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Level of exertion, cycling vs. distance running?

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  • #31
    Re: Level of exertion, cycling vs. distance running?

    Originally posted by bambam
    Originally posted by gh
    I mean, if you want to talk exertion, then "looks on faces" etc., makes cycling a pussy sport compared to boxing or wrestling, neh? Ascribing wondrous power to cyclists simply becuase it takes longer for them to look on death's door makes no sense if you stop to think about it.
    The editor is correct. Boxing and wrestling are brutal sports for conditioning. Another one to consider for efforts of only 5-8 minutes is rowing. Those guys are brutes.

    For boxing witness the Thrilla in Manila and Ali's quote "Fighting Joe Frazier was the closest thing to death I could ever imagine."
    It's been my experience that you achieve much higher heart rates during short races (<5:00) than longer races (>1 hour), even if you sprint at the end of the longer race. I routinely hit HR's in the high 190's for short races but rarely got out of the 180's for longer races. This leads me to believe that my body was a lot more flush with lactic acid at the end of the short races than the long races. Also, the pain and discomfort that I felt after a short race was a lot more intense than the longer races though it didn't last long, while it took me a lot longer to recover after longer races, presumably because of elevated body temperature and dehydration.

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    • #32
      Re: Level of exertion, cycling vs. distance running?

      Originally posted by gh
      I mean, if you want to talk exertion, then "looks on faces" etc., makes cycling a pussy sport compared to boxing or wrestling, neh? Ascribing wondrous power to cyclists simply becuase it takes longer for them to look on death's door makes no sense if you stop to think about it.
      Boxing and wrestling are without any doubts heavily taxing sports, but neither is an endurance sport, that's the point I made by specifically choosing the approximately one-hour half-marathon to compare with the one-hour cycling time trial.

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      • #33
        Re: Level of exertion, cycling vs. distance running?

        After suffering a hamstring injury in a 10K race in late October, I went through an interesting experiment on cross training for the last five weeks.

        I could not run for nine days, and stayed on stationary bike and elliptical machine. My daily routine was 30 minutes on bike and 30 minutes on elliptical. It was hard for me to get my heart rate over 140 on bike, but I managed to push it around 140-150 on elliptical.

        On the 10th day, I managed to run 2 miles -- in 18 minutes. For the next six days, I continued to run a little longer each day, while continuing my cross training (30 minutes of either bike or elliptical).

        By the end of the third week, I was back to running 10 miles, in about 79 minutes. The problem was that it was 13 days before I was to run a marathon. There was not enough time left to squeeze a longer run (I did a 20 miler on Oct. 14, and a 16 miler on Oct. 21). So I went to the race grossly underprepared, and not knowing what to expect.

        After 17 miles, my calves started to have some issues, and I had the biggest blow-up in five marathons that I have run (1:42-1:58). Surprisingly, my quad and hamstring held up, and they are feeling better than other times right after my previous four marathons (I guess they were not pushed to the limit during the race). I was breathing comfortably throughout the race, even to the last mile.

        So my conclusion is that the cross training I did preserved my cardiovascular fitness. But it was not good enough to preserve my leg strength. And retaining the calf strength was harder than retaining the hamstring and quad strength.

        What could I have done differently? Longer time on bike and elliptical? Aqua running to supplement other forms of cross training? Anyway, I hope I will never have to go through this again.

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        • #34
          Re: Level of exertion, cycling vs. distance running?

          You should have been on a road bike for part of it. That would have worked your calves but a stationary bike has your arch over the pedal, not the ball of your foot -- major difference for some of the muscles. You probably need clip-in (clipless, etc) pedals to get the most from the riding and you will not get that in most exercise bikes (some spinning classes maybe). You might also have a problem with the saddle height -- errors can be on both sides but my guess is that you were too low or you would have gotten a bit more of the calf into it if you were too high.

          If you are not going high enough on the HR on the bike, try this. After warm up, do some version of X seconds hard, X seconds easy, X seconds at 'steady-state'. I often do it with a break down starting at maybe 90 seconds and making each one 5-10 seconds shorter. The hard should be that; you should be ready to be done and the easy will be a huge relief. At first, you will be ready for the 'steady-state' part way through the X seconds of Easy, but that will slowly disappear and 'steady-state' will slow down eventually. If these things are not happening you are not working the Hard hard enough.

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          • #35
            Re: Level of exertion, cycling vs. distance running?

            Originally posted by 26mi235
            YYou might also have a problem with the saddle height -- errors can be on both sides but my guess is that you were too low or you would have gotten a bit more of the calf into it if you were too high.
            Anyone riding a bike should go get fitted at a real bike shop. Frame size, seat shape, crank length, stem length, etc all work together to make cycling comfortable. Most knee or back pain associated with cycling will go away with a proper fitting.

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            • #36
              Re: Level of exertion, cycling vs. distance running?

              26mi makes some good points. There are three things that I can think of that would make it hard to get high heart rates on a bike and all of them have to do with not generating enough power:

              1) Having the seat to low will make you mechanically inefficient and unable to generate optimum power.
              2) Not being clipped into the pedals in some fashion (straps or clipless pedals) will make it impossible for you to generate power throughout the pedal stroke. It's a bike, not a stair stepper. And as stated above, the ball of you foot should be directly over the pedal axle.
              3) Pedaling in too big a gear (bike)/too much resistance (stationary bike) with too low a cadence will make it hard to generate optimum power. I would recommend that you always keep your cadence at 90 rpm's or above.

              By the way, I remember reading a story about 1996 Olympic Marathon Trials winner Bob Kempainen getting hurt less than two months before the trials and being forced to do only aqua running for two weeks.

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              • #37
                Re: Level of exertion, cycling vs. distance running?

                Thanks for all the feedback. I did not realize the saddle height would make such a difference. My gym has some spinning bikes, but I have never used them. I should try it the next time. And doing "interval" on a bike makes sense, too.

                Although I hope I will never have to go through "rehab" like that, incorporating cross training on a regular basis might be a good idea to avoid overuse injury. I am not running a high mileage, but my body might be more fragile than other people's.

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                • #38
                  Re: Level of exertion, cycling vs. distance running?

                  Bill Koch, the most successful US cross country skier of my era, use to ride in the summer for training -- he would do 100-mile rides (this is in Vermont, so hilly) and he would remove the seat post/saddle from the bike!

                  In fact, when you are standing (i.e., out of the saddle) your motion is more similar to a running motion and hence standing some might be a thing to work at. When I was training for marathons I would often incorporate both supplemental rides (4 miles to and from the track/university in addition to the running). I also did long rides fairly hard because I never had running workouts that lasted for three hours but regularly rode for that long, which helped my body adapt to the long duration of a marathon without over-doing the legs too much. I was my general sense that the muscles were more susceptible to to injury when fatigued and riding would get me there both more often (i.e., sometimes running 19-23 miles and sometimes riding 50-65 miles) without as much injury.

                  After I had prolonged plantar fascia problems so that I could not run enough to improve at the marathon I took up bike racing for several years. I mainly did hilly races and hilly time trials. The running physique (which got even leaner riding) was an advantage on the climbs, as was the runners mindset of staying with a continued hard effort without the drafting of the pack.

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                  • #39
                    Re: Level of exertion, cycling vs. distance running?

                    Originally posted by 26mi235
                    Bill Koch, the most successful US cross country skier of my era, use to ride in the summer for training -- he would do 100-mile rides (this is in Vermont, so hilly) and he would remove the seat post/saddle from the bike!
                    Very interesting. Never thought of that, but it makes a lot of sense. I might even try it sometime soon.

                    I remember Koch very well, the first to use the skating style. I wonder how he came up with this not using a seat post.

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                    • #40
                      Re: Level of exertion, cycling vs. distance running?

                      Originally posted by Conor Dary
                      Originally posted by 26mi235
                      Bill Koch, the most successful US cross country skier of my era, use to ride in the summer for training -- he would do 100-mile rides (this is in Vermont, so hilly) and he would remove the seat post/saddle from the bike!
                      Very interesting. Never thought of that, but it makes a lot of sense. I might even try it sometime soon.

                      I remember Koch very well, the first to use the skating style. I wonder how he came up with this not using a seat post.
                      I understand the rationale for riding out of the saddle during training rides, but I don't see the point of removing the seat post unless he felt that he lacked the self-discipline to stay off the saddle if it was on the bike.

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                      • #41
                        Re: Level of exertion, cycling vs. distance running?

                        Originally posted by jazzcyclist
                        Originally posted by Conor Dary
                        Originally posted by 26mi235
                        Bill Koch, the most successful US cross country skier of my era, use to ride in the summer for training -- he would do 100-mile rides (this is in Vermont, so hilly) and he would remove the seat post/saddle from the bike!
                        Very interesting. Never thought of that, but it makes a lot of sense. I might even try it sometime soon.

                        I remember Koch very well, the first to use the skating style. I wonder how he came up with this not using a seat post.
                        I understand the rationale for riding out of the saddle during training rides, but I don't see the point of removing the seat post unless he felt that he lacked the self-discipline to stay off the saddle if it was on the bike.
                        Well, I agree taking the seat post out is a bit over the top. Especially if you slipped out of your pedals. Ouch!

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                        • #42
                          Re: Level of exertion, cycling vs. distance running?

                          Originally posted by jazzcyclist
                          Originally posted by Conor Dary
                          Originally posted by 26mi235
                          Bill Koch, the most successful US cross country skier of my era, use to ride in the summer for training -- he would do 100-mile rides (this is in Vermont, so hilly) and he would remove the seat post/saddle from the bike!
                          Very interesting. Never thought of that, but it makes a lot of sense. I might even try it sometime soon.

                          I remember Koch very well, the first to use the skating style. I wonder how he came up with this not using a seat post.
                          I understand the rationale for riding out of the saddle during training rides, but I don't see the point of removing the seat post unless he felt that he lacked the self-discipline to stay off the saddle if it was on the bike.
                          Without the seatpost you only have to think of it and decide once: when your are getting ready. If you have to seat there you have to consider your options many many times. Similar to the reason it was easier to go for a run with others as scheduled -- that way I did not have to decide when (and eventually if, on occasions that it slips too much).

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                          • #43
                            Re: Level of exertion, cycling vs. distance running?

                            Originally posted by 26mi235
                            Originally posted by jazzcyclist
                            I understand the rationale for riding out of the saddle during training rides, but I don't see the point of removing the seat post unless he felt that he lacked the self-discipline to stay off the saddle if it was on the bike.
                            Without the seatpost you only have to think of it and decide once: when your are getting ready. If you have to seat there you have to consider your options many many times. Similar to the reason it was easier to go for a run with others as scheduled -- that way I did not have to decide when (and eventually if, on occasions that it slips too much).
                            But whether we're talking about doing solo training runs as scheduled or riding with a saddle, doesn't it all come down to self-discipline? The only reason I can see for riding without a saddle would be if you didn't trust yourself to resist the urge to take a break when you're tired. In a way, you're building up physical AND mental strength when you ride with a saddle, but are able to ignore your legs when they're screaming for you to sit down.

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                            • #44
                              Re: Level of exertion, cycling vs. distance running?

                              You need to consider the difference between 1000 different decisions and one decision. It is not really the same self-disciple problem.

                              If you go out 50 miles and return (with that being the shortest good route) and compare that with going out on a 1-mile circuit, even with a highly motivated individual, which one would have a greater frequency of doing less than 100 miles. It simply is not the same problem.

                              Furthermore, the one approach simply removes the option from consideration so that you do not spend effort thinking about it, even if you are universally successful. There may be some training times that what you want is to build up the ability to be semi-perfect on that 50 out/back and the 1 around 100 times. However, it is not like the athlete is always going to be thinking about quitting during the race unless they continually train by the 'resist the temptation many-many times'.

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                              • #45
                                Re: Level of exertion, cycling vs. distance running?

                                If you are going to remove the seat, you definitely want to also remove the post. :shock:

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