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Running vs Bike riding energy expenditure

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Running vs Bike riding energy expenditure

Old 09-27-21, 02:38 PM
  #51  
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Cycling is more fun.

And that is what matters most.
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Old 09-27-21, 02:48 PM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by Trakhak View Post
Distance is the wrong limit to impose, unless you're determined to make riding look as if it's a less energy-consuming workout intrinsically, which it is not. As has been pointed out repeatedly (and patiently) in this thread, ride and run at a rate of 200 watts for an hour, and you'll have used the same amount of energy.
Sigh... by this logic one would never determine which requires more energy because you are gaging output by energy expended.

As I have patiently pointed out, to make any sort of comparison you need an external parameter such as distance or time. Comparing 200watts running to 200watts cycling is nonsensical. They are the same. How much distance is covered in how much time determines the difference. Or, conversely, over a set time/distance which requires more energy can also be compared. Running requires more.
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Old 09-27-21, 02:57 PM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
Sigh... by this logic one would never determine which requires more energy because you are gaging output by energy expended.
They're comparing on the basis of energy expended over a period of time. I'm not sure why this isn't clear. Over a given (realistic) course, it's so obvious that running will require more energy that it's a complete non-starter as discussions go.
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Old 09-27-21, 03:00 PM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
The muscles used when running are not just weight bearing, they are actively countering the body weight being thrown off balance.

One can skew results to get any result. For example, comparing gentle jogging to standing and mashing in a sprint. I imagine a 100m dash peaks more watts 4han a Sunday ride in the park.

But the OP is talking about how long they have to ride to get a comparable workout from running. This is correct. Run 10 kms and ride 10 kms. You expend more energy doing the former. To expend the same energy you have to ride a lot further/longer because the bicycle is providing a notable mechanical advantage over running.

You can max out the watts when cycling but the time to cover the distance will then be much less so your energy expenditure will, overall, be less.

Cover a set distance running or cycling. Your use more energy doing the former. That's it.
So how many times do you want me to explain that I'm talking about energy expenditure over a given time and not distance?

If the OP is asking about how long they have to ride to get a comparable workout (as you put it above in bold) in terms of energy expenditure that means we are talking about TIME, not distance.
There is no need to keep explaining that a bicycle covers distance faster than running. I know that. Literally everyone in the world knows that!
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Old 09-27-21, 03:03 PM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
Sigh... by this logic one would never determine which requires more energy because you are gaging output by energy expended.

As I have patiently pointed out, to make any sort of comparison you need an external parameter such as distance or time. Comparing 200watts running to 200watts cycling is nonsensical. They are the same. How much distance is covered in how much time determines the difference. Or, conversely, over a set time/distance which requires more energy can also be compared. Running requires more.
A watt is defined as a unit of expenditure in a certain amount of time. A watt is a watt is a watt.

I think you are meaning: Running requires more watts per mile. If so, that's true & no one disputes that.

But running 8 miles in one hour requires 1000 calories of total energy expenditure. Motivated cycling 1 hour requires the same 1000 calories in the same one hour. Ergo they are the same from an energy expenditure stand point.

The rub is in cycling, it is possible to expend, coast, repeat for a lower total. Cycling can made to be much more sustainable for a much longer period of time. The result is usually more time spent engaged.
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Old 09-27-21, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
Sigh... by this logic one would never determine which requires more energy because you are gaging output by energy expended.

As I have patiently pointed out, to make any sort of comparison you need an external parameter such as distance or time. Comparing 200watts running to 200watts cycling is nonsensical. They are the same. How much distance is covered in how much time determines the difference. Or, conversely, over a set time/distance which requires more energy can also be compared. Running requires more.
No, the distance you cover is irrelevant when you are using time as your base for comparison. We all know that cyclists cover more distance than runners, so there's no point in discussing that.
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Old 09-27-21, 04:30 PM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by base2 View Post
A watt is defined as a unit of expenditure in a certain amount of time. A watt is a watt is a watt.

I think you are meaning: Running requires more watts per mile. If so, that's true & no one disputes that.

But running 8 miles in one hour requires 1000 calories of total energy expenditure. Motivated cycling 1 hour requires the same 1000 calories in the same one hour. Ergo they are the same from an energy expenditure stand point.

The rub is in cycling, it is possible to expend, coast, repeat for a lower total. Cycling can made to be much more sustainable for a much longer period of time. The result is usually more time spent engaged.
Exactly. The amount of energy you expend in either activity depends on both intensity and time. It was widely report that Usain Bolt generated a peak power of 2600W during his WR 100 m sprint. Interestingly top level track cyclists generate 2400-2500W peak power. So in terms of absolute peak power output they are very similar.
But let's have a look at more sustainable power. A 70 kg runner needs to average around 440W to run a 4 minute mile and that would be a serious maximal effort. But a 70 kg elite cyclist would be able to hold 440W for the best part of an hour. So it seems apparent to me that cycling would expend more energy over any sustained length of time.
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Old 09-27-21, 05:27 PM
  #58  
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cycling 20 miles = running 2 miles

roughly imo
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Old 09-27-21, 06:06 PM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by Rdmonster69 View Post
You get plenty of weight bearing just walking around. I can't imagine cycling would be detrimental to knee health through lack of weight bearing. If that was the case we would have pro cyclists all over the place with bad knees from too much cycling.

And high volume running subjects your joints to a great deal of pounding. The same thing that makes running bad for people with major knee issues but cycling good for those same people holds true for healthy knees as well.
As someone who had to wear knee braces to play soccer, then took up 100km/wk running (built gradually over 6 years to that) and haven't had knee problems since, even after cutting back the running - I disagree. Know lots of people who had the same. And it's not weight, I weighed less before running.

Impact causes strengthening. Same as muscles - it just happens FAR slower. First couple years I was 40-60km weeks, then up to 80km steady, then peaked around 120km.

Many people (especially cyclists who already have good cardiovascular fitness) start running, do too much volume, at too fast a pace, and predictably get hurt.

If you don't enjoy it, then don't bother, but proper running training isn't bad on healthy knees. Knees that have previously been seriously injured don't heal and adapt the same way, which is why it's not quite the same.
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Old 09-27-21, 07:53 PM
  #60  
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All I know is that running for 30 minutes kicks my butt way more than riding for 30 minutes.

I think the difference is that running just never eases up.
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Old 09-27-21, 08:33 PM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
...
I think the difference is that running just never eases up.
yeah. unless you're going uphill or into a very stiff headwind, you can actually "rest" while still cycling. if you "rest" while running, you fall over/stop running.
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Old 09-27-21, 11:58 PM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by AJW2W11E View Post
My rule, possibly incorrect. is that to get the same exercise as runni g a mile at a 7 or 8 minute pace, you have to bike for one hour at 20 mph plus.
Your rule is that running one mile in 7 or 8 minutes is equivalent to riding 20 miles in 60 minutes? I think that's more than "possibly" incorrect. OTOH, running at a pace of 7 or 8 minutes/mile is probably in the ballpark of riding at a pace of 20mph.
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Old 09-28-21, 12:23 AM
  #63  
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Originally Posted by PeteHski View Post
...
But let's have a look at more sustainable power. A 70 kg runner needs to average around 440W to run a 4 minute mile and that would be a serious maximal effort. But a 70 kg elite cyclist would be able to hold 440W for the best part of an hour. So it seems apparent to me that cycling would expend more energy over any sustained length of time.
You are suggesting that a runner can only sustain 400watts for 4 minutes (serious maximal effort) but a cyclist can sustain the same output for the best part of an hour. Basically that a cyclist has 15x the endurance than a runner has. 60/4=15. How do you explain that is possible? Could it be that somehow running requires more effort than cycling? Otherwise, why does the runner burnout 15x faster?

Last edited by Happy Feet; 09-28-21 at 12:27 AM.
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Old 09-28-21, 01:40 AM
  #64  
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VO2max is similar, so oxygen consumption at threshold to VO2max is similar, and hence energy expenditure is similar. In the end it boils down to basic physics.
​​​​
400W is not only sustainable for 4 minutes. Running a marathon in 2 hours and small change is a 400W kind of effort. Maybe slightly less for a very light runner.

Last edited by Branko D; 09-28-21 at 03:38 AM.
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Old 09-28-21, 04:06 AM
  #65  
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Originally Posted by Random11 View Post
My goal, in both my marathons and my century, was just to do the distance. I agree that I could have exerted more effort in my ride. So this might be a better comparison. The Tour de France cyclists do 21 centuries in a month. There's no way a marathoner could run 21 marathons in a month.
A few anecdotes were wheeled out to "disprove" you. Are there any competitions where runners pull off 21 marathons in a month? It's not hard to find bicycle rides/races where there are back to back century days. What about running? Would a greater percentage of marathoners be able to ride a century than the percentage of century riders who could run a marathon? Those questions speak to the heart of your point.
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Old 09-28-21, 04:18 AM
  #66  
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It is almost impossible to compare energy expenditure between the two because one involves the use of a machine that is literally devised to decrease energy expenditure.
Take a group of people that have never ridden or run regularly and see what each can do.
On average they will all be able to cycle a fair amount of time and distance at a slow speed but they most certainly will not be able to run more than a few moments at any speed.
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Old 09-28-21, 04:23 AM
  #67  
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
You are suggesting that a runner can only sustain 400watts for 4 minutes (serious maximal effort) but a cyclist can sustain the same output for the best part of an hour. Basically that a cyclist has 15x the endurance than a runner has. 60/4=15. How do you explain that is possible? Could it be that somehow running requires more effort than cycling? Otherwise, why does the runner burnout 15x faster?
I'm just saying it would take 440W for a 70 kg runner to run a 4 minute mile on a flat road. Not very many people can actually do that.
The same 70kg runner would need to be averaging around 385W to complete a marathon in 2 hours. Nobody of that weight has ever achieved that.
The WR marathon holder actually weighs 52kg and would need to average just 285W for 2 hours. Only the elite of the elite runners can get close to that.

Comparing that to cycling, putting out 285W for 2 hours is quite achievable by a lot of amateur riders and pros can be well into the mid 350W range for that length of time
If you want to win Paris Roubaix, you need to be averaging over 300W for nearly 6 hours.

So what I'm suggesting here is that cycling is a more efficient way of expending energy per unit time than running. I don't know the reasons for that (I'm an engineer, not a physiologist), but it's probably something to do with using all those muscle groups together while supporting your weight vs mashing circles with your legs and the ability to take micro-breaks. From a personal perspective when I go on my elliptical machine I put out around half the power I do on my equivalent bike machine for the same perceived effort. I'm sure that's partly because I do far more cycling than elliptical training, but I'm pretty sure I would never be able to push the same wattage on an elliptical or running on a treadmill as I can on the bike.

Last edited by PeteHski; 09-28-21 at 04:33 AM.
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Old 09-28-21, 04:32 AM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by downhillmaster View Post
It is almost impossible to compare energy expenditure between the two because one involves the use of a machine that is literally devised to decrease energy expenditure.
Take a group of people that have never ridden or run regularly and see what each can do.
On average they will all be able to cycle a fair amount of time and distance at a slow speed but they most certainly will not be able to run more than a few moments at any speed.
For sure cycling is "easier" than running. So if you took that totally untrained group, do you think they would expend more energy riding a bike for a "fair amount of time and distance" or running for "a few moments at any speed"?
It sort of endorses my point that cycling is a more efficient way of expending energy than running for most people.
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Old 09-28-21, 04:35 AM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by PeteHski View Post
For sure cycling is "easier" than running. So if you took that totally untrained group, do you think they would expend more energy riding a bike for a "fair amount of time and distance" or running for "a few moments at any speed"?
It sort of endorses my point that cycling is a more efficient way of expending energy than running for most people.
I think they would still expend more energy running.
And almost certainly beat up their bodies much more.
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Old 09-28-21, 04:35 AM
  #70  
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I'm in my 50's now I am fortunate I can still run. Cycling is my first love, but running has some advantages. Cost is a big one. Generally the only expense is a good pair of shoes. Another advantage is you can get a good work out quicker. For me 20-30 minutes of running will do it.
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Old 09-28-21, 04:39 AM
  #71  
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Originally Posted by Branko D View Post
VO2max is similar, so oxygen consumption at threshold to VO2max is similar, and hence energy expenditure is similar. In the end it boils down to basic physics.
​​​​
400W is not only sustainable for 4 minutes. Running a marathon in 2 hours and small change is a 400W kind of effort. Maybe slightly less for a very light runner.
Yeah I see what you mean. But it doesn't explain the power output differences between cycling and running. I guess when seated on a bike you can turn more of that V02 max effort into output power than you can running. I know I certainly can anyway!
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Old 09-28-21, 04:42 AM
  #72  
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Originally Posted by RChung View Post
Your rule is that running one mile in 7 or 8 minutes is equivalent to riding 20 miles in 60 minutes? I think that's more than "possibly" incorrect. OTOH, running at a pace of 7 or 8 minutes/mile is probably in the ballpark of riding at a pace of 20mph.
I don't think the 7-8 minute pace = riding at a pace of 20mph is accurate either, not even close. It's a whole lot easier to cruise at 20mph pushing a big gear than run at a 7-8 minute pace, at least for me. Not every cyclist out there is a high spinning flyweight. It will be different for each individual.
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Old 09-28-21, 04:43 AM
  #73  
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Originally Posted by downhillmaster View Post
I think they would still expend more energy running.
And almost certainly beat up their bodies much more.
That's not very convincing at all. If you can only run for a few moments, not much energy will be expended. Whether or not you are more beat up is not very relevant to energy expenditure.
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Old 09-28-21, 04:59 AM
  #74  
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Originally Posted by astrodust View Post
I'm in my 50's now I am fortunate I can still run. Cycling is my first love, but running has some advantages. Cost is a big one. Generally the only expense is a good pair of shoes. Another advantage is you can get a good work out quicker. For me 20-30 minutes of running will do it.
You can get a good workout on a bike in 20-30 mins too if you do intervals. But I agree if you are focusing more on endurance then you need much more time on the bike. My weekend endurance rides are usually around 5 hours, while my interval sessions during the week are usually under an hour including warm up and cool down.
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Old 09-28-21, 05:00 AM
  #75  
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Originally Posted by PeteHski View Post
That's not very convincing at all. If you can only run for a few moments, not much energy will be expended. Whether or not you are more beat up is not very relevant to energy expenditure.
I am not trying to convince anyone of anything. Just pointing out what I believe to be fairly obvious.
And imo the amount of energy expended in those few moments of running will on average exceed the amount of energy expended in any ‘few moments’ on the bicycle.
FWIW I ran track and x-country in HS and have done my fair share of running.
All that being said, I think that earlier in the thread you were implying that the amount of energy expended could be equal between the two depending on circumstances and I definitely agree with that.
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