the equivalent of running 15 miles. I beleived he used calories as a scale.
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Old 10-08-05, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by badcompany9
I had a physics teacher in high school work out that him biking 100 miles was the equivalent of running 15 miles. I beleived he used calories as a scale.
Go to https://calorielab.com/burned/index.html
For a calorie counter showing kcal for times and
various speeds.

For a 165 pound male:

Bicycling, leisure, moderate effort
From 12 to 13.9 mph
130 kcal in 15 min 522in one hour

Running, 7 mph
8.5 min/mile
196 kcal in 15 min 782 in one hour
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Old 10-08-05, 05:32 PM
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Not quite a marathon expert, but I have done them.

Marathoning is so physically abusive compared to cycling, its hard to compare. I am sore for days after a marathon, but fresh as a daisy after even a hard century.

For me. 200 or so miles seems to feel like a marathon.

-Z
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Old 10-08-05, 07:29 PM
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Great post!!
I have been wondering about this for a couple of months. Since my first century.
Running has some variance. I am a firm believer that road running is WAY more stressful on the body than trail running.
I've been lucky enough to run a road marathon, a trails 50 miler, and bike a century singlespeed. It is not really comparing apples to apples.
Mentally a road running race is the hardest, I think. you are staring ahead, and anticipating/dreading what lays ahead. The progess for most of us is slow, and so therefore you don't get the short term accomplishment, like climbing a short hill on a bike, or just rounding a bend faster. Or the reward of a descent. The forces of running impact on your joints AND muscles are definitely the worst of the three activities. Maybe this creates more endorphins?
In cycling, you do get the short term accomplishments, the adrenaline of higher speed, descents to rest, sometimes better cooling effects of wind and speed. You also get the sore ass from the saddle, maybe some arm, and neck fatigue.
Trail running, unpaved surfaces is kind of in between. The trail running 50 I did involved climbing at pretty high altitude, and traversing the continental divide above 12,000 for I think 12 or 8 miles straight. There was the goal within the race of completing a long climb, or reaching an aid station. I was way more conscious of where they were on the 50. Anyway, when I started to get tired in the trail race, I learned a crapload about running mechanics and efficiency of stride.
Did I learn anything about cycling mechanics on a century ride? not really, just to squirm around and keep your butt as comfy as possible. In the road marathon it is just about survival.
Probably should have ate more in the marathon, and on the other 2 I pigged out like crazy, I had to! This is an incredibly fascinating post and topic!!!
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Old 10-08-05, 07:40 PM
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I'd have to go with the majority here. I can ride a century anytime, anywhere. However running 26.2 miles is tough as hell, even if you train for it. I guess you could start comparing after a double century ride.
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Old 10-08-05, 07:41 PM
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I'd have to go with the majority here. I can ride a century anytime, anywhere. However running 26.2 miles is tough as hell, even if you train for it. I guess you could start comparing after a double century ride.

The hardest part of riding a century is the metal aspect of it. After 4 or 5 hours I get really bored on the bike, and it becomes more of a mental challenge from then on.
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Old 10-08-05, 07:45 PM
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It is generally agreed that a marathon roughly equals a double century.

I've never run a marathon, but a century is pretty easy - nice training ride - and from what I've heard about marathons they are quite a bit of effort.
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Old 10-08-05, 07:55 PM
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I think that a marathon is slightly harder than a century. In my experience they are very close though, partly because I have ran for a long time and am a reltively new road cyclist. I did my first century last week and using my Polar 725 I burned just shy of 5000 calories. I just wish I would have had the Polar back in 2002 when I ran my marathon.
The recovery was much harder from the marathon as I could barely walk the next day. I was sore after the century but not quite as bad.
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