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  • Biking vs Running
  • Premier Icon colournoise
    Full Member

    A few of my mates use stuff like Runkeeper to log their runs and post up on Facebook etc. A fair few of them seem to run 4 or 5 miles and no longer.

    Just thinking out loud, in terms of general fitness and stuff what length of ride (road or off-road) do we think that equates to?

    slainte ❓ rob

    Premier Icon kimbers
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    Premier Icon RobHilton
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    Depends if they’re really running. Most people I know who “run” are plodders; if the equvialent was a dull slow ride it could be quite far and last most of the day 🙂

    Premier Icon dryroasted
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    Its a good question. i think get an average person who doesnt run or bike and get them to bike 10 miles, then record how long it takes. Then get person to run 10 miles see how long that takes.
    Example bike ride= 60 minutes
    run = 180 minutes

    Answer would be running is 3x harder than cycling

    Also do experiment on road with similar weather

    And i also mean on different days for recovery

    Premier Icon crispo
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    From endomondo a 5 mile run is about 550cal and 40mins

    From endomondo 550cal on bike off road is about 1hr and 8/9 miles.

    They’re just a guess using some of my stats

    Premier Icon stevewhyte
    Free Member

    I rode 70 miles last sat in 4hrs.

    I don’t think I could even run 2 miles.

    So for me running is hard, much much harder than riding. Not just physically but I get very bored running.

    All to do with the bike supporting my stupidly massive weight. If I was 3 stone lighter it might be a bit different.

    Premier Icon atlaz
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    Wouldn’t you really need to calculate the energy use in each situation?

    Premier Icon djglover
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    at least 3 times as far for the same benefit on the bike I’d say.

    Don’t forget that with running your heart rate is at say 150bpm at a fairly easy pace. If you were to do an equivalent time on the bike with the same heart rate, constantly, then you would have an amazing workout, but due to traffic, hills, mincing etc this is unlikely, therefore it is much easier for runners to get fit IMHO. Not withstanding injury of course

    Premier Icon drslow
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    I’ve just started running as i’m training for a half marathon. Thought it would be easier to transition than it has been. I find mountain biking is very stop / start, hills once conquered, result in a lot of standing about, this drops your heart rate. With running my average heart rate is higher than average cycling heart rate and its is consistently so as i don’t stop. I can only achieve my max heart rate through running, not cycling. At the end of 6 weeks of 3/4 times a week running and my regular cycling i am far fitter than i ever was.

    Premier Icon njee20
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    I rode 70 miles last sat in 4hrs.

    I don’t think I could even run 2 miles.

    So for me running is hard, much much harder than riding.

    Not quite as extreme – I can run, but I’m slow, and I hate it. I did 5k on Tues night, as I’m triathlon-ing next weekend, it took me 25 minutes, and ruined me, on par with 100 miles on the bike probably! Not suggesting 5k is as hard as a century mind 😕

    So, on balance, dunno… they do different things to your body, 20 miles on the road is probably like 5k running to most. But a century is far less taxing than a marathon. I’d say running gets exponentially harder, whilst for cycling it’s pretty linear.

    Me? Over-analysing things? Nah!

    Premier Icon crispo
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    Stupid phone sending twice with delay

    Premier Icon DIS
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    If HR and duration for run and bike the same then this would = same benefit.

    So if your friends take 40 min to run five miles with HR at 140 then 40 min on bike with HR 140 would be about the same benefit for the aerobic system.

    However the effort you felt to ride the bike at the same HR as running would be greater. (of course this only applies if your body is already used to running and biking).

    Premier Icon footflaps
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    Running is much tougher on the body recovery wise.

    Premier Icon glasgowdan
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    4 times the distance is a good rule of thumb for fitness gained through road riding vs running. Think about what your upper body is doing while running vs cycling. Also running uses more leg muscles than cycling and trains them to flex in more directions which uses a lot more energy as supporting fibres all get called into action at different times.

    Premier Icon avdave2
    Free Member

    Maybe look at the balance in Triathlon / Duathlon that might give a good idea of the equivalents.

    Running is much tougher on the body recovery wise.

    This is probably why it’s the pro cyclists who die young rather than the pro runners. The runners need more time for their bodies to recover giving more time for their cardio systems to recover as well.*

    This is an off the cuff remark involving the smallest amount of thought and zero research. So where better to post it up. 🙂

    Premier Icon bensales
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    A lot of variables to take into account, but I’ve done a bit of digging into my Garmin Connect activities to find some that are reasonably comparable because they are at the same average heart rate.

    I have a recent easy run, which is the slowest I do. That was 4 miles at 70% max HR average. Burnt 688 calories, so 172 calories per mile.

    I have a road ride of 22 miles, also at 70% max HR average. Burnt 1469 calories, so 66 calories per mile.

    Given those two results, running is about 2.5x ‘harder’ than cycling for a given heart rate.

    That said, calorie burn is not always reflective of effort. I did a 10 mile run this morning. It took roughly the same time as the above 22 mile ride but only burnt 100 more calories. It was, however, a significantly higher effort, with my average HR being 80% of max, bordering on lactate threshold, rather than the 70% purely aerobic bike ride.

    The only anecdotal thing I can say, is I’ve got a lot fitter through running than I ever have through cycling, for a much lower investment of time.

    Premier Icon stevewhyte
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    Given that I can’t run the length of a bus, is running in the evening a good substitute for some winter training when the nights draw in.

    At best I will get 1 ride a week done after October,

    Premier Icon njee20
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    The Garmin calorie consumption is total crap, I’d not even take the slightest note of that!

    Premier Icon bensales
    Free Member

    njee20 – Member
    The Garmin calorie consumption is total crap, I’d not even take the slightest note of that!

    Oh yeah, I don’t believe it to be 100% accurate, but as a comparison from workout to workout with the same wearer, it’s a useful tool.

    Premier Icon aracer
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    However the effort you felt to ride the bike at the same HR as running would be greater

    That’s not so. A lot of the comments on this thread are coming from people who aren’t well trained runners (quite a few are coming from people who aren’t well trained cyclists!) Having been reasonably fit and fast at both at one point (35 minute 10k run, 58 minute 25 mile TT), I reckon that for the same HR biking is actually easier. I can certainly go out and do a 2 hour ride averaging 140+ bpm without too much trouble – a similar length run at a similar HR would be a lot harder due to all the muscle stress which doesn’t result in an elevated HR (being well trained as a runner means you do use most of your energy to propel yourself forwards, even if you’re using other muscles to support).

    Don’t forget that with running your heart rate is at say 150bpm at a fairly easy pace. If you were to do an equivalent time on the bike with the same heart rate, constantly, then you would have an amazing workout, but due to traffic, hills, mincing etc this is unlikely, therefore it is much easier for runners to get fit IMHO.

    I also disagree with this. Maybe it depends where you ride, and how much you mince, but I certainly don’t have a big problem keeping my HR up on a bike ride.

    The only possible answer is “it depends”, though if you’re looking at the aerobic benefits then the same amount of time at the same HR will have the same effect. Generally it’s a lot easier to get a long aerobic workout on a bike than running, and you’re more likely to be able to go out and do it again the next day. Of course it doesn’t help to be amazingly aerobically fit from biking if you’re training for running…

    Premier Icon aracer
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    Forum is glitchy

    Premier Icon njee20
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    Agree with everything aracer said, definitely disagree with the previous sentiment that running is easier than riding at a given HR.

    Premier Icon The-Swedish-Chef
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    I perform the same session running and cycling.

    4 * 4 minutes off 2 minutes recovery. Running on gravel roads, cycling on rollers.

    My max H/R running is 4 beats higher than when cycling.

    Each cycling interval is done at an average of 90% of max H/R or 4.7W/KG
    Each running interval is done at an average of 92% of max and I cover 1.1km

    The cycling session feels far harder!

    Premier Icon njee20
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    That’s interesting! I must say my HR is pretty high when I run, but as I said, I’m a crap runner, and anything above a brisk jog feels bloody hard work!

    Premier Icon aracer
    Free Member

    My max H/R running is 4 beats higher than when cycling.

    That sounds about normal, because you do recruit a bit more muscle mass running than cycling (though I’d have thought the difference is less for very well trained runners).

    Out of interest, given Nick’s comments about his HR going high when he runs, what sort of HR can you maintain a steady run at? Personally I used to be able to run at ~130bpm (with a max of ~190), but nowadays it’s somewhere between 135 and 140 (and my max is a bit lower).

    Premier Icon cymro1
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    To the OP, I’m not altogether sure you can compare the two activities that well; either in terms of effort or benefit (apart from the obvious cardiovascular benefits from both activities) I have never seen any good evidence that one really helps the other either. I’m a keen runner and usually clock about 40-50 run miles a week but this doesn’t really improve my bike power or endurance, only riding more does that. However, it could be argued that riding a bike helps me to recover for running. Again, I’ve nothing scientific to back that up (other than history)

    Premier Icon The-Swedish-Chef
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    at what sort of HR can you maintain a steady run at?

    I’d run a steady hour at 85% of max HR, so say 150BPM over an underlating course.

    example: http://app.strava.com/runs/14953139

    Premier Icon aracer
    Free Member

    I have never seen any good evidence that one really helps the other either.

    It might not be a proper scientific study, but I’m quite convinced that getting bike fit does help with my running and vice versa – if not quite as much as training for the specific activity. Then again I do a lot of different cross-training so it’s hard to pick out the specifics (for example I roller ski, which I reckon is better training for running than biking, and also better training for biking than running is).

    I’d run a steady hour at 85% of max HR, so say 150BPM over an underlating course.

    Is that as low a HR as you can run at, or are you pushing yourself? I could run a HM at >85% MHR, but generally run at <75% MHR.

    Premier Icon Duggan
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    I’ve often thought this. For most people I think it comes down to the difference between ‘riding your bike’ and actually racing a bike.

    I always feel like I’ve had a massively more emphatic workout after running for say an hour than if I go for a three hour spin on my bike.

    But, after entering a couple of local XC races this Summer I realised how utterly knackering and demanding it is to push hard on your bike for an hour consistently doing laps. I’d be much more reluctant to guess either way if comparing an hour run with an hour bike race

    For some reason though for me personally I just cannot re-create this kind of effort when I just go out ‘riding my bike’, not sure if it’s traffic lights, pedestrians, or just lack of motivation but with running I can properly beast myself and torture myself with intervals etc. Obviously that’s just my subjective situation.

    I’d be interested in seeing some proper objective info about this though.

    Premier Icon The-Swedish-Chef
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    Nice observation Duggan, I think that is quite correct.

    Is that as low a HR as you can run at, or are you pushing yourself? I

    That pace allows for short chats but not prolonged conversation. I don’t tend to run slower than that as at most I run twice a week currently and want to make each session count.

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