These questions are from a comment I got on my Calories Burned in Running vs Cycling post.
Question: Can you burn as many calories biking as running?
Answer: For shorter distances you might be able to burn more calories running than biking but as soon as you get past 10 to 15 miles you can burn more biking. My top speed running for 5km is 30:00 for a burn of 330 calories. In the same 30 minutes I can bike 14.88km for a burn of about 327.
It takes me 1:10:00 to run 10km for a burn of 660 calories (66 calories per kilometer) where in 1:10:00 I can bike 58km for a burn of 1,102 (19 calories per kilometer at 25kmph according to Dr. Coyle’s study). After 10km my time dropped drastically but I can keep a 25kmph rate up for quite a long distance.
Here are the numbers Dr. Coyle’s tests came up with for the calories you burn biking at difference speeds.
mph | calories/mile
Here they are in metric.
km/h | calories/km
So for me I can clearly burn more calories biking than running in any workout over 1 hour.
Lets compare professional runners and bikers.
On June 8, 2008 Matti Breschel of Team CSC won the Philadelphia International Championship with a winning time of 6:14:47 which is an average speed of 24.96mph. According to Dr. Edward Coyle’s numbers that would be a calorie burn of 7,332 for the race and 1,173 calories per hour.
When we compare that to running you will see that running burns more calories for shorter times but as you move into longer runs biking will burn more calories. The typical calorie burn number is 110 calories per mile or 66 calories per kilometer no matter what speed you go.
Deriba Merga the 2009 Boston Marathon winner had a time of of 2:08:42 for 26.22 miles (42.195 km). He burned 2,884 calories for the race or 1,341 calories per hour.
Mike Adams’ best for the JFK 50 Mile Run is 6:42:34. This is 5,500 calories for the race or 818 calories per hour.
The record for the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run is 15:36:37 by Scott Jurek. That is 11,000 calories for the race or 704 calories per hour.
Question: Wouldn’t 30 minutes of running equal 45 minutes of biking?
Answer: Not for me. It would depend on the speeds you are run and bike at.
Question: Isn’t running the best way to burn calories in the least amount of time?
Answer: Perhaps for the short distance yes but for longer distances clearly no.
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