Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > General Cycling Discussion
Reload this Page >

Running vs Bike riding energy expenditure

Notices
General Cycling Discussion Have a cycling related question or comment that doesn't fit in one of the other specialty forums? Drop on in and post in here! When possible, please select the forum above that most fits your post!

Running vs Bike riding energy expenditure

Old 09-26-21, 10:30 AM
  #1  
AJW2W11E
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2021
Posts: 87
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 52 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 15 Times in 12 Posts
Running vs Bike riding energy expenditure

I am new to Bike riding and doing roughly 20 miles a day 16 mph on a single speed , lots of hills. Switched from running several miles a day after I saw all the knee replacements around me. Bike riding really is fun but all those miles are wearisome, noticed them when I was painting my house. How does bike riding match up to running?
AJW2W11E is offline  
Old 09-26-21, 10:39 AM
  #2  
zandoval 
Senior Member
 
zandoval's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Bastrop Texas
Posts: 2,562

Bikes: Univega, Peu P6, Peu PR-10, Ted Williams, Peu UO-8, Peu UO-18 Mixte

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 254 Post(s)
Liked 326 Times in 229 Posts
Running rules as far as energy expenditure. Cycling is a refined way to cover greater distance without the energy expenditure of running. Many of us can no longer run. Cycling allows us to get the heart rate up, feel the air, work the lungs, and then after completion of a ride sit back with a short recovery time. Experienced runners have no problem transitioning from running to cycling. As far as energy expenditure, I wish I could still run, but cycling WILL DO!
__________________
No matter where your at... There you are... Δf:=f(1/2)-f(-1/2)
zandoval is offline  
Likes For zandoval:
Old 09-26-21, 11:04 AM
  #3  
Iride01
Hits [ENTER] b4 thinking
 
Iride01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 8,826

Bikes: '20 Tarmac Disc Comp '91, '78 Raleigh Competition GS

Mentioned: 36 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3509 Post(s)
Liked 2,077 Times in 1,466 Posts
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.
Iride01 is offline  
Likes For Iride01:
Old 09-26-21, 12:01 PM
  #4  
Random11
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2020
Posts: 279
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 145 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 178 Times in 99 Posts
As a former runner who recently turned to cycling, I can assure you that running uses far more energy. As a runner, one of my goals was to run a marathon (I eventually did five), and when I picked up cycling, I viewed riding a century as a similar goal, which I accomplished last year. It is much easier to ride 100 miles than to run 26. It took me several weeks to recover from my marathons, but the day after my century I was riding as usual. Also relevant to the comparison, I ran my last marathon at age 40, and I was 70 when I rode my century last year.
Random11 is offline  
Old 09-26-21, 12:03 PM
  #5  
hevysrf
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 31
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 15 Post(s)
Liked 15 Times in 7 Posts
Mindset change needed, Enjoy the ride > wearisome miles. Fitness benefits secondary.
hevysrf is offline  
Likes For hevysrf:
Old 09-26-21, 12:16 PM
  #6  
PeteHski
Senior Member
 
PeteHski's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2021
Posts: 2,165
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1073 Post(s)
Liked 1,125 Times in 712 Posts
Originally Posted by Random11 View Post
As a former runner who recently turned to cycling, I can assure you that running uses far more energy. As a runner, one of my goals was to run a marathon (I eventually did five), and when I picked up cycling, I viewed riding a century as a similar goal, which I accomplished last year. It is much easier to ride 100 miles than to run 26. It took me several weeks to recover from my marathons, but the day after my century I was riding as usual. Also relevant to the comparison, I ran my last marathon at age 40, and I was 70 when I rode my century last year.
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.
PeteHski is offline  
Old 09-26-21, 12:26 PM
  #7  
runner pat
Senior Member
 
runner pat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Turlock, Ca
Posts: 237

Bikes: Greenspeed Hand Magnum

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Liked 12 Times in 8 Posts
Originally Posted by Random11 View Post
As a former runner who recently turned to cycling, I can assure you that running uses far more energy. As a runner, one of my goals was to run a marathon (I eventually did five), and when I picked up cycling, I viewed riding a century as a similar goal, which I accomplished last year. It is much easier to ride 100 miles than to run 26. It took me several weeks to recover from my marathons, but the day after my century I was riding as usual. Also relevant to the comparison, I ran my last marathon at age 40, and I was 70 when I rode my century last year.
Impact forces are a major factor.
There's also how wind resistance scales up when cycling compared to running as far as determining an equal performance.
runner pat is offline  
Likes For runner pat:
Old 09-26-21, 12:33 PM
  #8  
Random11
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2020
Posts: 279
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 145 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 178 Times in 99 Posts
Originally Posted by PeteHski View Post
This is meaningless without talking about pace. What if you rode those 100 miles faster?...
My goal, in both my marathons and my century, was just to do the distance. I agree that I could have exerted more effort in my ride. So this might be a better comparison. The Tour de France cyclists do 21 centuries in a month. There's no way a marathoner could run 21 marathons in a month.
Random11 is offline  
Likes For Random11:
Old 09-26-21, 01:42 PM
  #9  
Rdmonster69
Shawn of the Dead
 
Join Date: Apr 2021
Posts: 281
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 155 Post(s)
Liked 226 Times in 109 Posts
Originally Posted by Random11 View Post
My goal, in both my marathons and my century, was just to do the distance. I agree that I could have exerted more effort in my ride. So this might be a better comparison. The Tour de France cyclists do 21 centuries in a month. There's no way a marathoner could run 21 marathons in a month.
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 !!
Rdmonster69 is offline  
Old 09-26-21, 02:49 PM
  #10  
PeteHski
Senior Member
 
PeteHski's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2021
Posts: 2,165
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1073 Post(s)
Liked 1,125 Times in 712 Posts
Originally Posted by Random11 View Post
My goal, in both my marathons and my century, was just to do the distance. I agree that I could have exerted more effort in my ride. So this might be a better comparison. The Tour de France cyclists do 21 centuries in a month. There's no way a marathoner could run 21 marathons in a month.
This only shows that you can pace yourself more easily on a bike. Running requires a higher minimum energy expenditure than cycling. But in either case there is no fixed maximum energy expenditure. Forget about comparing distances because those are irrelevant. You need to compare against time. Does running at your fastest pace for an hour use more energy than cycling at your fastest pace for an hour? That probably varies from person to person depending on how much running and cycling they do. I'm pretty sure I couldn't even run for an hour! But I can hold 300W on a bike for an hour.
PeteHski is offline  
Likes For PeteHski:
Old 09-26-21, 02:52 PM
  #11  
rumrunn6
Senior Member
 
rumrunn6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: 25 miles northwest of Boston
Posts: 25,801

Bikes: Bottecchia Sprint, GT Timberline 29r

Mentioned: 106 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4034 Post(s)
Liked 1,302 Times in 898 Posts
if you strain your achilles running, cycling is a good recovery exercise
rumrunn6 is offline  
Likes For rumrunn6:
Old 09-26-21, 03:04 PM
  #12  
Branko D
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 498
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 204 Post(s)
Liked 253 Times in 150 Posts
For me, who rides more than he runs, the maximum energy expenditure per hour is very similar when intensity is matched to produce a similar heart rate.

For instance, riding at 280W which is about my 20-odd minute maximum power, that’s around 1080 kcal expended per hour, my average heart rate discounting the first few minutes is around 166–167 bpm.

Running at 5K maximum pace which is for me is 4:12 min/km (grade adjusted) is around 1070 kcal expended per hour, at an average heart rate once it stabilized of around 166–167 bpm.

Of course, you can coast and softpedal in the draft and plod along on a bike while running requires a minimum effort . Hammer it on the bike without a break and, well, it's no easier metabolically than running, you just don't pound your legs.

It’s pretty logical, anyway, assuming your body is accustomed to both activities, the limiting factor is oxygen and how much you can provide to and burn in the muscles.

Last edited by Branko D; 09-26-21 at 03:12 PM.
Branko D is offline  
Likes For Branko D:
Old 09-26-21, 03:29 PM
  #13  
shelbyfv 
Senior Member
 
shelbyfv's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: TN
Posts: 9,476
Mentioned: 32 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2715 Post(s)
Liked 3,210 Times in 1,667 Posts
My doc mentioned 4:1. Divide bike miles by 4 to get comparable running miles. Obviously there are lots of variables so this is a simplistic (but not necessarily incorrect) guide.
shelbyfv is offline  
Likes For shelbyfv:
Old 09-26-21, 06:26 PM
  #14  
AdkMtnMonster
Airplanes, bikes, beer.
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Off the front
Posts: 727

Bikes: Road bikes, mountain bikes, a gravel bike…

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 383 Post(s)
Liked 775 Times in 328 Posts
The real question is whether or not you can wear the same shoes running the marathon and then riding the century. Running doesn't really need the protection that a cycling helmet provides, nor does running need a patch kit, spare tube, or a tail light. Biking requires a bike, while running can be done barefoot. A beer run, though, explains which is the better skill. Get out there and do it, as hard as you want to, and don't ever apologize for it.
AdkMtnMonster is offline  
Likes For AdkMtnMonster:
Old 09-26-21, 06:29 PM
  #15  
seypat
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 6,286
Mentioned: 62 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2036 Post(s)
Liked 1,011 Times in 683 Posts
The answer is 42.
seypat is offline  
Likes For seypat:
Old 09-26-21, 06:52 PM
  #16  
Random11
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2020
Posts: 279
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 145 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 178 Times in 99 Posts
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 !!
I'm impressed... and stand corrected.
Random11 is offline  
Likes For Random11:
Old 09-26-21, 06:55 PM
  #17  
Random11
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2020
Posts: 279
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 145 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 178 Times in 99 Posts
Originally Posted by PeteHski View Post
... I'm pretty sure I couldn't even run for an hour! But I can hold 300W on a bike for an hour.
More evidence that running is more taxing than cycling.
Random11 is offline  
Old 09-26-21, 09:16 PM
  #18  
NoWhammies
Senior Member
 
NoWhammies's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Pacific Northwest
Posts: 1,689

Bikes: Argon 18 Gallium, BH G7, Rocky Mountain Instinct C70

Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 694 Post(s)
Liked 326 Times in 215 Posts
I think GCN recently did a video on this topic...
NoWhammies is offline  
Old 09-26-21, 10:04 PM
  #19  
cyclezen
OM boy
 
cyclezen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Goleta CA
Posts: 3,390

Bikes: a bunch

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 134 Post(s)
Liked 119 Times in 83 Posts
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
cyclezen is offline  
Likes For cyclezen:
Old 09-26-21, 11:27 PM
  #20  
Litespud
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Chapel Hill NC
Posts: 1,478

Bikes: 2000 Litespeed Vortex Chorus 10, 1995 DeBernardi Cromor S/S, Nashbar 3sp commuter

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 555 Post(s)
Liked 619 Times in 346 Posts
Originally Posted by Random11 View Post
My goal, in both my marathons and my century, was just to do the distance. I agree that I could have exerted more effort in my ride. So this might be a better comparison. The Tour de France cyclists do 21 centuries in a month. There's no way a marathoner could run 21 marathons in a month.
unless you’re Eddie Izzard - 32 treadmill marathons, 31 comedy gigs in 31 days. Raised STG275,000 for charity 👍
Litespud is offline  
Likes For Litespud:
Old 09-26-21, 11:35 PM
  #21  
raceboy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: By theBeach and Palos Verdes, CA adjacent
Posts: 499

Bikes: One of each: Road, Hybrid, Trekking

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 115 Post(s)
Liked 62 Times in 33 Posts
Originally Posted by Random11 View Post
My goal, in both my marathons and my century, was just to do the distance. I agree that I could have exerted more effort in my ride. So this might be a better comparison. The Tour de France cyclists do 21 centuries in a month. There's no way a marathoner could run 21 marathons in a month.
I guess you haven’t heard of Eddie Izzard.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eddi...rathon_running
raceboy is offline  
Old 09-26-21, 11:44 PM
  #22  
rsbob 
Sniveling Weasel
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
Location: Seattle-ish
Posts: 1,751

Bikes: Orbea Orca, Fondriest Racing, Bianchi Trofeo, Bianchi Infinito, Schwinn Varsity, Trek mtn

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 629 Post(s)
Liked 1,026 Times in 629 Posts
Originally Posted by AJW2W11E View Post
I am new to Bike riding and doing roughly 20 miles a day 16 mph on a single speed , lots of hills. Switched from running several miles a day after I saw all the knee replacements around me. Bike riding really is fun but all those miles are wearisome, noticed them when I was painting my house. How does bike riding match up to running?
The beauty of cycling is that you can go so much farther and see so much more than with running. You probably run the same routes over and over but with cycling you can get a workout in and explore all over your area for the same energy expenditure. I ran for 30 years before transitioning to cycling. With cycling you can get the same workout in the same time you would run if you really dial it up or go climb some steeps. If you wear a HRM for running, do the same with cycling and get your heart rate up til the same level and you will not be disappointed. Besides with running you don’t get the payoff of coasting down a hill and working your butt of climbing.
__________________
There is no R in Washington (state)

Last edited by rsbob; 09-26-21 at 11:48 PM.
rsbob is offline  
Likes For rsbob:
Old 09-26-21, 11:45 PM
  #23  
matton
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2021
Posts: 10

Bikes: Trek Marlin 5, Contend 3

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Liked 3 Times in 2 Posts
Cycling time and distance are very poor indicators of effort. If you’re riding on flat terrain, you can just cruise along with very little effort. Running is always quite effortful. I would rate running as more like riding uphill – you can adjust the effort somewhat, but it’s never going to be effortless.
matton is offline  
Likes For matton:
Old 09-27-21, 12:51 AM
  #24  
RChung
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 1,860
Mentioned: 31 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 543 Post(s)
Liked 496 Times in 199 Posts
Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
My doc mentioned 4:1. Divide bike miles by 4 to get comparable running miles. Obviously there are lots of variables so this is a simplistic (but not necessarily incorrect) guide.
Probably closer to between 2.5 and 3.5; the faster you run, the closer to 2.5, the slower, the closer to 3.5.
RChung is offline  
Old 09-27-21, 03:05 AM
  #25  
PeteHski
Senior Member
 
PeteHski's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2021
Posts: 2,165
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1073 Post(s)
Liked 1,125 Times in 712 Posts
Originally Posted by Random11 View Post
More evidence that running is more taxing than cycling.

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.
Also I can cycle non-stop for at least 9 hours, but there's no way I could run for that long. So total energy expenditure for me is way higher overall when cycling. My biggest ride this year used 5000 calories according to my power meter.
PeteHski is offline  
Likes For PeteHski:

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.