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  1. #26
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    1. running
    2. xc skiing
    3. swimming
    4. cycling
    (no nothing about rowing)

    Ranked for same reasons as above - can't coast in any by cycling. Swimming... yeah.

    I do love that a bunch of hardcore roadies have zero problem ranking these like this. Well done guys.

  2. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by bvber View Post
    Uh... oookay.
    You'vemade numerous posts on this thread but they all center around commenting on other people's ideas instead of actually addressing the topic. Is this because you have no ideas of your own but still want some attention?

  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by aclinjury View Post
    Rate the level of difficulty of the following endurance sports in order of most difficult to least: running, xc skiing, rowing, cycling, swimming

    1. running
    2. xc skiing
    3. swimming
    4. rowing
    5. cycling

    comments?
    I can't swim but otherwise that seems about right to me.

    Running is definitely the hardest IMO. It takes a certain effort to run and if you go below that effort you're walking.
    While rowing and xc skiing can be very tough.....you can bring the pace way down and still be doing it. No matter how slow I run I can't do it for hours, but could with the others (except swimming).

  4. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldZaskar View Post
    1. running
    2. xc skiing
    3. swimming
    4. cycling
    (no nothing about rowing)

    Ranked for same reasons as above - can't coast in any by cycling. Swimming... yeah.

    I do love that a bunch of hardcore roadies have zero problem ranking these like this. Well done guys.
    I'd put curling on top

  5. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry Irons View Post
    Underspecified question. By "hardest" do you mean most difficult to master? Or are you talking about physical exercise? If the latter, then the question makes no sense because you can work as hard or as easy as you want in any of these. Cycling and running engage the legs almost exclusively, so the other three work more muscles but they don't work the cardiovascular system any harder.

    Restate the question to address what your question really is.
    I intentionally didn't specified the criteria because I didn't know what exactly to pick as criteria. Instead, I wanted to see what people would say as their reasons for being "hardest". I mainly wanted to see how cyclists rate the difficulty of their sport using whatever they think the reasons may be.

  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Strongbow View Post
    I can't swim but otherwise that seems about right to me.

    Running is definitely the hardest IMO. It takes a certain effort to run and if you go below that effort you're walking.
    While rowing and xc skiing can be very tough.....you can bring the pace way down and still be doing it. No matter how slow I run I can't do it for hours, but could with the others (except swimming).
    One time, I put in a hard run close to 3 hours, afterward it hurt when urinating and my urine had a little blood in it, that incidence freaked me out like I've never had before! Protein break down is probably a lot greater during a marathon than during any Tour stage.

  7. #32
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    Meaningless. Running at 6:30 min/mile is really hard. Running at 12 min/mile is not so hard. Still, I'll play along.

    For me:
    1. Running. You may think you're fit, but running at pace is brutal truth. If you can run fast (say, 7 min/mile) for a long time (say, over 5 miles), you're in good shape.
    2. Swimming. People tend to underestimate the fitness it takes to be a good swimmer. I'm a former competitive swimmer. I can still hold a 1:20 interval for 10x100 yards at age 43. I'm acutely aware of the hell you must go through to be a good swimmer. I can appreciate the insanity of Eric Vendt doing 30x1000 at 10:00. Swimming also uniquely incorporates hypoxic breath control.
    3. Cycling. I've pushed myself to almost puking many times on a bike. I've felt that "chest caving in, about to faint" feeling many times. Still, it's not the "I'm going to die" feeling I've experienced in the middle of a half marathon. It's not the "I need to breath RIGHT NOW" drowning intensity of the final wall in a 200 backstroke long course. At least not for me.

    No idea on XC or rowing.

  8. #33
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    1) Running is the hardest by any measure I can think of for one reason - it's the faster version of something else (walking). All the rest can be done at a nice and easy pace for hours, assuming a reasonable level of fitness. Run for 3 hours and your body starts to destroy itself and as most marathoners find, it takes weeks or months of healing to get back to full training after a serious marathon effort.

    2) Swimming is super hard to maintain for hours but it's so easy on the joints that i typically use it to rehab running injuries.

    3) the rest.

  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by aclinjury View Post
    I intentionally didn't specified the criteria because I didn't know what exactly to pick as criteria. Instead, I wanted to see what people would say as their reasons for being "hardest". I mainly wanted to see how cyclists rate the difficulty of their sport using whatever they think the reasons may be.
    I think you can see by the divergence in response that you have done a real world demonstration of the GIGO principle. Underspecify the question and you don't get useful answers.

  10. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Strongbow View Post
    Running is definitely the hardest IMO. It takes a certain effort to run and if you go below that effort you're walking.
    While rowing and xc skiing can be very tough.....you can bring the pace way down and still be doing it.
    Quote Originally Posted by RobotGuy View Post
    1) Running is the hardest by any measure I can think of for one reason - it's the faster version of something else (walking). All the rest can be done at a nice and easy pace for hours, assuming a reasonable level of fitness. Run for 3 hours and your body starts to destroy itself and as most marathoners find, it takes weeks or months of healing to get back to full training after a serious marathon effort.
    I agree, running is the hardest. All the others involve the ability to give a power stroke, then glide, while still moving forward at at about the same pace, carried by momentum. With running, your pace goes to about 1/2 instantly when you walk, and there is no ability to rest on a downhill run, like cycling or X-C skiing.

    You could then rank them on whether they involve elevation changes, which can greatly elevate heart rates and tax/strain muscles. This would put the order then
    1) Running
    2) X-C skiing, biking
    3) rowing, swimming

  11. #36
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    Everything is relative. Swimming is hard as hell if you are trying to escape from Alcatraz, swimming in open water over a long distance, and no way to rest. But doing cannonballs in a swimming pool then leisurely swimming back to the edge is easy.

    Cycling is hard if you are going for a PR on a 1 hour cilmb, but it's easy if you are just soft pedaling on flats.

    The hardest physically on your body by far is running, that hurts everything, and by definition, requires a certain energy expenditure that is more difficult to sustain relative to the other options listed. Because taking it easy when you are running is called walking.

    So, probably running first, then maybe swimming, if we are talking open water swimming, then the rest are equal, depending on how easy or hard you make it.

  12. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by aruyt View Post
    So, probably running first, then maybe swimming, if we are talking open water swimming, then the rest are equal, depending on how easy or hard you make it.
    Those two involve no mechanical equipment unlike the rest so there is something inherent about them.

  13. #38
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    Of course you can make any of them just as "hard" by pushing the pace. My experience is mainly with running, cycling, and X-C skiing. Comments about not being able to get your heart rate up when doing one activity are just an indication that you're not going "hard enough".

    One other thing to point out is that X-C skiing and swimming are activities where learning and improving technique can make a significant difference in how "hard" the activity is, relatively speaking. Beginners to X-C skiing's skate technique in particular often comment that it is very hard to maintain the effort to move forward on varying terrain, because their under-developed technique causes them to waste a lot of energy in getting a good push. Although I'm no swimming expert, I've certainly heard that it is not natural to have good technique, and learning better technique has significant gains.

    Sure, there is some technique to rowing, cycling, and running too. But, it is much less pronounced in making gains in efficiency, i.e. even newbies can jump into the activity and perform to the potential of their raw physical abilities.

  14. #39
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    I guess it's also how you interpret the question.

    Running is by far the easiest to do for most people.

    1. running--Go out your front door...run. Shoes aren't even required.
    2. xc skiing--Need equipment and snow or a proper XC ski machine.
    3. swimming--Need a body of water.
    4. rowing--Need a body of water and boat or a proper rowing machine.
    5. cycling--Need a bike or proper stationary bike.

    Since so few people have experience with crew (rowing or sculling), how are those of you able to rate it's difficulty? It's not the same kind of rowing as you may have done in a rowboat on a park pond or lake. I would expect quite a few don't have experiencing XC skiing either.
    Last edited by Rogus; 03-21-2017 at 11:21 AM.

  15. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rogus View Post
    I guess it's also how you interpret the question.

    Running is by far the easiest to do for most people.

    1. running--Go out your front door...run. Shoes aren't even required.
    2. xc skiing--Need equipment and snow or a proper XC ski machine.
    3. swimming--Need a body of water.
    4. rowing--Need a body of water and boat or a proper rowing machine.
    5. cycling--Need a bike or proper stationary bike.

    Since so few people have experience with crew (rowing or sculling), how are those of you able to rate it's difficulty? It's not the same kind of rowing as you may have done in a rowboat on a park pond or lake. I would expect quite a few don't have experiencing XC skiing either.

    See, I think this is a problem with how the OP was worded. Yes, put on shoes, move your legs, and presto, you are running! But I doubt that was the intent of the OP, more about which is the most physically demanding. Even that is hard to clarify, because as stated multiple times, you can make any of these sports difficult or easy by how hard you push yourself. So really, even though I haven't formally been on a rowing crew, it is clearly possible to row easy, or row hard. Now...how hard is "hard rowing" vs "hard cycling" or "hard swimming", that's up for debate, but only running (in general) requires a certain output just to maintain the event.

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