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Century or Marathon


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For those that have done both, what did you find harder?

 

This is my first year on a road bike, and I have done three centuries.  The Mt Washington was the hardest of the three due to some steep climbs, but I finished all of them.

 

I suspect if I were to start running I would not be able to complete three marathons my first year running.

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I haven't done a marathon and I am not going to.  They would be much harder to do than a century.  My hardest century had extreme heat, pavement on one road was melting and sticking to the wheels.  They sent an ambulance with cold bottled water to check up on us.

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I've always said I'd rather bike 100 miles than run 26.  Ugh.

 

I have tried to be a runner, but I always end up hating it. So, I bike.

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I haven't done a full marathon but I have about 15 halves. I hurt much more after a half marathon than a century ride. Part of that might be due to arthritis in an ankle, hip and knee. Also I walk the halves which take about 3 - 3.5 hours. Still shorter than a century ride. I do the half marathons as that's my wife's sport and it's a fun activity together.

 

I find that the half marathons / marathons are more fun in some respects as there are so many people. If you like to people watch and talk, it's pretty easy especially at the more sedate pace that I do.

 

Most rides don't have a quarter the number of people. And those that do, like the Hotter 'n Hell 100 or RAGBRAI, are somewhat more dangerous.

 

Still I'm a cyclist at heart and enjoy seeing 100 miles of scenery, even if it goes by quickly, than 13.1 miles of stuff.

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Since an Ironman triathlon has a 112 mile bike and a marathon run, conventional wisdom would assume the effort would be about equal.  Most, if not all, cyclists I know dont like running, and would never care to run a marathon (or even a half).  Runners I know wonder how a cyclist can stay in the saddle for 100 miles.

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I used to be a runner who did some cycling mostly when I was injured from running. I have run eight marathons including Boston, which you have to qualify for by running under a specific time based on your age. Marathons always left me trashed for at least two weeks.

These days I'm a cyclist and don't run anymore. The biggest difference between running and cycling to me is that a hard ride will leave you feeling drained but not damaged. Unless you're blessed with great biomechanics running (not jogging but running) really does a number on your joints and connective tissue. What was I thinking? :unsure:

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There's just nothing appealing about doing a marathon. It's boring, you're only going 26 miles, you can't enjoy the scenery at all and stopping and restarting is even harder than it is via bike. Plus 26 miles more or less puts you at your extreme limit whereas a 'good run' can be usually less than 3 miles, if that. I got into shape pretty damn quickly just running about 2 miles a day. 5 miles would be pushing it.

 

Biking has that element of 'driving' that you get like being able to descend a twisty turny road, or hitting a hard climb and just grinding it out or nuking it in the big ring. Running is just...running. Boooring.

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I definitely will not run a marathon and after this hip replacement last month I know I will NEVER run a marathon. Cycling is a non impact sport on your joints and I like my cartilage too much to trash it running 26 miles. IMHO.

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There's just nothing appealing about doing a marathon. It's boring, you're only going 26 miles, you can't enjoy the scenery at all and stopping and restarting is even harder than it is via bike. Plus 26 miles more or less puts you at your extreme limit whereas a 'good run' can be usually less than 3 miles, if that. I got into shape pretty damn quickly just running about 2 miles a day. 5 miles would be pushing it.

 

Biking has that element of 'driving' that you get like being able to descend a twisty turny road, or hitting a hard climb and just grinding it out or nuking it in the big ring. Running is just...running. Boooring.

 

The above statement definitely falls into the one man's opinion category. I never found running boring as long as I was training towards something. True it doesn't have the thrill of a screaming descent or the neat gear of cycling but that's part of it's allure...simplicity. All you need is running shoes and a road/trail. It also takes a lot less time to get in a solid run than a ride.

 

As far as enjoying the scenery I couldn't disagree more. When I ran the St George Marathon in Utah the race started just before dawn. At the staging area the they had bonfires going for the runners to keep warm, very primal. Anyway I will never forget the sunrise over the mountains as I hit the five mile mark.

 

Whenever I was on a trip that's how I would get a feel for the place, go for a run through it. You see a lot more up close and personal than sitting in a car or a bus. Don't get me wrong I love cycling but there is a lot to be said for running. Sorry I just don't think it's evil. Is this going to get me banned? :unsure:

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  • 2 weeks later...

I find cycling easier than running.  Much of the reason IMO is due to the low impact.  I can hurt myself with a two mile run if I want, comes down to not being an idiot.  Sometimes that's difficult for me, b/c it's fun to go fast and I don't really run in the summer so need to start back slowly.  Anyhow, I enjoy running alot but if you asked me to go run a half marathon right now I would decline b/c my legs are not prepared.  If asked to ride a century tomorrow I could do that, even though I am not wholly prepared for that either.

 

Riding with a buddy once, he said to me, "notice how you never see people jogging and smiling?  That's why I ride bikes."

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  • 4 weeks later...

I rode several Century rides, and ran several half-marathons. I felt about the same after each of these events (i.e., same amount of pain and fatigue). Recovery for each was about the same. I would say that for me, century ride equals approximately the same as a half-marathon.

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First off, a Half Marathon is definitely not half of a marathon. Anyone who has run a marathon knows what I mean. I ran 2 marathons this year and six half marathons, not including training runs where my long run went over 13 miles. If you include those then I've run over 2 dozen half marathons this year. I've also ridden numerous long rides and tackled some triathlons.

 

I think a marathon is harder. Partially because I don't enjoy running as much, but physically it's more abusive. 

 

I can run a half marathon and be recovered the next day. A marathon will destroy me for a few days. Pretty much north of 16-18 miles and the following day is not fun. 

 

I can ride a century and then do another the next day, with far less training.

 

The goal is an ironman in 2015. 

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There are no absolutes, but generally I have found a full mary to be harder than just about any century. 

"cause your sitting down.. everything seems better when your not putting too much energy towards it :)

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  • 5 months later...

The real answer would be doing a marathon immediatley AFTER riding your century. 

You forgot warming up with a little swim.

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I am stronger, and faster, on the bike this year than I have been since in my 40's, and I have been consistently 15 - 30 seconds slower per mile for my morning 5k run workouts. I am a cyclist, not a runner.  I dont know that I would ever run a marathon (of course I said before I could not see myself ever riding a double century either)

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