Cycling to Running Conversion Rate Questions (Read 2226 times)

    I've heard that 4 miles of biking is comparable to 1 mile running. How true do you think this is, and do you think it would be okay for me to depend on this for marathon training? I am coming off a recurring injury. During the worst of it, I was unable to run. I started riding the stationary bike at home, and have continued to ride it since getting back into running. My running mileage is at about 27 miles a week, and I am enjoying the 4 days a week of concentrated workouts. My biking, on the other hand, is closing in on 50 miles a week. If the conversion rate I've read about can be believed, that gives me an extra 12 running miles. Which puts me consistently at about 40 miles a week. I'm training for the California International Marathon. I know that the best way to be a better and faster runner is to run. But do you think I will be able to run the marathon on 30 miles a week of running and 50+ of biking? Long runs will get longer as the race gets closer, obviously, and one of my running workouts is a speed session. So how much faith can I put in the 4:1 rate? Can I depend on it to get me through my training? Thanks for any input!
    "Running is a big question mark that's there each and every day. It asks you, 'Are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be strong today?' " - Peter Maher, Irish-Canadian Olympian
      Hey Callie..... Biking.....awesome cross-training. I was injured this last year during track season, and was unable to run as apart of my training if I wanted to compete. So, I relied on the stationary bike. I rode between 25-30 miles per day (five days a week) in two different workouts. I was sure that I wouldn't compete as well because of my training. I was sure that no one would be able to strictly rely on biking for running......I was wrong. I competed at District and qualified for Regionals as a high school freshman setting a PR all at the same time. Although, I truly believe that the only way to succeed in running is to run, I think that biking makes for an excellent alternative. I am not quite sure about the 4:1 ratio. I had never heard of such a thing. I would keep running at least 75% of the time, and save 20% for biking and the other 5% for core workouts. Good luck! Hope that this helps! k P.S. I found this article in Runner's World after I set my PR this past spring. It would probably help you out a little more..... http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-238-263-266-11759-0,00.html

      I've got a fever...

        Callie, Between 3:1 and 4:1 seems to be the accepted conversion. Closer to 4:1 on a stationary bike because your're not fighting gravity or wind resistance at all. If you're out riding and hitting some hills, I'd guess 3.5:1 ~ 3:1. Check this thread out. The biking gurus (I am not one) say that you should try to maintain a tempo of 90 rpm while cycling and vary your gears for resistance/terrain/etc. So go to Podrunner, and look under the archive for something close to 180 beats per minute (to sync up with a 90 rpm pedal tempo). Crank it up and pedal away. Good Luck!

        On your deathbed, you won't wish that you'd spent more time at the office.  But you will wish that you'd spent more time running.  Because if you had, you wouldn't be on your deathbed.

        Coach Gordon

          Hi, I coach Middle Distance Athletes and one of my athletes had injured her back (fracture of the L5) as part of her recovery programme I told her to Cycle as much as possible given that she was not able to run at all. She came back and competed at the 800m and qualified for the English schools U17 championships with a time of 2:17s which was also a PB with very minimal running training. The key is to mix up your cycling so that you are not just doing the miles at a steady pace but are doing fartlek sessions and tempo sessions on the bike as well. I think it is better on the open road or Cross country but you can simulate this on the stationary bike by cranking up the difficulty during the session for a few minutes and then easing back off again. Incorporate a few speed sessions on the bike to help improve leg speed. Even for the fully fit athlete It has been proven that there is a direct benifit from cycling for running , however it doesn't work the other way round. Take Care and best of luck Coach Gordon
            Hi Callie, I'm very near the end of my marathon plan, which has included 3 days of running and 2 days of cycling since the beginning. It's called the FIRST plan. Basically, you run hard on the 3 days - interval one day, tempo one day and long run one day, and cycle the other two for 30-45 minutes. In a nutshell, this has been my plan: 1 interval workout: 5-6 miles (total) 1 45 minute cycle 1 6 miles tempo 1 45 minute cycle 1 15-20 mile run. Total running miles: no more than 32 Total cycling: 90 minutes - roughly 24 miles, which I equate to more like 3:1, only because I ride them hard. All total, that's only a total of 40 equivalent miles, yet I've PR'd twice in my half marathon distance and once in my 5k and 5mile distance during this plan. The "experts" will say that it's because the nature of this plan means that every workout is a quality workout -- very few "recovery" workouts at all. I also think it's because I haven't missed a single day because of injury. There's an old saying that "we're all an experiment of one," but I'm really pleased with how this has worked for me. PS - Curiously, this hasn't made my cycling any better. I'm still very bad at it (15-16mph), but it's made me a better runner.

            Go to http://certainintelligence.blogspot.com for my blog.

              Marcus, does your cycling differ (such as the tempo & fartlek that Coach Gordon recommends) or is it just cycling/stationary biking?
                just call me....dun dun dun...."THREADKILLER" Cool

                  Well you are only 2 months behind Econo.... wink. I think Marcus is using his cycling as his easy days, where as Coach Gordon's athlete could not run, therefore she used tempo sessions as her hard days I would think and had other easy and hard cycling days. That would just be a guess on my part.
                    Oh, heh, I see. Cash, I guess I wasn't used to seeing a thread that hangs around that long!
                      I've read where some coaches will credit their student for 1 hour of hard (intense) bike riding with 5 miles of running. I read that somewhere a year or so ago.

                        these conversions are not useful. instead, relate time and effort. for example, an hour of biking would be like an hour of running at the same effort (heart rate).