Just wondering, what would a running equivalent be to the tour de France in terms of effort ? Would it be a marathon a day ?
More than that I think ... comparably elite Ultra-runners would be running their marathons in under 3 hours, but the cyclists are often 5 hours on the road. This year's tour has 8 flat stages, 11 hill or mountain stages, and 2 time trials. So maybe 8x 35-40 miles flat, 11x 15-30 miles hilly or mountainous, and 2x 10km flat.
2 rest days of course
Surely that would take more energy than the amount the boys are using on the tour ?
Historically multi-day running races have been based on running as far as possible each day, rather than a fixed distance as fast as possible (e.g. Spine race, Sydney-Melbourne Ultra).
I think if you were going for 3 weeks then it would be around a marathon per day, though people are capable of going further than that for many days*. Consider that casual Sunday cyclists often cycle for many hours, while very few runners go for more than a couple.
I would consider a 100 mile cycle race to be the equivalent to a marathon, and this year's Tour de France stages are on average a little over 100 miles. Of course they also include pretty serious amounts of climb so you would have to include that.
I wonder if the tactics would be similar?
> Surely that would take more energy than the amount the boys are using on the tour ?
Yes, you're right. And the wear and tear on tendons and muscles would be far more for the runners.
A study showed average energy expenditure per day for tour de France riders was 25.4MJ.
Another article indicates the energy cost of running is 0.9kcal/kg/km for fast elite marathon runners, I assume flat km. So Mo Farah weights around 58kg, round up to 60kg so he would spend 54kcal per km. 25.5MJ = 6,066kcal. This would equate to about 112km or 70 miles.
So to get the same EE would mean running 70 miles per day.
I tend to use 2.5 times as a rule of thumb for comparing running to cycling. By that I mean that for the same effort, you can travel 2.5 times as fast, for 2.5 times as long.
That puts cycling 100 miles in the same category as running 16 miles, whilst the energy expenditure from the cycling will be greater, it is easier to replace that energy.
I don’t race my bike, but do race on foot, so I understand the difference between racing and just completing the distance.
> Just wondering, what would a running equivalent be to the tour de France in terms of effort ? Would it be a marathon a day ?
Isn't there/wasn't there someone who is actually running/actually ran the TdF route?
Yes, that sounds about right. When I trained for long-distance triathlon, the longest runs (around 30k) felt as hard and took as much out of me as the longest rides (around 180k).
Very hard to compare. Running has much higher impacts, so the challenge in multi-day running is much more focused on not getting injured, whereas cycling is probably more about energy expenditure.
Another factor to consider is ease of taking in food, i.e. replacing the energy. That's easier on the bike.