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How Many Miles Biking is Equivalent to Running? – Answered

Written by Gary Johnson / Fact checked by Henry Speciale

how many miles biking is equivalent to running

If you want to try something different than running and start cycling for a change, you might ask at first, “How many miles biking is equivalent to running?”.

Well, that depends, but there is a generally accepted rule in the running world that states a runner who can run at least 1 mile is equal to 3 miles in cycling. A 1:3 ratio, as one might say.

However, the matter is actually a lot more complex. Continue reading if you want to know more about bike miles to running miles.


Running Distance vs. Cycling Distance

Is biking equivalent to running? Strictly speaking, the clear answer is NO.

If you think about it, running requires you to use more muscles than cycling. As a result, running will tire you out at a considerably faster rate and consume more calories.

Cyclists usually concentrate their energy on the leg muscle in order to pedal faster and with more power. On the other hand, a runner has to spread the energy all over the body, putting pressure not only on their muscles but the joints and feet as well.

Still can’t imagine the difference? Let us just say that with cycling, your whole body is supported by your bicycle with you sitting on top of your saddle.

However, with running, your entire body gravitates to the ground, pounding whenever your steps hit the ground. Imagine the energy you will need to carry your own weight for a distance.

Although the most common measure, the biking to running conversion ratio of 3:1 is not exactly set in stone though. Several factors can affect the cycling to running ratio, such as fitness level, weight, age, gender, and workout intensity.

Conversion Table: Running to Cycling Miles with Approximate Time Completion


Running Distance Cycling Distance Approx. Time
1 mile 3 miles 9 – 10 minutes
2 miles 6 miles 18 – 20 minutes
3 miles 9 miles 27 – 30 minutes
4 miles 12 miles 36 – 40 minutes
5 miles 15 miles 45 – 50 minutes
10 miles 30 miles 90 – 100 minutes
12 miles 36 miles 108 – 120 minutes
15 miles 45 miles 135 – 150 minutes
20 miles 60 miles 3 hours +
25 miles 75 miles 4 hours +

The table above only depicts the approximate time that is good for beginner runners with regular body conditions. Advanced runners, however, can run at least 95% faster than others with an approximate completion time of 4 to 5 minutes.

No need for a calculator when you are familiar with this simple rule of thumb because you can easily approximate what bike miles equal running miles.

Benefits of Replacing a Run With a Bike Workout


If you are thinking of changing from bike to run exercises, then you need to consider this decision carefully. Even though cycling and running are pretty similar, they also differ in certain ways, depending on how far you go with each activity.

Listed below are the key benefits that you can gain if you continuously work out through cycling.

1. Calorie Expenditure

While biking is a great option for getting in shape and burning calories, it’s still not as efficient as running. In addition, it can’t burn fat and build muscle as fast, either.

Indeed cycling burns fewer calories per hour than running does. Depending on the workout intensity and your body weight, the difference can range from 68 to 731 calories per hour.

With the disparity in amounts of calories burned, you can imagine that biking is easier on your body because it doesn’t stress out your joints as much as running does.

For example, when you do an hour of running, you can burn at most 566-839 calories. But when you cycle for an hour, you can burn at least 498-738 calories. You can get the same workout in just a little more time and with less effort!

2. Improved body fitness

Biking is also a great way to improve your cardiovascular health because it helps strengthen your heart and lungs with minimal effort in comparison to running. This can help reduce the risk of serious health issues like heart disease and stroke.

Cycling also strengthens your respiratory muscles and improves lung capacity, lowering blood pressure and stress levels. In addition, this lower-impact activity improves digestion by strengthening abdominal muscles as well as improving the gut microbiome.

3. Better For Building Muscle

Riding a bicycle is a great way to exercise the lower body’s major muscle groups located at your buttocks, thigh, calf. That said, even your core, arms, and shoulders can benefit from the activity.

While bicycling may not tire you out as quickly as running, it’s actually better at helping you build muscle. In other words, running can burn calories faster and tone you down quicker, but it’s cycling that is most efficient at bulking you up.

4. Alternative For Injured People

Did you know that some athletes do cycling as cross training for running? In addition, riding a bicycle is also a better alternative for a good workout if you’re recovering from an injury and need a break from running.

Cycling is an excellent form of low-impact exercise that can help you recover more quickly from intense training sessions such as running or weight lifting. Of course, keep in mind that even if cycling is not heavy on the body, you should NOT overdo any physical activity when injured.


What’s The Difference Between Run And Bike Training

One big difference between the two activities is that running is a whole-body activity that requires coordination and balance. Bikers worry less about such things and mostly focus on their pace and form.

It is also proven that competitive runners who train almost every day show exponential signs of muscle damage, soreness, and even high inflammation level than a trained competitive cyclist.

In addition, cycling doesn’t require the same amount of strength as running. Cycling is a low-impact cardio workout, whereas running is a higher-impact one and a great activity to get your heart rate up and burn more calories.

However, contradictory as it may sound, bicycling will be a better choice if your aim is to build up muscle.

What Is The Cycling Equivalent To Marathon?

The cycling equivalent of a marathon is around 100 miles of biking to a 26-mile marathon. So biking 10 miles should be 2.6 miles of a marathon.

Is 3 Miles On A Stationary Bike The Same As Walking 3 Miles?

Stationary bike miles are not the same as ‘walking miles’. Using a stationary bicycle will burn you considerably fewer calories in comparison to 1 mile walking or even to 1 mile running.

To be specific, given the same distance, walking will consume more than threefold the amount of calories burned on a stationary bike.


Some of us may have started with just 10,000 steps. However, with enough practice, the next thing you know is you’ll be competing out there running 5k with other athletes.

So what is the next big thing that you can try? Cycling!

So if you’re asking yourself, how many miles biking is equivalent to running? Now you know.

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