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Thread: Climbing: cycling vs run

  1. #1
    Senior Member helix's Avatar
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    Climbing: cycling vs run

    I now have a cycling commute with some reasonable hills in it. I find them really quite difficult.

    I know that cycling miles do not equate to running miles in that you need to do more miles/spend more time on the bike. So when I have trained for long events I have tended to view my training in terms of hours.

    With regard to ascent though; is a ft of climb on a bike worth more than a ft of climb when running and is there a rule of thumb I could use for conversion.

  2. #2
    Master DrPatrickBarry's Avatar
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    All I can say is that, for me, running up a steep hill is a lot faster than cycling, so from that I would guess cycling is harder. With a bike you have transmission losses and the weight of the bike itself to drag up the hill so it must take more effort.

  3. #3
    Senior Member PeteS's Avatar
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    I think has a lot to do with gradient though I'm no physics expert. Steep uphill running seems far easier without the baggage of 10kg of steel and i can comfortably out run most cyclists on my local hills. That said i have no chance of keeping up with a decent Road cyclist on say a 5% slope.
    I have always worked on the basis that total ascent works out equal in effort on a long run compared to a ride and that distance/time is approximately 4 or 5 times equivalent. Works for me!

  4. #4
    Senior Member helix's Avatar
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    Cheers,

    I think I just need to accept that I need to get better and treat my commute as a training bonus.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by helix View Post
    I now have a cycling commute with some reasonable hills in it. I find them really quite difficult.

    I know that cycling miles do not equate to running miles in that you need to do more miles/spend more time on the bike. So when I have trained for long events I have tended to view my training in terms of hours.

    With regard to ascent though; is a ft of climb on a bike worth more than a ft of climb when running and is there a rule of thumb I could use for conversion.
    If you ran at top speed for an hour on a flat road and compared the energy consumed to that used in a full out bike ride over the same one hour period, on the same flat road, the energy expended would be about the same. Provided you'd conditioned yourself for both equally.

    On the hills the same applies so long as you keep pedalling hard on the descents. If you want to know for sure how each ft of climb compares, choose an uphill of about ten minutes duration and run it as fast as you can. Then another day ride it as fast as you can and see in the same period of time how far/high you got. That'll give you a comparative and a ratio. But only for that gradient.
    Last edited by CL; 17-03-2017 at 10:43 AM.

  6. #6
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    I once saw figures suggesting 1000 calories/hr running pretty hard vs 600 calories/hr biking pretty hard. My rule of thumb would be that in terms of aerobic fitness, 3 miles biking = 1 mile running. If I bike to work and back 5 days in a week it adds up to 100 miles and 6 hours in the saddle (10 miles each way in 35-40 mins). I reckon that's worth about 30-35 miles "road" running or 4 - 4 1/2 hours running.

    I think running up a hill is significantly different to running on the flat, but biking up a hill isn't significantly different to biking on the flat. What biking clearly can't give you is the resistance training that you get from running - all those eccentric contractions as you come downhill - or the ability to run on rough ground or descend.

    In my experience biking is a good way of training for fellrunning (less so for flatter running) especially for those of us getting older who can't run as often. Last year I ran about 650 miles including about 25 races and biked over 4000 miles. I climbed 200,000 feet running but only 150,000 biking. If my mix had been more in favour of running I would have performed better in races, but likely been injured. My experience is that with plenty of biking, you can perform at a relatively high level without running too much, which, as I get older and bits wear out, becomes more important.
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    We know from work rate data that a good cyclist can burn 1200 calories in an hour. We also know that a good runner can burn that much as well. In that time the cyclist can cover around 25 miles, a good runner 12. So on that basis it's almost 2:1 ratio in mileage terms. But time wise it's 1:1 ratio That's all I'm arguing as I'm well aware that someone who's a good runner but doesn't train for cycling won't achieve anywhere near that ratio and vice versa.
    Last edited by CL; 17-03-2017 at 07:09 PM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member helix's Avatar
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    Thanks for the insights.

    Running on rough ground and descending whether on the flat or the rough are the areas I have a natural ability for. I'm a terrible climber though and I guess I was hoping someone would say "Yes, the climbs on the bike you do are worth 3 times as much as when you do it running!"

    Hey ho, I'll just treat the time in the saddle as a training bonus and compare by hours as I normally do.

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