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  1. #1
    meh goodcatjack's Avatar
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    how would you compare a century to a marathon, toughness-wise?

    I know most people consider the ratio of effort between running and cycling to be around 4/5-ish : 1, depending on the situation, so how does a century compare to a marathon?

    I know myself, and I know I'd never be able to do a marathon, but what with cycling being such a different beastie, and with my being able to pop 30-odd miles out without much problem, I feel okay tackling a century later this year.

    Opinions on the comparison? Apples and oranges?

    -alex.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    I'd do a century way before a marathon, but they are probably relatively close in effort. But then, i've never done either yet.
    Mike

  3. #3
    It tastes like burning! deliriou5's Avatar
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    marathon is WAY tougher....

    i am a triathlete-in training, and that 4/5:1 ratio is pretty dead on.

    The thing about a century is that you can do it at a pretty leisurely pace if you wanted. But a marathon saps a whole lot of strength out of you no matter how slow you do it. It is generally known that calorie consumption is pretty constant regardless of speed in running, but because of wind resistance in cycling, calorie consumptions increases exponentially with increased speed
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Hants Commuter's Avatar
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    Most definitely a marathon is the much harder to do. I have never run one, though I aspire to. Some of running partners that have and have related their experiences to me.

    Although the calorific burn may be 4 or 5 to 1, the repeated shock effect on the legs will become debilitating. You may also develop blisters from the constant rubbing of some item of clothing.

    I would not dream of running in a marathon without 4 months of serious training with a weekly mileage of something like 50 + miles a week at its peak.

    Do you think you would need to cycle 200 + miles a week in preparation to do a century?
    "Fame doesn't await at the top of the hill, Fortune doesn't await at the top of the hill, the only thing that awaits at the top of the hill is the top of the hill"

  5. #5
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    I've never done a century (that's one of this year's goals) but I have run 4 marathons. HantsCommuter is right: for each of those marathons I put in 18 weeks of training and hit a peak of 55miles about 3 weeks before the race. Last year, after doing the Marine Corps in October, I hoped to do my hometown Cal Int'l five weeks later but it was just not enough time to recover and peak again.

    I think it's because you're always bearing weight and you recruit other muscles besides your legs to keep you stable. Plus the pounding takes a lot out of you.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

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    I use to routinely train at marathon distances some years ago though it was at a deserted beach to reduce joint stress.My 140 mi. loaded bike rides last year seemed more difficult than this and the 100 mi. loaded rides easier so maybe something like 120 mi. might seem about equivalent to me.

  7. #7
    On Your Right ZackJones's Avatar
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    I've never done a full marathon but I have done the half. I've also done a sub 6 hour century (not the fastest by any means but it took a lot of effort). The 1/2 was much, much tougher. I would like one day run a marathon just so I can say that I've done one but it's way down on the list of things to do

    Zack
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  8. #8
    Marathon Cyclist MediaCreations's Avatar
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    I can - and do - ride all day. I'm happy to ride 200km - but if I run a couple of hundred metres I'm all out of breath.

    That's not to say that running is that much harder - just that it's so different for me that I don't even consider running an option.

    Maybe I should work on it and build up my running prowess.

  9. #9
    Jungle lady cbhungry's Avatar
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    definately the marathon is way way harder than a century.
    Ride forever, work whenever.
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  10. #10
    Don't Believe the Hype RiPHRaPH's Avatar
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    there is no coasting while running. running beats you up like nothing else. why do you think that running is last in any tri competition? 5:1...easy.
    I have enough words to get me into trouble, but not enough to get me out of trouble.

  11. #11
    We drive on the left. Dutchy's Avatar
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    Try this: On a Saturday morning ride a century, then do another on Sunday. The following week on Saturday run a marathon, and spend Sunday in bed recovering. Pretty easy logic. Cycling can be backed up day after day, running needs a lot of recovery time.

    Most professional runners will only compete in a few marathons per year.

    CHEERS.

    Mark
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  12. #12
    cycle-powered nathank's Avatar
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    i agree with most of the stuff here...
    note: i trained for a marathon in 1998 and was up to 40-something miles/week and did my 18-mile prep run and was on target for a 3:30 or less marathon (goal was 3:10) then developed KNEE problems and i've done a few centuries (i'm more of a mountain biker, but my upcoming race is 105km, with 3500 meters (11,600ft) of climbing and will take me 6 to 7 hours.

    the 2 main differences between cnetury and marathon:
    * century can be done "slowly" so it is much easier. a marathon is still dificult even if done slowly
    * running is MUCH harder on the body and so you need more training to prepare for the beat-up AND more recovery
    * b/c of the strain on the body, even most pro marathoners cannot run a marathon 8 or more days in a row - even if they slow their pace. for trained cyclists a century a day is no big deal
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  13. #13
    Senior Member trmcgeehan's Avatar
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    I've finished 12 26 mile marathons, and several bike centuries. The marathon takes alot more out of you, because of the constant pounding on your frame. This is especially true if you take over 4 hours to complete the marathon. 3-time Boston winner Bill Rogers once commented that the 4:20 competitor in the back of the pack has it much harder than a 2:20 front-runner, because he has to endure so much longer. The best I ever did was 3:29, when I was 42.
    "I am a true laborer. I earn that I eat, get that I wear, owe no man hate, envy no man's happiness, glad of other men's good, content with my harm." As You Like It, Act 3, Scene 2. Shakespeare.
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  14. #14
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    Dutchy lol When I was into running I use to do marathon distances on Saturday then stay out(running around) all Saturday night and then do the marathon distance again Sunday on zero sleep.In fact zero sleep was my secret weapon as if I slowed down or stopped I would start feeling so lousy by comparison continuing on seemed a much better alternative.Of course this was noncompetive at my own pace on sand and I did spend most of the next two or three days recuperating.And I agree overall with everyone sentiment a competitive marathon is more strenuous than a less competitive century.Of course I was much skinnier then as this was before I started paying much attention to diet/rest/weight training.

  15. #15
    Senior Member bjlaw's Avatar
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    I ran 4 marathons 20 years ago and trained hard for them. It took me days to recover after each one till I could walk down stairs normally. I rode my first century 2 years ago and was able to get around easily 1 hour after the ride. Now I'm not a great athlete. My best time in the marathon was 3 hours and 20 minutes. In my century ride I averaged 15 miles per hour.

    I feel that a marathon is much more difficult. But the century was much more fun.
    BJ

    When victory in battle is assured, time to tighten helmet strap.

  16. #16
    Senior Member juciluci's Avatar
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    let's see.. i started running about a year befor buying my bike last year.. i did my first metric century the second week i was on my bike and did my first marathon just last september.. i have done metric centuries most weekends and lately done at least one 100 mile ride a month since feb.
    however i am training to run an epic 24 race in the rockies first weekend of august.. it is 125kms.. labour day weekend i will ride the same route in a race.. but they only give you 15 hours to complete it.. maybe they think running is harder..lol
    i taped the race(deathrace) on oln last summer for my family..lol
    they thought i was nuts before.. now after seeing the tape.. they are convinced
    i find running more grueling.. not being fast and have arthritis in my back. cycling .. wow sometimes it feel like i could ride forever.. with just the usual aches and pains.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Richard Cranium's Avatar
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    Marathons are harder because there is less "recovery" or "replenishment" of energy for muscle tissue during stride. To simulate bicycling's inherent efficiency , effort levels need to be judged from a "fixed gear" bike with no seat. (or seat post -if that's your thing)
    Sorry about my comments - I thought you wanted honest feedback.
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