running a marathon - what's the cycling equivilent?

ARob
ARob Posts: 143
edited February 2008 in Road beginners
just an academic question really but if someone of equivilent fitness put the same effort into training that it would take to get fit enough to run a marathon, what is the distance they would be looking at on a bike? 100 miles? 75?

Comments

  • Smokin Joe
    Smokin Joe Posts: 2,706
    Probably a 12 hour time trial. I couldn't imagine running a marathon without feeling the effects for days afterwards, but I have ridden 100 miles without breaking sweat.
  • JWSurrey
    JWSurrey Posts: 1,173
    Liege-Baston-Liege?
    The Etape?

    or for an Ironman equivalent solely on bike, how about Paris-Brest-Paris
  • geoff_ss
    geoff_ss Posts: 1,201
    Smokin Joe wrote:
    Probably a 12 hour time trial. I couldn't imagine running a marathon without feeling the effects for days afterwards, but I have ridden 100 miles without breaking sweat.

    A guy who lives very near me (10 miles north of Derby) cycled to London, ran the marathon, and cycled back over the weekend. He isn't really a cyclist, more a runner. He also did the 3 Peaks (Snowdon, Scafell Pike, Ben Nevis) on a bike too and broke the then record.

    When next I see him I'll have to ask his opinion. It was about 7/8 years ago btw his name is Dave Sleath I suppose he should be in the Guiness Book of Records

    Geoff
    Old cyclists never die; they just fit smaller chainrings ... and pedal faster
  • Mettan
    Mettan Posts: 2,103
    edited January 2008
    Something else to throw into the mix - there are 62 year old "grannies" , 58 year old "grannies" that run the London Marathon every year (run/walk/run/walk) - there are countless relatively "unconditioned" men and women in their 50's and 60's who do the marathon every year - would be interesting to see them do 100 miles in the Lake district - marathon's aren't the be all and end all. That's not to take anything away from the achievement (full respect to them) , rather, just to put it into perspective a bit (and not to have too much of a downer on cycling, which is often the case when this one comes up).
  • HarryB
    HarryB Posts: 197
    Mettan wrote:
    Something else to throw into the mix - there are 62 year old "grannies" , 58 year old "grannies" that run the London Marathon every year (run/walk/run/walk) - there are countless of relatively "unconditioned" men and women in their 50's and 60's who do the marathon every year - would be interesting to see them do 100 miles in the Lake district - marathon's aren't the be all and end all.

    What you are talking about is people being able to 'do' a marathon. No big deal. There's a big difference between finishing a marathon and running a marathon. I'd say a sub 3hr 30 marathon is what we're talking about here.
  • Mettan
    Mettan Posts: 2,103
    HarryB wrote:

    What you are talking about is people being able to 'do' a marathon. No big deal. There's a big difference between finishing a marathon and running a marathon. I'd say a sub 3hr 30 marathon is what we're talking about here.

    That's a good point - brief thought - I'd suspect that a sub 3'30 marathon would be beyond the reach of many athletic-ish blokes (random from the street) with even 3 years training - the cycling equivalent of a 3'30....... well in excess of a 100 miles and plenty of climbing, that's for sure - 3'30's pretty extreme.
  • Brian B
    Brian B Posts: 2,071
    I think that something like the hardest/hilly sportives must be equivalent of a marathon. Something like the 116 mile Fred Whitton challenge where the miles are hard and not much of 'easy' flat miles must reach beyond a marathon. Running obviously is harder on the joints and you cannot really sustain the same amount of distance training that you can on a bike.

    I know that I ran to my work and it was 8 miles and then ran home that night and thats almost 2/3 of marathon. I know how I felt after the Fred Whitton and the Polka dot last year and I was knackered. I am doing the Mega challenge this year and its 142 mile of very hilly terrain and I am looking at somewhere around 9hrs in the saddle. My heart rate will be racing for a good part of this time(as well as my legs) and although pound for pound running is harder than cycling you are constantly changing pace as the roads goes vertical and this can really drain your reserves.

    I have never ran a marathon and i take my hat off to people who do so but I think some of the more extreme sportives are equal to a marathon or beyond.
    Brian B.
  • BeaconRuth
    BeaconRuth Posts: 2,086
    Brian B wrote:
    I think that something like the hardest/hilly sportives must be equivalent of a marathon. Something like the 116 mile Fred Whitton challenge where the miles are hard and not much of 'easy' flat miles must reach beyond a marathon.
    Surely the Fred Whitton is the cyclists equivalent of fell-running, not marathon running? Long hard ascents, followed by technically tricky, aerobically easier descents?

    A marathon is far more akin to a flattish time trial IMO. A 100 mile time trial it probably a bit short, but a 12hr is too long for direct comparison IMO. As for Smokin Joe simply 'riding' 100 miles without breaking sweat, surely he's the pantomime donkey in the marathon. Do you think someone who breaks 4hrs for 100 miles on a bike does it without breaking sweat?

    Ruth
  • Richie G
    Richie G Posts: 283
    I'm keen to read peoples opinions on this, as i'm considering doing a marathon in October :shock:
    I've done 4 half-marathons and when i did my only 25TT a month before my last half i found it quite hard to compare the two. They both hurt! I reckon the big difference with running is the constant pounding wears you down. I guess it also depends what you train for - i've found i can be running fit and hopeless when i get on the bike and vice versa. I've read in running magazines that 1 running mile is equivilent to 3 cycling miles, although i'd suggest 4 cycling miles from my experience. So maybe 100 mile TT is in the same ballpark?
  • azzerb
    azzerb Posts: 208
    http://www.drmirkin.com/fitness/8841.html

    Also, my girlfriend runs regular fell races (15+ miles quite often) and marathons, yet when it comes to cycling, she struggles with 10miles, and can actually run quicker than she can cycle at times.

    Yet when it comes to me, I can't do anything more than 3 miles on road :x (can double that in fell sort of terrain tho :S)

    She finds anything 70 miles+ crazy, and i find what she does crazy.
  • jedster
    jedster Posts: 1,717
    I've not cycled 100 miles ever so apply a suitable discount to my comments. I think it's difficult to compare cycling with a marathon. The thing about running a marathon (and indeed marathon training) is the wear and tear it places on joints and tendons (at least for the majority of us who are not natural, pure runners). I don't think I'm really built to run four times a week - things tighten up and put loads on other muscles and it becomes a bit of a vicious circle.

    I have good stamina (have handled 12 and even 18 hour days hiking and climbing fairly well) and the challenge of the marathon was much more mechanical than aerobic. In comparison, if you don't over do big gears, cycling is so much more sympathetic to the body.

    J
  • jc4lab
    jc4lab Posts: 554
    What I have heard as rule of thumb is.that cycling touring takes about a seventh of running effort...
    jc
  • DavidTQ
    DavidTQ Posts: 943
    Well IVe done the londong marathon back when I was 18 without any serious training (I did 2x 3 miles about two months before the event), I was fit to drop at the end :lol: I think the pain lasted at least a week. I did however have a basic level of fitness at the time as I had only jsut got the car a month before hand and so was used to walking and running and cycling everywhere at the time. Plus I was young and stupid...

    When I started back to cycling I had my seat adjusted all wrong so I was standing on every hill to get up, I had an alignment problem due to me having splayed feet, I had no basic fitness having not even ran to catch a bus in 10 years. I reckon I could have simulated the marathon feeling with just 10 miles in that state :lol:
  • dennisn
    dennisn Posts: 10,601
    I don't think there is much comparison. Usually after running a marathon you're on the
    burnt out side for longer than you would be from, say, a really long cycling
    mountain stage. For me it's not so much the running that wears you down as it is
    the pounding that your body takes with every step. In this respect cycling, at least road
    cycling, is a really smooth, non abusive, thing.

    Dennis Noward
  • geoff_ss
    geoff_ss Posts: 1,201
    DavidTQ wrote:
    Well IVe done the londong marathon back when I was 18 without any serious training (I did 2x 3 miles about two months before the event), I was fit to drop at the end :lol: I think the pain lasted at least a week. I did however have a basic level of fitness at the time as I had only jsut got the car a month before hand and so was used to walking and running and cycling everywhere at the time. Plus I was young and stupid...

    :) Being young and stupid is a great help. When I was about 22 I walked round the Moidart Peninsula (about 15 miles rough) in leather motorcycle boots with no training whatsoever (I never walked anywhere normally) and with no ill effects. I was in Fort William at the time for the Scottish 6 Days motorcycle trial and my pal and I did it for a dare and to see the riders through a remote section of the route.

    So I guess age has a lot to do with how well a non-athlete could cope with a marathon - or a 100 mile TT.

    I used my bike (and a very early Peugeot cycle computer) to measure the course of the Ashbourne half marathon which is very hilly as it crosses Dovedale. By the time I'd ridden from home, ridden the course, ridden south of Derby to check my computer on the measured mile and then back home I must have done 60 miles. I was fit and hardly noticed I'd been out but of course I wasn't racing - a big difference.

    I would equate running a marathon with a hilly 300k Audax like (say) the Elenith.

    Geoff
    Old cyclists never die; they just fit smaller chainrings ... and pedal faster
  • andy_wrx
    andy_wrx Posts: 3,396
    As someone says above, there's a difference between running a marathon and completing a marathon - a club athlete going for a PB time will have a different experience to a charity fundraiser 'just getting round' in whatever time it takes.
    - perhaps there's a similar difference to doing a leisurely Century and doing a 100m TT ?

    I've run a few marathons and done several sportives, you can compare the two, but I don't agree with Brian that a hard sportive is harder than a marathon - riding hard in a hard sportive might be harder than jogging round an easy marathon, but a marathon run as hard as you can is harder, and an off-road or hilly marathon is harder still.

    The damage to the body is far higher with a marathon, it makes walking or climbing stairs difficult and sitting-down without using the chair-ams impossible for the best part of a week afterwards (the plane steps at the airport, the day after a big-city marathon are hilarious !)
    You then find that your body is wiped-out for a month or so as a minimum afterwards before you start to regain form. It takes so long to build up to running one and then so long to rebuild afterwards that most people are advised to run just one marathon a year, or at a most one in Spring and one in Autumn and to take a year out after every two or three rather than running them year after year. Even top-level pro athletes structure their seasons to only run one or maybe two marathons a year.
  • HarryB
    HarryB Posts: 197
    Andy, you've summed it up nicely. The last time I did the Swaledale Marathon (all off road and loads of big hills) I was in agony for about three days afterwards. For the first day I had to go down the stairs backwards. It takes at least a month to fully recover from a hard-run marathon.

    Even half marathons done at a fast pace can be real killers.

    I'm now realising I made the right choice in packing in running at 50.
  • bigjim
    bigjim Posts: 780
    I love running. Never found anything to match it but have had to give it up due to a knee problem. Knee damaged playing football not running. My first marathon was in the lake district. Up hill and down dale, in and out of different weather in October! I had trained for it for six weeks and finished in 4.07. I am a big heavy guy so the time for me was good and comfortable. It did however knock me out for a couple of days only. I think that I am probably a natural slow, distance runner but nobody has told my knee. I don't think there is a cycling equivalent. The same knee does not complain at all on a 70mile bike ride even if I ride every day. You cannot stop or cruise downhill while running. I think you get fitter quicker and lose more weight running, But the toll on the body is far greater. If you are starting to have a belly [like me]. Go for a run. You can feel that overweight belly swinging and working. Now cycle. That damn belly will not move! See my excuse for a belly. Can't run.

    Jim :wink:
  • mm1
    mm1 Posts: 1,063
    Interesting question. I have a friend who rides Elite and is also a runner. When he lived in England he won the Snowdon Marathon and was County champion 3 or 4 times; on the bike he was Divisional champion once and finshed top 10 in at least one Premier Calendar (7th in the Archer). He has done a 273mile 12 hour. Not sure about his marathon pb. I'll let you know.

    I will never run a marathon (too heavy and knee wrecked by being hit by a VW Golf), but in my youth I was an ok cross-country runner (school and borough team, ran County champs), as an overweight 47 year old (with knackered knee), last season I broke my 3o year old 10m TT pb. Nothing spectacular and I know that my 17 year old self did not have the benefit of a modern bike, tri-bars etc, but was still hard work and it hurt!
  • hammerite
    hammerite Posts: 3,408
    I agree that it is difficult to compare the two. You take a hell of a pounding running long distances, each foot hits the floor about 90 times each minute, so in a marathon of 3h 30 each foot hits the ground about 19,000 times!! That leg/foot has to take all your weight at pressure 19,000 times.

    I've run marathons (and fell races), and during them I'm very rarely out of breath, but after 21 miles my legs have felt like they will buckle under me!

    Where as if you get me to cycle up a big hill I will be out of breath, but then I can recover quickly. My legs have never felt the pain cycling like they have while running.

    That said try cycling for a few miles and then try running straight afterwards (or do a triathlon), that's a really weird sensation!
  • RedAende
    RedAende Posts: 158
    3hr30 is a fastish marathon time. I am a reasonable club runner and have ran 2 marathons in past 2 yrs at just over 4 hr mark. Running London this yr and desperate to get under 4 hrs.

    I can easily do a 60 mile easy day ride. After marathon I cannot walk for 2 days and takes a week before I can lightly jog, probably 3-4 weeks recovery. There is no freewheel or downhill coasting when running ,

    A top triathlete mentioned the ratio 3:1 so a 4hr marathon = 12 hr TT.

    My father did a few 12hr TT when he was ages with what I am now (early 40's). Cant remember his mileage but I think about 220-230 miles. He couldn't walk for 2 days afterwards.

    So based on the effects and me inheriting his DNA I'll go for a 4 hr marathon = 225m 12 hr.

    Red Aende, Red Spesh Hardrock, Wine Mercian, Rusty Flying Scot
  • It used to be considered the case that cycling's equivalent of the 4 minute mile was 100 miles in 4 hours but that was on a road bike.

    I think the equivalent of a marathon in cycling terms is closer to 12 hours.
  • phreak
    phreak Posts: 2,906
    I think people underestimate cycling.

    Using a calculator such as this one http://www.carbboom.com/education/marathon_calc.php and it seems likely that a marathon will burn around 2,500-3,000 calories.

    That equates to roughly 100km ride with an average incline of 2%.
  • redddraggon
    redddraggon Posts: 10,862
    phreak wrote:
    I think people underestimate cycling.

    Using a calculator such as this one http://www.carbboom.com/education/marathon_calc.php and it seems likely that a marathon will burn around 2,500-3,000 calories.

    That equates to roughly 100km ride with an average incline of 2%.

    Running does more damage to the body than cycling though. Every step you take when you are running is an "impact", whereas every pedal stroke is not.

    It's not really to do with the energy that is required, more physical pain.
    I like bikes...

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  • phreak
    phreak Posts: 2,906
    I don't do many long rides due to my location but the last 25% of a 100km ride is real gritted teeth stuff. I think it's just what you're used to.

    I mean swimming is very easy on the joints but on the final length of a 200m butterfly you sure do feel pain.