Training & Nutrition - Does conditioning really fall off this fast?
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This is my first year cycling semi seriously. Living in Canada,training opportunities are diminishing quickly now. I am disappointed at how quickly average speed has fallen off with fewer miles riding (take a look at the attached plot). Is this a direct result of less training or just a coincidence?
First, your fitness gauge should be one time trial done once a month.
At your peak you only rode 28 hours a month, or about an hour a day. That's good, but not a whole lot. Top endurance athletes average 30+ hours a week in order to ride their best for two months out of a whole year.
You should study up on perioditization and how it can affect when your perform your best.
www.machka.net for one canadian cyclist's approach to endurance training (not speed training though).
unfortunately you can lose any cycling gains very quickly (think days not weeks) which is why the pro's tend to ride 6hrs a day. but even the pro's aren't on full form when the racing reason starts, but it tends to come back pretty quickly. For a semi serious rider like you (i'm assuming more for fitness than for racing).....6-8hrs a week isn't a bad number to aim for.
Also living in canada i know what you mean about not being able to train as often as one would like. You may want to invest in a trainer or start taking some spinning classes......its a bit harder to pile on those base miles but its better than nothing. Nice thing about a trainer is you can use it whenever you want which makes getting an hour in here or there much easier. but come spring you'll probably want to start piling on the base miles and then build up strength.
12-11-06, 06:04 PM
Hard to say. But a training log can't measure all the attributes of your efforts. The road conditions, the weather play a big part.
I use a trainer to "test" my fitness for short periods of effort. For something like a Century, you just have to go ride one......
12-16-06, 12:50 PM
During the summer I ride (mountain bike) for probably 10-15 hours a week. When I go back to college, I stop riding, but run occasionally. I came home for a break after about 2 months and went for my normal ride. My lungs had definatly lost their capacity but I'd say my strength was close to the same. So, I'd say it's pretty normal for it to happen, and you definatly do gain everything back fast. This past summer, at the begining, I gained most of my fitness back from summer '05 in about a week of progressivly harder riding.
I usually try to ride at least 12 hours a week NOT including my group ride. I've had to cut down (about 4 hours this week) due to classes and other issues and expect to get my azz kicked tomorrow (Sunday)
I lose conditioning really fast.
12-16-06, 09:19 PM
I'm going into my third season, my first season i didn't ride at all during the winter felt like i lost my legs. Second year road a bit on a pos stationary every now and then and it was still bad come spring. This winter i have a trainer i ride every other day hard training intervals and i feel like i'm getting stronger on the bike. Get a trainer some dvd's and just crank on the bike. The training dvds make my summer hill rides seem like a tea party
12-17-06, 04:46 AM
Typically, average speed is a horrible gauge of fitness. There are dozens of things that will play to average speed.
If it's not on a closed course with controlled conditions (maybe track or trainer), there's little consistency from one ride to the next. Other than closed course/conditions, the only real consistently measurable cycling number is power output. Everything else is environmentally dependent.
On the other hand, as has been mentioned, you've dropped your kilometers nearly in half from your peak months. You're guaranteed to see drop in fitness in 3 months. You probably started feeling it within 2-3 weeks of cutting back.
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