Bike v running training

If I normally train at N bpm during a run and start doing some training on a bike, should I expect to get an equivalent session at the same HR? And would you normally experience the same perceived effort? I've read in a few places that there is supposed to be some differential of 10-15bpm (lower on the bike) which doesn't make any sense to me at all. I would say I feel very comfortable (too comfortable!) at the same HR on a bike as compared with on the run.

Surely as far as internal (cardiovascular) processes go, a hr is an hr? irrespective of my external efficiency at the different sports.


  • No 'cos you use more muscle groups and therefore need more oxygenated blood when running.

    If I go by perceived effort - the cycling is harder to get up to the running heartrate.
  • my max HR for the bike is 5 lower than running. So I adjust my zones accordingly.

    If you're fitter on the bike then it will feel easier.
  • Cougie - which do you consider you are better at?

    I understand your argument about the muscle groups and I know that a fair bit of oxygen has been shown to be consumed by both the arms and torso when you run, but on the other hand if that isn't needed during the bike then your heart can concentrate on pumping mostly to the legs, provided you've capilliarised the leg muscles sufficiently, so shouldn't the figures even out?

    sorry if I'm being dense.
  • At the moment - I'm probably equally bad at both !

    It's a tricky subject, so you're not being dense at all. As you say - it would also depend on how well trained you were at both. Your HR may not be a limiting factor if say you had weak cycling legs ?

    Maybe a race situation would give a better reading. So do a 10krun vs say a 25mile TT on the bike ?
  • >>At the moment - I'm probably equally bad at both !

    I thought you were a good cyclist Cougie?

    {cheap shot}
  • So did I !

    (alas - those days are gone....)
  • I once dabbled in timetrialling as there was a bloke at work who did a lot of it. We went head to head on a very windy 25miler when everyone was several minutes down on usual times and he beat me 63min to 67min (he went under the hour a couple of weeks later on a better day); but we had previously raced on the roads and I had beaten him by a bigger comparative margin (can't remember the actual numbers now). I was around 55-56 min for 10 miles running in those days, though not necessarily at the exact time I did the TT. I concluded I should give up on the bike racing! Didn't have an hrm back then though. Or power sensors for bikes etc.
  • clarification - when I said "we had previously raced on the roads and I had beaten him by a bigger comparative margin"

    I meant a running race.
  • my max HR is 10 beats lower on the bike but it feels a damn site harder. I also seem to get great fluctuations on the bike. Once my HR rate is high in a running race, it never comes back down by more than 5 beats
  • FFM - interesting. My hr-max at running is just about 180. I haven't really tested it on a bike but yesterday did a very long hard climb out of the saddle and reached 170 which is the highest I've seen it (on a bike). Must try and test it properly though not sure what else I could do that would be harder than that hill ...
  • You could get off the bike an carry it up the hill. That would probably be harder.

    Your max heart rate is your max heart rate wether you are running, cycling, swimming or picking your nose, it is by definition your MAX heart rate and can therefor only have one value.

    I do tend to have my HR sitting around 15-20 bpm lower on the bike when I'm out and about.
  • I see what you're saying Ava and you are right, but I also think it is linked to the activity.

    So a walking MHR wouldn't be as high as a running one ?

    And a scooting MHR wouldn't be as high as a bike one ?

    So when we talk about MHR we usually mean for a given activity. I think.
  • So you wouldn't class it like this?

    Walking 50% of MHR
    Brisk Walk 60% of MHR
    Easy Cycle 60% of MHR
    Easy Run 70% of MHR
    Hard cycle 70-80% of MHR
    Hard Run upto 85% of MHR, etc etc.

    Thats kind of how I think of it when I'm trying to work out what I'm doing.

    Also you might find it easire to get a higher HR on the flat on the bike as higher cadence rather than gear crushing on a hill at very low cadence. I find my HR rarely climbs that much on a hill but can do so if I do sprints on the flat with short recoveries.
  • I think it would be hard to do a 'normal' walk to maxHR, maybe you can if you walk up a long steep hill or carry a backpack. Unless you are a racewalker. I know the standard hospital stresstest keep you mostly walking but ramp up the incline to up to 20%.
  • Oh yeah - thats right Ava. As you were then.
  • Ava - depends on how you're doing it mate.

    I work with different MHR for bike, swim and run...

    Well what I mean to say I use these virtual values to work out my ranges.

    Well what I mean to say is that i've worked them out and don't bother putting on my HRM.
  • So you don't just work to a different % of your max HR for each thing then, not that I'm being overly pedantic and clearly have too much time on my hands:)
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