Training & Nutrition - Base miles question
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01-19-06, 09:03 PM
Thanks for reading this. I'm trying to put together a training plan for 2006. My main goal is to ride a century, but I would like to try a race in 2007. My question is about putting in 500 miles of low HR riding at the beginning of the season before increasing training intensity.
I commute to work each day, including right now in the winter. My winter route is a 1/2 hour each way on snow/ice riding a MTB with studded tires. Its very difficult to keep my HR low. It usually averages over 150 bpm (my max is around 181). And my legs are tired by this point in the week (Thursday).
I just started riding a road bike last fall. I put on only 500 kms on it so far and its my first road bike. I've been commuting with my MTB for 2 years year-round (approx 4,000 kms per year).
My question is: when April comes and the snow melts, should I do the 500 base miles on my new road bike before trying any intervals or such? Or do I already have some kind of "fitness level" because of my commuting and doing the long, slow rides would not improve my fitness?
P.S. If you're really interested in my plight...since I'm over forty I would like to be lifting weights, too. To be honest, I find it very difficult right now - the winter commute is quite tiring for my leg muscles. I do not drive a car and don't really like the bus. Thanks again.
01-19-06, 09:44 PM
You're doing well, especially considering what you're putting up with just to ride your bike. Is XC skiing an option?
If your legs are tired from the cycling then don't worry about weights for your legs. For your stated goal, cycling is a more important priority and the bike training is more specific than weights. Maybe do some upper body and core. Consider Pilates for that. If you find you can do all of your rides and still have some energy left over then you might consider doing some leg presses and calf raises.
Contrary to what many people say, "base miles" are an overused method and not particularly useful for someone like yourself that is only able to ride about 5 hours per week. Most of the training adaptations that take place during low intensity riding actually take place at a more rapid rate at slightly higher intensities. IOW, slightly harder than easy can cause more of the training benefits you're seeking than riding easy. The trick is to not ride so hard that you can't be on your bike 5 days a week.
The more detailed answer, or reason for "base miles" is that a person can do more total time on the bike if they're doing say, 12+ hours a week of riding and doing lots of that time at "base miles" intensity this time of year, and this may produce best results in the long run, but if you're only riding 5-7 hours per week then almost all of the benefits you could get with base miles can be covered with slightly higher intensity. IOW, 5 hours at "Medium Endurance" pace is better than 7 hours of "Slow Endurance" pace.
Don't worry about your HR now, just go about as easy as feels normal, and that you can handle for the 4-5 days per week of riding. Eventually you'll get fitter and your HR will be lower during times you want it to be.
When it gets warmer you can add some longer rides at slow endurance pace on the weekends. By March you might be doing 1.5 hour rides on Saturday with some "Tempo" intervals and then 3 hours at slow endurance pace on Sunday. You might also be doing some "Tempo" training during some of your commute rides.
Check back every month or so. Good luck!
01-20-06, 06:04 AM
Thanks for the reply. Once I put semi-slicks on the MTB and there's pavement I usually take longer routes in on my commute. Right now, its just tough pedalling (for me) and I worried that I was over-taxing myself. Glad to hear that the higher effort isn't the end of the world.
01-20-06, 07:03 AM
Take it easy while riding up those Saskatchewan mountains - you don't want your HR to get too high :D
01-20-06, 07:51 AM
I enjoyed reading your post. Very inspiring.
My thoughts are with strength training. If you have a day off from cycling/work each week perhaps you could add strength training the day before your day off (after your commute), then your muscles would have a chance to build and strengthen on your day off. Squats, lunges, core strength exercises, and strengthening upper body muscles can't hurt with the cycling. You could try high reps and lower weights to begin (and add things that use your body's weight such as plank and push-ups). Several triathletes I know started winning races (vs. completing them) when they added strength training to their schedules. Eventually the muscles might give you extra energy during your rides (legs won't get as tired, etc.)
01-20-06, 09:39 AM
Thanks. I wondered about strength training the day of a commute or if I had to not commute each day I went to the gym. So, that's good to know.
Thankfully, hills aren't part of my commute (ha ha). Unfortunately, 20 to 40 km/hr winds are which makes it diffficult for me (in the winter with studded tires anyway).
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