Lance's running ability vs his cycling

Jun 16, 2009
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Lance ran a few marathons in a shade under 3 hrs.

This is actually "good club runner" time, and not world class, or even "elite".

Yet when he rides a bike he is consistently not so much world class as near alien.

Last year I was a packfiller elite amateur, and recently switched to running. I am already running 1/2 marathons as fast as Lance could, yet the wattage numbers he can hold for an hour at a time I could only hold for a few minutes.

I know there are physioligal differences between running and cycling, but I think that someone who can hold 475watts for an hour after 4 hours of riding should really have the engine to run a much better marathon than 2h50.

Lesser cyclists than him have also run faster marathons, and let's not forget that Lance trained really hard for the marathon and even hired pacemakers on the day.

Maybe he trained hard, but didn't prepare in the same way that he does for the tour?

It doesn't make sense for me.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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Mongol_Waaijer said:
Lance ran a few marathons in a shade under 3 hrs.

This is actually "good club runner" time, and not world class, or even "elite".

Yet when he rides a bike he is consistently not so much world class as near alien.

Last year I was a packfiller elite amateur, and recently switched to running. I am already running 1/2 marathons as fast as Lance could, yet the wattage numbers he can hold for an hour at a time I could only hold for a few minutes.

I know there are physioligal differences between running and cycling, but I think that someone who can hold 475watts for an hour after 4 hours of riding should really have the engine to run a much better marathon than 2h50.

Lesser cyclists than him have also run faster marathons, and let's not forget that Lance trained really hard for the marathon and even hired pacemakers on the day.

Maybe he trained hard, but didn't prepare in the same way that he does for the tour?

It doesn't make sense for me.
the size of his frame obviously hurts him. Someone like Andy Schleck, Kreuziger, and Rasmussen, would be better suited. 5'10" and 75 kg not doing 1200km per week, obviously disadvantages him. Those other riders, arguably would be thinner as runners, than they are as cyclists.

But this is right. If the guy is world class, it should transfer. How many NBA players, and NFL players, could be in the Olympics in T&F.

The elite physiology should translate to running at a higher plane that he achieved. No way he can ever run with 57 kg Kenyans and Ethiopians.
 
Jun 16, 2009
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blackcat said:
the size of his frame obviously hurts him. QUOTE]

Abraham Olano is heavier than Lance, bulkier, older and was a much lesser cyclist, and runs the marathon faster.

Would it be convincing if Olano made a surprise return to cycling and after 6 months and 3 races was 2nd on GC after a week of the Tour?
 
Jul 8, 2009
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I agree that you'd think Lance should be able to do better at running, but I do know from personal experience that the two sports are completely different. My main sport is swimming, and I have a friend who is similarly good at distance freestyle to me. However I can absolutely slaughter him at cycling, and the same is also true for rowing, and doing leg presses in the gym where I can push almost twice as much weight as him. But when we get on a treadmill the roles are reversed, and he can effortlessly run at a speed that has me ready to collapse in a heap on the floor. His legs are like twigs compared to mine, which I think gives him a much greater economy when running.

Worth mentioning as well that when Chris Boardman ran a marathon, it took him longer than Lance, at 3hrs 19min 27sec.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Mongol_Waaijer said:
Lance ran a few marathons in a shade under 3 hrs.

This is actually "good club runner" time, and not world class, or even "elite".

Yet when he rides a bike he is consistently not so much world class as near alien.

Last year I was a packfiller elite amateur, and recently switched to running. I am already running 1/2 marathons as fast as Lance could, yet the wattage numbers he can hold for an hour at a time I could only hold for a few minutes.

I know there are physioligal differences between running and cycling, but I think that someone who can hold 475watts for an hour after 4 hours of riding should really have the engine to run a much better marathon than 2h50.

Lesser cyclists than him have also run faster marathons, and let's not forget that Lance trained really hard for the marathon and even hired pacemakers on the day.

Maybe he trained hard, but didn't prepare in the same way that he does for the tour?

It doesn't make sense for me.
Read "Lore of Running" by Tim Noakes. He talks about physiology, physique and run times quite well.
 
Mar 17, 2009
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TarmacExpert said:
His legs are like twigs compared to mine, which I think gives him a much greater economy when running.
.
Yep, elite distance runners make even Contador appear stocky.

Look at the difference between Armstrong running and Haile Gebrselassie for instance or other elite marathon runners. The build difference is immediately obvious, Lance weighed FAR more than they do when running and the difference this makes is huge - Armstrong is just not physically suited to running and not even a very large oxygen uptake will ever make up for this.

Also how many think that Armstrong gave the marathons as much dedication as he did for cycling? Not me anyway.

I hate to bring this up but there is also the doping issue. Lance was probably not on EPO like all the top marathon runners.
 
DJ Sprtsch said:
He he, anyway, cyclingnews had the story, Jalabert ran in 2.55
Might want to do some more digging. Jaja has run several marathons, and then moved into triathlons. He put up a fairly respectable time at the Ironman Hawaii last year, and in the Nice Ironman finished something like 12th, passing up over 700 people on the bike, and running the marathon in something like 3:15. The guy is a flat out stud.

Remember, Jaja never tested positive. And he was in all probability tested much more than Lance during his career. :)



As to Lance and size, that doesn't mean anything when you think of Olano running something like a 2:38 marathon. Abraham has also been in a few triathlons, and isn't exactly built like the Chicken (and he never tested positive either!) ;)

Melcior Mauri runs marathons, ultra cycling events, mountain bike races, etc. with some impressive times, and he's not built like a twig either.

Anyone who thinks top marathoners (who don't test positive either!) running under 2:10 or so are running on bread and water need to start looking for that oceanfront property in Arizona.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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No doubt Lance was too heavy to run his best time, and he admittedly had been running recreationally 30 minutes a day, which is not quite enought to strengthen up his ligaments and joints for a full 26.2 miles... The top runners at Lances height all weigh 135-145 pounds...And they run 100-150 miles a week much of it on grass or dirt to avoid the excess pounding. I doubt Lance was doing more than 50 miles and it was all for fun.

Weighing Lances 170 pounds not only slows you down, but it adds harder pounding on those already weaker joints from not running enough. Even if he got down to his 160 pounds TDF weight thats too much to be a top runner...But he could certainly do a good marathon, likely under 2:35 or so.

But I also agree he was not doped on anything and was likely jogging for fitness and enjoyment over competition.

After he started cycling again he was doped on epo right away for Leadville or he blood doped, either way he probably had 30 units of frozen packed red cells or more stored away for his comback.
 
Jul 8, 2009
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When Lance was a tri-geek I am sure he was turning out sub 35min 10k's. Granted it's not a marathon, but what was he, like 15 years old?
 
Jul 8, 2009
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Just to follow-up on some observations from the perspective of someone who is better at running than cycling.

1.The weight probably is a big issue. The extra 25-30 pounds would be worth about 30-40 seconds a mile by the standard estimate of 1-2secs per mile per pound of body weight. Even if he could theoretically lose that weight (obviously he couldn't), that only gets him down to maybe 2:30 at best.

2.He trained reasonably hard for the marathon. Just like I trained reasonably hard and focused 150 miles a week to ride my best 20K TT (and I'm not much better a TT rider than Lance is a marathoner, maybe even worse). But Lance's 50-70mpw is no closer to what the elite marathoners do than my training was to what elite cyclists do. Not only do they do double the mileage, but a lot of the Africans run within 20 secs per mile of marathon pace during portions of almost every single run. I know from experience that the few times I've gotten over 55mpw without getting hurt, I get a lot faster. So the difference in training is probably worth another 10-15 minutes.

So that would put him at 2:15-2:20. The rest of the difference can probably be explained by a combination of not having a decade or two of running experience and physiological adaptation and just the fact that he doesn't have the same aptitude for running. The running efficiency that comes from all that training can't be overlooked. And basically, the two are just different. It's more than just watts or even power/weight ratio.
 
Jun 21, 2009
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eurotrash said:
When Lance was a tri-geek I am sure he was turning out sub 35min 10k's. Granted it's not a marathon, but what was he, like 15 years old?
sub 35 is really not that impressive

obviously that's good for a 15-16-y-o but that would be the very least you'd expect from someone who went on to become a world beater in an endurance sport
 
May 12, 2009
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Running is just a different deal. Much harder on the body. Lance admitted having shin-splint issues. The two just aren't straight across comparable.
And while he did do well in short tri's as a teen, that doesn't necessarily translate to how on will do in running marathons at 35.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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My primary sport has always been cycling, but I have done a bunch of ultra distance trail running events. Running sucks to put it bluntly. Form is very important. It is amazing to run with good runners over technical terrrain with rocks, roots, and loose material. The good runners almost glide over everything, often their foot strikes make almost no sound. I, on the other hand, can be heard a mile away as I plow my way through the hard stuff. Top runners look like they are running effortlessly, even at sub five minute paces.

The Kenyans often have lower legs that are about the diameter of my forearm. Some of them look pretty freaky, so I don't think you can expect anyone who does not have a body perfectly suited to running anything close to a world class time.

Armstrong probably was not manipulating his blood during his marathons like he did for cycling. He may be using steroids for cosmetic reasons like a bunch of his Hollywood buddies do.
 
May 6, 2009
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Alpe d'Huez said:
Might want to do some more digging. Jaja has run several marathons, and then moved into triathlons. He put up a fairly respectable time at the Ironman Hawaii last year, and in the Nice Ironman finished something like 12th, passing up over 700 people on the bike, and running the marathon in something like 3:15. The guy is a flat out stud.

Remember, Jaja never tested positive. And he was in all probability tested much more than Lance during his career. :)



As to Lance and size, that doesn't mean anything when you think of Olano running something like a 2:38 marathon. Abraham has also been in a few triathlons, and isn't exactly built like the Chicken (and he never tested positive either!) ;)

Melcior Mauri runs marathons, ultra cycling events, mountain bike races, etc. with some impressive times, and he's not built like a twig either.

Anyone who thinks top marathoners (who don't test positive either!) running under 2:10 or so are running on bread and water need to start looking for that oceanfront property in Arizona.
I would be concerned if Jaja couldn't kick people's **** on the bike when it comes to the bike leg of triathlons.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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craig1985 said:
I would be concerned if Jaja couldn't kick people's **** on the bike when it comes to the bike leg of triathlons.
Jaja came out of the water and passed more than a thousand people at Kona. That must have been a wild ride as he chased down rider after rider.
 
Jul 6, 2009
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different disciplines different muscle type ratios different everything i know very good runners who get dropped on fast group rides.
 

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