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Run miles vs bike miles: ratio? 1 mile running(9min pace)= ? miles biking(14mph)

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Run miles vs bike miles: ratio? 1 mile running(9min pace)= ? miles biking(14mph)

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Old 06-03-10, 06:32 PM
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Long Run Nick
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Run miles vs bike miles: ratio? 1 mile running(9min pace)= ? miles biking(14mph)

Curious to get some opinions. Thanks. Nick
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Old 06-03-10, 06:59 PM
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For me, one mile running at a 9 minute pace is about 25 miles biking at 16 mph.
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Old 06-03-10, 07:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Long Run Nick View Post
Curious to get some opinions. Thanks. Nick
I never run, but if you look at calories burned that would probably give you a good idea.....
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Old 06-03-10, 07:28 PM
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It's a good question.
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Old 06-03-10, 07:29 PM
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My guess would be about 10:1. I.e. you could run a 10k or ride a metric century and be about as depleted either way.
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Old 06-03-10, 07:44 PM
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One apple = ? oranges
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Old 06-03-10, 07:49 PM
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The responses so far aren't from some serious runners. The guys that started triathons years ago figured a marathon was equivalent to a century. That's 4 to 1 ratio of miles. In terms of effort, that's about what I find to be true. Right now I can run a 3 hr marathon and a 5 hour century (non-drafting) and the perceived effort is about the same.
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Old 06-03-10, 08:35 PM
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Runner convert to road bike - agree with approximate 4-1
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Old 06-03-10, 10:09 PM
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A long time very serious runner and pretty good cyclist told me that the standard formula to you question is if you run 10 miles it is the equivalent of cycling 30 miles. Assume pace is the same.
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Old 06-03-10, 10:28 PM
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Originally Posted by oilman_15106 View Post
A long time very serious runner and pretty good cyclist told me that the standard formula to you question is if you run 10 miles it is the equivalent of cycling 30 miles. Assume pace is the same.
What does same pace mean?

I run during the week at lunchtime and cycle on the weekends. A 9 minute mile is a good running pace for me, while 14 mph Would be just cruising on my bike. In other words, it would take a long time on the bike to get the same workout as a 30 minute run.

Another way to look at it is that my HR for a 9 minute running pace would be around 155, while it would be only around 110 at 14 mph on a bike. I don't get the workout on my bike unless I hit the hills.
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Old 06-03-10, 10:51 PM
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How about 100 cycling miles = a running marathon?
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Old 06-03-10, 11:25 PM
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Originally Posted by RochMNTandem View Post
Runner convert to road bike - agree with approximate 4-1
Another ex runner here. 3-1 to 4-1 is about right assuming equal effort. Seems to me as mileage increases the ratio gets larger, i.e. 10 miles running~ 30 miles biking while 20 miles running~ 80 biking. Pretty imprecise, but seems about right to me.
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Old 06-04-10, 12:46 AM
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I've always thought the ratio was about 3:1 in terms of time. Running is very efficient, but bad for the joints. I used to run, but started having wierd low-back sensations and stopped. This was years ago, and I haven't run since, and my body is very thankful. I always thought running was way more intense - you can do a 3-hour ride and not get winded; running, you get into O2 debt right away! But this could be just a perception due to my muscles being more attuned to cycling. Maybe runners find running far easier than cycling? Or the effort is just more gradual and increase in effort is imperceptible? Quite often I'll finish a ride, not feeling I've gone that hard, but my t-shirt is still soaked with sweat! (But then the fitter you are, the easier you break into a sweat because your body is just so much more efficient) Anyway, 3:1 time-wise, so an easy 5K run (20 minutes) would be equivalent to a brisk 30 km ride (1 hour). That's 6:1 in terms of distance. This probably breaks down at short competitive distances, so a 1-minute effort on the track (400 meters) could be likened to doing a kilo on the bike (2.5:1 in terms of distance, 1.2:1 in terms of time). Yeah, I guess it could get complicated. Maybe it is apples and oranges.

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Old 06-04-10, 01:19 AM
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Depends on how efficient you are as a runner as opposed to cyclist.

For me to run 1 mile would take me a lot longer than I wish. About 2 minutes to start the run and then 20 minutes for the Ambulance to arrive and a month off work recovering.

My knees are so shot- they cannot take and stress or strain of running and I used to run competitive 15 mile cross country till I was 34.

And the reverse is true aswell- I have taken fit people from other sports out cycling and they have not fared very well.

But 1 mile running is nothing-You would have to look at a longer distance. I would say that a Marathon is about the equivalent of around a Metric Century. I used to do marathons when I was younger and in peak running fitness and although I did not do many- it took me around 3 hours. Many years later and I did a metric on a bike. Older rider- hillier course and just under 4 hours. But not the same course. Make it a reasonably flat course like a Runner would have and the time would be nearer the same.

But I must have been a wimp when I was younger. It took a month to fully recover from those Marathons- My weekend rides in the summer are approaching a Metric every week.
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Old 06-04-10, 01:49 AM
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The comparison isn't really meaningful because the demands made on the body are so different. You can do the calculations based on calories burned, and that will give you one answer (an answer that will vary from one person to another based on size, strength, running efficiency etc) but that won't mean that a 2000 calorie run is a similar workout to a 2000 calorie ride. I'm a fairly big guy, at 6'3" and about 200lbs. That is not the build of a natural distance runner. Running a marathon, for me, would be much harder than a century (not a metric century) on a bike because the bike is carrying my weight, I'm just pushing it along. But if you're 5'8" and whippet thin, you might well find the perceived efforts are much closer to equivalent.

In addition, the wear and tear on the joints, and the way you use the various muscle groups, are very different. I don't run regularly, but tend to resort to it in the winter when conditions are poor for cycling. I always notice that my quads (which provide a lot of the power when cycling, so are in pretty decent shape) stiffen up when I restart running and need time to reacclimatise. The distance you can run is limited, to a degree, by the impact on your joints. But if you keep eating and drinking, you can pretty much keep riding until you fall asleep.

Which all amounts to a longwinded way of saying apples and oranges, as others have suggested.
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Old 06-04-10, 01:52 AM
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Originally Posted by jedde View Post
For me, one mile running at a 9 minute pace is about 25 miles biking at 16 mph.
I'll agree with that. If your knees are made for running. Mine were not.. I fear the damage running did to my right knee might some year keep me off the bike.. Other than that, I loved running. My doctor said, don't run. My knees are not made for the sport. I did anyway.
But yes.. With running it is usually a stronger cardio sport and burns calories faster.. Cycling less so..
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Old 06-04-10, 04:32 AM
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I was a cyclist first - school age competitor. Then an increasingly keen runner - about 25 marathons and loads of shorter distance competitions mid thirties to mid forties. Now back to bikes, but non-competitive. Tourist pace

I'd think maybe 5: 1, roughly a century on a bike to a marathon.

But there are certainly a couple of considerations that might/will affect the ratio.

Firstly, body weight. Runners lift their whole body weight one-leggedly for each pace, and then give a soft landing to their entire body weight with the other leg. That's a whole lot of lifting, and big runners have to do a whole lot more than skinny ones. Apart from hill climbing, I imagine that weight doesn't have such an effect on seated cycling

Secondly, pace and intensity. Wafting along with minimal pedal pressure on a bike, coasting/freewheeling 50% of the time will still cover the ground on a bike. No such option running!

Thirdly, gearing. Runners don't have a 'multiplier', they're like fixed wheel riders

So, 5:1 with up to a 100% weighting for these factors!!!
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Old 06-04-10, 05:04 AM
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In college I was a sprinter and decathlete on the track and field team. The 1500 meter run was the longest race I competed in. My usual time in the 1500 was around 4:30.00 which is good for a decathlete but not very fast as a 1500 runner. After two days of competing the perceived effort of a 1500 meter run would equal about a good hard 100k bike ride at Zone 4. So my ratio is 1 mile of running = 43 miles of riding.

Due to having my left ankle fused recently, resulting from college sports injuries, I am not able to run anymore so I will take my ratio to the grave with me.
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Old 06-04-10, 08:38 AM
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I'm with the others that feel that 100 miles biking = running a marathon. On second thought the marathon is harder than most 100 mile rides. The recovery from the marathon is a lot longer. I can ride 100 miles today and again tomorrow, but it's a month before another long run.
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Old 06-04-10, 09:56 AM
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Do you remember after Lance Armstrong retired and he entered the New York Marathon? He might have been a little overweight but just made it under 3 hours. He did several big name marathons and I think his time got progressively better.

I sure would like Lance to tell us what he thinks about this equivalence thing is.
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Old 06-04-10, 10:06 AM
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Well, as some have pointed out the comparisons just do not work that well. There was a time that I could reel of centuries almost indefinitely on a bike. The most I ever did in a row was 4 but the reason I never did more was because I did not have the time to do more. But I could have done far more than that. Most people are really beaten up after a marathon. People just don't do 2 marathons in a row. Plus, there is the ultramarathon bike group - like the Paris-Brest-Paris. Cycling is so easy on the body (low impact) that cyclists can do it for ridiculous lengths of time.

As for calories, running 8 minute miles is about the same as riding at 20 mph (for my weight that is). So a 5 hour century and a 3 hour marathon are about the same. As far as calories go, a marathon is not really equivilent to a century. But as I said above, the marathon beats the runner up quite a bit more.

Also how many runners do you know who have blown out their knees? Cyclists practically never suffer over use injuries. I used to be a really high mileage cyclist and if it were possible to ruin one's body cycling, I would have done it long ago.
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Old 06-04-10, 12:02 PM
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Thanks for the responses. I have been very fortunate. 34 yrs running on the road--over 71,000 miles. 16 marathons (Boston Qualifier--age 65 3:57 in 2008) and numerous ultras. I just got back on a bike after 13 yrs. Have been running 45-50 miles per week for a lot of yrs. Developed AT as a result of a wart being removed from the bottom of my foot in late Feb. Foolish me, kept running and racing with a gimp. Swelling and pain stopped me completly a couple weeks ago. Bought a new Trek 7.3 hybrid 1 month ago. I have ridden over 700 miles and feel great. It doesn't bother my Achilles and I now can walk w/o a limp. I have been amazed that I could rack up that many miles. Have done several 50 milers, a bunch of 40's and last week did a 67 miler. I love that my recovery is so quick. I guess my thought is a ratio of 5 miles biking (14 mph) is equal to about 1 mile running (9+ min miles). I have found it very difficult to coast when running. I miss my running, but I am glad to be back on a bike. Yrs ago I crosstrained with a road bike , then a mtb and ran 40-50 per week. Was in my 40's and early 50's. Was very fit. The biking made me a stronger runner. I plan on continuing biking even when I can run. I have bought so much gear. Actually have spent 2x as much on clothing/matching gloves/helmet/lights,etc. as I did on the bike. Having fun.

Again, I really like this forum and am learning a lot about biking. Nick

PS Retirement is great! I have found it beats working. Much more time to play.
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Old 06-04-10, 12:04 PM
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For me it is about 4-1 from the exertion standpoint, but I think I get more cardio from the running and more fat burn from the bicycle. Does anyone agree or is that dumb?
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Old 06-04-10, 12:51 PM
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I think 4:1 cycling to running is good. I run at a 9 -9:10 pace , and I run a 5k before work (except late May thru the end of August, when I have enough light to ride then). I will ride 11-14 miles , but at a 18-21 mph pace, which is a bit more intense than my run would be.
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Old 06-04-10, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Long Run Nick View Post
I have ridden over 700 miles and feel great. It doesn't bother my Achilles and I now can walk w/o a limp. I have been amazed that I could rack up that many miles.
Don't be amazed. You're a seriously fit guy who is going from a weight-bearing exercise to one that is not weight-bearing. So you can translate your fitness into speed and endurance on the bike while shedding the impact-related problems with the achilles. Keep riding, and keep enjoying it. But don't give up the running, it's terrific for the bone density.
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