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Running vs Bike riding energy expenditure

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Running vs Bike riding energy expenditure

Old 09-27-21, 06:10 AM
  #26  
seypat
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Originally Posted by cyclezen View Post
In addition to what has been already stated, at anyone's upper limits, a rider can go anaerobic quite often, and recover while still keeping up a strong pace, this can happen many times in a 'ride', and as long as fuel lasts or is renewed, fatigue takes much longer to set in. I wouldn't have data on this, but from runner friends (distance and marathon), the number of times and duration of anaerobic stints, for runners,are much more limited before a substantial reduction in effort/performance sets in.
ie... Today was the Men's World Championship Road race, 260+ km... with many attacks, breakaways and still most starters finished, quite a few close to the winning rider...
I'm not gonna be a spoiler...
If you want to have some 'number' comparison - here's an Online Power/KCal calculator - gives some workable estimates. Your bike would be 'racing' in the tops, plug in your estimates for your ride numbers, and you're personal stats. You'll have to go to some other sources for running numbers...
Perspective - it's all in the perspective. I found running to be a drone thing... very boring. When I'm riding, even under a strong effort, I'm very aware of my surroundings. Sometimes they go by too quickly, but there's always something which comes through in my peripheral attention. I can ride for hours, and enjoy every minute. If I go for a run; after 15 minutes I'm wondering "when will this be over...?"
Ride On...
Yuri
This past weekend's marathon training run route. If you watched the 2015 World Cycling Championships, then you know what the area looks like. Anything but boring. Usually on this route, we run up 23rd street and Libbie Hill like in the road race. This year however, they tweaked the route and gave us a little different look. We did get some cobbles. It was a great route. Hard not to enjoy yourself whether you're running or pedalling. The route and weather make all the difference.

https://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/view/4648341211

Last edited by seypat; 09-27-21 at 06:19 AM.
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Old 09-27-21, 06:35 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by Rdmonster69 View Post
Tirtha Kumar Phani ran 38 miles a day for 1 year. Stephaan Engels ran 365 marathons in 365 days. He also completed 20 ironman triathlons in one year.

Terry Fox ran a marathon a day (more or less) in the 80's while raising money for cancer. He only had one leg !!
Rare and remarkable but it is possible !!
And in 365 days, Amanda Coker rode 86,573.2 miles on a bike. (Actually she used multiple bikes.) That's a 237.1 miles per day average. The only way to compare running and bike riding is to use a given heart rate and time. That will produce pretty equal energy expenditures. Otherwise, biking is much more efficient by a factor of 2 to 4.
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Old 09-27-21, 06:45 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by PeteHski View Post
For me yes, running is definitely "harder" because I'm a trained cyclist and don't run at all.
But regarding energy expenditure a quick Google of calorie calculators for running and cycling gives the following results for me:-

Running: 800 calories (80 kg, 7 mph, 1 hour)
Cycling: 1150 calories (80 kg, 20 mph, 1 hour)

The calculator for both activities is here:-

https://keisan.casio.com/exec/system/1350958587

You can play around with the inputs i.e. speed being the main driver. The above calculator suggests I would need to run at 11 mph to match my cycling calorie expenditure. That ain't going to happen!

The obvious thing here is that this result is going to vary depending on your personal running vs cycling speed.
For example if I cycled at 15 mph and ran at 6 mph, then energy expenditure would be identical for both. But I can cycle faster than that, but probably struggle to run at 6 mph for an hour.
I think the cycling calorie numbers may be a bit high on that calculator. If you assume 25% rider efficiency, my 15 mph calculation equates to 200W, which is maybe right for a full upright, but considerably high for a drop bar bike.

Anyway, I tend also to find running tedious in comparison to cycling. Fast walking less so. However, in warm weather I mostly cycle, partly because itís more comfortable with the greater air cooling.

In the cold half of the year, it depends. With more darkness, wind and cold, there will be times when Iíd rather walk or run than ride outdoors. Although last year I still mostly slogged through the cold and mud on the MTB and rather enjoyed it. We shall see how it goes this winter.

Otto

Last edited by ofajen; 09-27-21 at 06:52 AM.
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Old 09-27-21, 07:20 AM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by ofajen View Post
I think the cycling calorie numbers may be a bit high on that calculator. If you assume 25% rider efficiency, my 15 mph calculation equates to 200W, which is maybe right for a full upright, but considerably high for a drop bar bike.

Anyway, I tend also to find running tedious in comparison to cycling. Fast walking less so. However, in warm weather I mostly cycle, partly because itís more comfortable with the greater air cooling.

In the cold half of the year, it depends. With more darkness, wind and cold, there will be times when Iíd rather walk or run than ride outdoors. Although last year I still mostly slogged through the cold and mud on the MTB and rather enjoyed it. We shall see how it goes this winter.

Otto
I don't know. But, according to my power meter, I managed to burn 1000 cals on a 1 hour effort last week. Average speed was 20.7 mph with 300 m elevation gain. Averaging around 250W
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Old 09-27-21, 07:28 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by ofajen View Post
I think the cycling calorie numbers may be a bit high on that calculator.
1k calories in an hour of cycling isn't that unusual; it's an effort, and certainly not doable by all, but it's not that unusual.
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Old 09-27-21, 08:03 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
While running rules in terms of energy expenditure, I think that is when you compare mile to mile. I can do four of five times the mileage of the typical runner out for a hour or two of exercise.

Essentially any comparison should be time based not mileage based.
Also folks should lookup the term ďrunning economyĒ. Noobs burn tons running as they usually run in too fast of a training zone and also have poor form contributing to poor run economy. Meaning more energy usage.

Seasoned runners have good form and train more base miles. So good economy plus easier pace lessens the gap to bikes a bit.
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Old 09-27-21, 08:28 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
And in 365 days, Amanda Coker rode 86,573.2 miles on a bike. (Actually she used multiple bikes.) That's a 237.1 miles per day average. The only way to compare running and bike riding is to use a given heart rate and time. That will produce pretty equal energy expenditures. Otherwise, biking is much more efficient by a factor of 2 to 4.
For sure ....My data was just to show that extreme athletes can run a marathon a day !!
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Old 09-27-21, 08:43 AM
  #33  
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Running requires more energy simply because one is using many muscles to maintain balance against gravity. Cycling, generally speaking, keeps the body static on the saddle while only moving the legs.
Of course someone will argue outliers like standing and cranking, micro balancing in the saddle, using the arms for leverage etc... but most people, most of the time, don't do that to the extent of running. In running you are lunging forward and recovering/repeat.

To see the extent that this operates in running watch a 100m sprinter vs a marathon runner. The lack of upper body movement and reduced gait is all about conserving energy.
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Old 09-27-21, 08:49 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
1k calories in an hour of cycling isn't that unusual; it's an effort, and certainly not doable by all, but it's not that unusual.
Agreed. I was just looking at the 15 mph calculation and it seemed like 200W is a bit higher than I would expect. 250W at nearly 21 mph on a road bike sounds spot on, OTOH.

Otto
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Old 09-27-21, 09:07 AM
  #35  
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I'd consider running if I could figure out a way to coast. Do they still make Heely's?
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Old 09-27-21, 09:24 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
Running requires more energy simply because one is using many muscles to maintain balance against gravity. Cycling, generally speaking, keeps the body static on the saddle while only moving the legs.
Of course someone will argue outliers like standing and cranking, micro balancing in the saddle, using the arms for leverage etc... but most people, most of the time, don't do that to the extent of running. In running you are lunging forward and recovering/repeat.

To see the extent that this operates in running watch a 100m sprinter vs a marathon runner. The lack of upper body movement and reduced gait is all about conserving energy.
I think there is confusion here between using more muscle groups and overall energy expenditure. For example we have an elliptical trainer and a bike machine, both with identical power meters. On the bike I can put out a much higher sustained wattage, regardless that I'm sitting down. I know I'm using less muscle groups on the bike, but they are working a lot harder to produce that extra power. Being a cyclist no doubt skews my personal result toward putting out much more power on the bike. I'm sure the result would be somewhat different for a trained runner who didn't ride a bike.

In the real world I'm a half decent cyclist and a really poor runner! So my results stack up in that sense.
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Old 09-27-21, 09:28 AM
  #37  
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As a runner who also cycles I'm seeing a roughly 3:1 distance ratio and slightly less than 1:1 time ratio in terms of cycling vs running calorie burn estimates (running higher/hr). These seem to be roughly consistent on both my Garmin (Edge & FR235 using HRM) and Apple Watch. All that said, I feel a bunch better after a 2 hour ride than a 2 hour run.

Of course - that's all with my terrain (slightly hilly), at my paces, and with my bike (hybrid). YMMV based on your own particular situation.

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Old 09-27-21, 11:12 AM
  #38  
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Running is far better than cycling for healthy knees, BTW. Too much cycling / not enough weight bearing will be bad for your joints. The exception to this would obviously be if you've previously had a serious knee injury.

I thought I was roughly equal cycling and running, but talking with people I ride with I think I'm likely a better runner.
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Old 09-27-21, 11:37 AM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by Viich View Post
Running is far better than cycling for healthy knees, BTW. Too much cycling / not enough weight bearing will be bad for your joints. The exception to this would obviously be if you've previously had a serious knee injury.

I thought I was roughly equal cycling and running, but talking with people I ride with I think I'm likely a better runner.
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.
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Old 09-27-21, 11:51 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by PeteHski View Post
I think there is confusion here between using more muscle groups and overall energy expenditure. For example we have an elliptical trainer and a bike machine, both with identical power meters. On the bike I can put out a much higher sustained wattage, regardless that I'm sitting down. I know I'm using less muscle groups on the bike, but they are working a lot harder to produce that extra power. Being a cyclist no doubt skews my personal result toward putting out much more power on the bike. I'm sure the result would be somewhat different for a trained runner who didn't ride a bike.

In the real world I'm a half decent cyclist and a really poor runner! So my results stack up in that sense.
I'm not sure what this means exactly but an elliptical is not running. All in all, if you use more muscle groups to cover a set distance you will expend more energy.

Yes, you can exert yourself as much on a bike (theoretically) but the duration will be less for the distance covered ie. Running flat out for 1 mile vs riding flat out for a mile. You will expend more energy running over a set distance than riding.

The reason a bicycle is such an enduring marvel of engineering is that it offers a mechanical advantage for performing the work of traveling over distance.
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Old 09-27-21, 11:59 AM
  #41  
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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.

If you are saying cross training is good I agree, that's why I both run and cycle. It turns out though, that running really isn't bad for your knees. It's just bad for damaged knees.

You can develop some knee issues from high volume cycling however. Primarily due to muscle imbalance. The quads can become very strong and over power the VMO causing the patella to track incorrectly leading to pain/cartilage damage.
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Old 09-27-21, 12:11 PM
  #42  
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I think to properly compare the two, it would be running against fixed gear. In my case, a geared bike helps a lot, a whole lot.
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Old 09-27-21, 12:17 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by gpburdell View Post
As a runner who also cycles I'm seeing a roughly 3:1 distance ratio
That fits nicely into my rule of "between 2.5 and 3.5" described above.
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Old 09-27-21, 12:29 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by RChung View Post
That fits nicely into my rule of "between 2.5 and 3.5" described above.
Yes, I thought so too.

I'll be interested to see what differences I see with the new road bike I'm hoping to pick up later this week.
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Old 09-27-21, 01:28 PM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
I'm not sure what this means exactly but an elliptical is not running. All in all, if you use more muscle groups to cover a set distance you will expend more energy.

Yes, you can exert yourself as much on a bike (theoretically) but the duration will be less for the distance covered ie. Running flat out for 1 mile vs riding flat out for a mile. You will expend more energy running over a set distance than riding.

The reason a bicycle is such an enduring marvel of engineering is that it offers a mechanical advantage for performing the work of traveling over distance.
I only mentioned elliptical because I happen to have one that measures power output accurately. It's not exactly running, but it is weight bearing, which seemed to be your main argument for running expending more energy.

Nobody is arguing that bicycles are not faster than running! But that doesn't mean energy expenditure is necessarily less per unit time when cycling. As I said earlier, minimum energy expenditure is likely to be higher when running (you can't coast and walking doesn't count as running). But maximum energy expenditure is basically how many watts you can possibly output over a unit of time (not distance). Now I know for sure I can output a higher power on a bike vs running. I've measured both (or at least elliptical vs bike with the same power measuring system). So I expend more energy riding a bike than I do running for any fixed length of time. Of course I will cover much more distance on the bike in that time, but that wasn't the question posed. Or at least that's not how I would interpret it. I presumed the question was all about energy expenditure over a given time duration at maximum effort. If the question really was about energy expenditure over a fixed distance then it's pretty obvious and doesn't warrant any discussion.

Using more muscle groups doesn't necessarily expend more total energy. It all depends how hard those muscle groups are working. For example I use more muscle groups walking than when cycling. But I can easily expend more energy cycling regardless of using less muscle groups.
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Old 09-27-21, 01:57 PM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by PeteHski View Post
I only mentioned elliptical because I happen to have one that measures power output accurately. It's not exactly running, but it is weight bearing, which seemed to be your main argument for running expending more energy.

Nobody is arguing that bicycles are not faster than running! But that doesn't mean energy expenditure is necessarily less per unit time when cycling. As I said earlier, minimum energy expenditure is likely to be higher when running (you can't coast and walking doesn't count as running). But maximum energy expenditure is basically how many watts you can possibly output over a unit of time (not distance). Now I know for sure I can output a higher power on a bike vs running. I've measured both (or at least elliptical vs bike with the same power measuring system). So I expend more energy riding a bike than I do running for any fixed length of time. Of course I will cover much more distance on the bike in that time, but that wasn't the question posed. Or at least that's not how I would interpret it. I presumed the question was all about energy expenditure over a given time duration at maximum effort. If the question really was about energy expenditure over a fixed distance then it's pretty obvious and doesn't warrant any discussion.

Using more muscle groups doesn't necessarily expend more total energy. It all depends how hard those muscle groups are working. For example I use more muscle groups walking than when cycling. But I can easily expend more energy cycling regardless of using less muscle groups.
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.
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Old 09-27-21, 02:11 PM
  #47  
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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. You're really cooking at age 40 plus running a mile at that speed , and to get the same cardio exertion you really have to push that bike fast for a while. Running fast for me was very hard. Others here may have been naturals and running like that was easy.
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Old 09-27-21, 02:17 PM
  #48  
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By the way now that running is over for me I get to study a lot of runners form and gait from behind carefully on my bike. Maybe I am talking about myself. but you can tell by a runner's gait if they're headed to injury or are going to last a long long time. Amazing how many runners are running out of balance , legs uneven. joints at funny angles. hips asunder. Biking is safer.
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Old 09-27-21, 02:19 PM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
Cover a set distance running or cycling. Your use more energy doing the former. That's it.
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.
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Old 09-27-21, 02:32 PM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by PeteHski View Post
This is meaningless without talking about pace. What if you rode those 100 miles faster? You can definitely bury yourself over 100 miles on a bike if you want to. It's just easier to cruise on a bike compared to running where you have to put in a fairly high minimum effort to call it running.

Cycling is like a good game. Easy to learn, hard to master.

And do you master cycling by following in the steps of Merckx or Sam Pilgrim? Both?

Iíve got issues between my L3/L4 and Iím 30# overweight. Used to love running, never did a marathon but could get a pace in my head and go 12 miles nonstop.
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