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Thread: 26.2 vs century

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    Senior Member giorgios's Avatar
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    26.2 vs century

    I am curious what you think is hader to train and complete for the first timer. A marathon (26.2 miles) or a century ride (100 miles)?

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    Senior Member RDW3261's Avatar
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    I have done both. The century I did two months after the marathon and it took me I think all of three weeks of riding a bike to do one. No way a centruy compares to a marathon. I think a century does stand up to a half marathon.

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    I agree, if that.

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    I'm not a regular runner, but I've found that a ratio of between 8 and 10 to 1 for cycling vs running feels about right. But then, my longest ride was 200 km and my longest run was 12 km.

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    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    In my youth I used to run 15mile cross country and was good at it. My Club entered me in a marathon and I did it in under 3 hours- Did another couple that year, both under 3 hours but did not enjoy them.

    Took up riding a lot later- and after a couple of years did a couple of metrics and then a 100 miler. Not really a problem but it was after a couple of years of High milage riding. Marathons or 100 mile rides- If you are fit enough- they are both about the same.

    Now if you want a real challenge- 100 miles offroad- Done 10 of them and they are always hard.
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    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    Let's see. Years ago in Backpacker Magazine it was asked what is the maximum reasonable pace for packing (with full pack). Their answer was 5 MPH. That translates to a marathon of about 5 1/4 hours.

    But would you really call this running a marathon? That is the big problem. There is a line between running and walking, not so in cycling.

    Also a lot of marathons are rather flat. A hilly century is more difficult by any measure. But what is considered finishing a flat century is so easy it can be done by someone who has been of the bike for a long long time.

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    Let's look at the facts. The 2006 Tour de France was 3,657 kilometers which is about 2,257 miles over 23 days total which is about 100 miles a day and is ridden over largely mountainous terrain. How many marathons could a world class marathoner run over that terrain in 23 days?

    If you compare apples to apples in terms of terrain, cycling is much easier. You do not have to support your body weight and you have a machine to help you.

    That is why so many organizations are donating bicycles to underprivileged countries. So people can travel longer distances than by walking/running.

    I would choose the bike over running anytime.
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    Senior Member john bono's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith99
    Also a lot of marathons are rather flat. A hilly century is more difficult by any measure. But what is considered finishing a flat century is so easy it can be done by someone who has been of the bike for a long long time.
    +1

    When it comes to cycling, terrain matters a lot more than it does in running. A hilly 50 miler can be far more difficult than a flat century. I'm not sure that's the case in running, except when the terrain is extremely hilly.
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    Senior Member kokomo61's Avatar
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    Running takes a much greater toll on the body than cycling does - When I've been tired on the bike, I'm just that-tired. If I run too far, I cramp, get stiff, get blisters, all sorts of nasty things.

    Cycling is cooler, though......
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    A century is a walk in the park compared to running a marathon. Riding a bike is fun. Running is work.

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    I've heard people say that a marathon is more comparable to a double century.

    Considering my running ability, I think I would still find the double century easier.

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    Quote Originally Posted by john bono
    +1

    When it comes to cycling, terrain matters a lot more than it does in running. A hilly 50 miler can be far more difficult than a flat century. I'm not sure that's the case in running, except when the terrain is extremely hilly.

    Terrain always matters. If do our training on flat land for a 26.2 then do a hilly 26.2 things are not going to go as thought.

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    Running offers less chance to go easy - you need to run the whole thing.

    But with cycling, you have the advantage of slowing down. Riding a century at 12 MPH is a whole lot easier than riding one at 20MPH.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    I've heard people say that a marathon is more comparable to a double century.

    Considering my running ability, I think I would still find the double century easier.
    I've done neither a double century nor amarathon, but I've done a couple centuries and probably run as far as 15 miles during training. The centuries seemed easier even than that, and I've been seriously into cycling for about 6 months, whereas I'd been running heavily for four years.

    And cycling is just a lot more fun than running. I always feel god after a run (endorphins and such) but cycling I actualy have fun while excercising. For a distance runner, this is quite the novel concept.

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    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    a marathon is a RACE, right? a century is a ride, unless you are in a hundred mile road race.

    race running is always going to be more difficult. no chance to coast.
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    I think if I woke up tomorrow morning and was told at gunpoint I had to choose between running a marathon in six hours or pedaling 200 miles on a bicycle in only eighteen hours, I'd still opt for the ride!

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    I could WALK a marathon in six hours! Not sure I could do a double century at all within 18 hours - my back and butt would kill me first.

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    Pretty Hate Machine Weeks's Avatar
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    Lance said the hardest physical thing he ever had to do was run the NYC marathon. I think that speaks for itself.

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    Weeks & CdCf, the comments from Lance Armstrong were what was in my mind when I made my comments. While confident that I would make the distance (not sure of the time ), it seems the "pounding" associated with a 26.2-mile run/jog/walk are what makes it particularly brutal. The knees and hips aren't getting quite as hammered while on the bike.

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    Walking isn't that "brutal". My normal walking speed is the same speed it would take to finish a marathon in six hours. I've never walked more than about 1/3 marathon though, but that's simply because I've never needed to.

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    Je pose, donc je suis. gcl8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam
    ...My Club entered me in a marathon and I did it in under 3 hours...
    I hate you.

    In a friendly and jealous sort-of way.

    ---

    To the OP: I trained my arse off to run a marathon (in 3.5 hours). I did a century, a mountain century no less, practically on the spur of the moment. No comparison, in my book.

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    Je pose, donc je suis. gcl8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Weeks
    Lance said the hardest physical thing he ever had to do was run the NYC marathon. I think that speaks for itself.
    That he's as much a show-man as an athlete? You can't possibly take that quote at face value.

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    Je pose, donc je suis. gcl8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist
    a marathon is a RACE, right? a century is a ride, unless you are in a hundred mile road race.
    Oh dear, no. At the level of most of us, they're both an 'event'. I have several bib numbers, from both running and cycling, where I have proudly described my tortured inabilities to the nearest second.

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    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    The comparison between distance running and distance riding can go on forever, just like cross country skiing is to running.

    Depending on body type, age, the bike rider spends more time in the activity but with less trauma to joints. Calories burned per hour depends on pace, terrain, and wind conditions.

    For me, riding is more fun and the speed thing is certainly there.

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    There is no coasting in running. Let's put it this way. I am overweight and I have no problem doing a century. There is no way I could do a marathon without losing a ton of weight. And even then I would need months of training to do it and not get hurt. Cycling is a lot easier.
    "Ride lots." -- Eddy Merckx

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