Training & Nutrition - White flag, request for help!
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06-21-09, 10:51 AM
I've progressed alot so far this year in my attempts to get "better." I started really pushing myself late feb/early april, braving cold and what not to get to work. I felt pooped after the 6 mile ride, more pooped after the 6 miles back. Since then, I have built up to be able to go 45-60 miles in one ride. Lots of climbs, and much more comfortable going fast.
Already I feel like I'm burnt out. I admit I have not approached training in any intelligent way, essentially just getting on my bike and doing every as hard as I can all at once (climbs, sprints, etc.) I am really light, so I understand my climbing potential is really good, but I'd like to be better at everything on the bike (winds still kill me like nothing else.)
How should I go about doing this? What should my week in biking look like for sustainable progress? This is my first year of riding anything longer than 20 miles, so I understand that simply doing it will equal improvement, but I feel like the way I am doing things is not sustainable at all and I would like to ride bikes until I am on my death bed.
Any help at all will be appreciated on a level so deep it would take the length of the bible to describe it.
06-21-09, 10:57 AM
Rest one or two days each week.
I come back strong after two days rest.
Eat good before you ride.
Try to eat something every 30 minutes and take drink every 15 minutes while you are riding.
18,000 miles and getting stronger at 67 y/o.
06-21-09, 01:20 PM
If you are burnt out, you need rest, and a change to your training plan. Riding as hard as you can every ride isn't very effective. It sounds like you have gotten much of the value from "just riding" and are getting to the stage where you need to make a plan.
But to do that you need goals. "getting better" is not a good goal. What do you want to do with cycling in the near term? Ride a (metric/full/double) century? Race? Group rides? Do your local loop in XX minutes?
Once you decide what you want to do, you can then make a training plan for that. There are plenty of books that talk about different kinds of plans and how to make one.
Of course if your goal is just to have fun, there is nothing wrong with that. But you are probably going to define "fun" in a certain way and want to do that kind of riding and get better at it, whatever it is.
A major component of any plan is getting enough rest. Without it you won't improve.
06-21-09, 03:55 PM
Both you guys rock.
I have taken rest. These past two weeks have been on the very low side volume wise, but it seems my abilities are decreasing rather than improving. My heart rate doesnt go up either. I dont know what that means but it doesn't feel right. I figure it cant be overtraining, because I've been resting alot more than usual. But alas, no matter how hard I push or how fast I spin it rarely goes up at a rate I think would facilitate such activity.
What do I want to do? I'm pretty childish; I want to be able to hammer on both flats and climbs. I could care less about descending, for me those are for resting for the next climb (no real thing as a flat where I live.) I want to be able to maintain race speeds (or at least race effort) for 45 miles+. So essentially I suppose that would mean getting faster at a loop ride I do, working on climbs like I always am but thats not working anymore. I'm so obviously built for climbing that I think that will always be where my genetic potential will be, but I want to maintain speed in headwinds and continue hammering when I'm not climbing. It's gotten to the point where my climbing is actually getting worse, my riding is getting worse, everything is just falling apart. Even after rest. That is the part that angers and inspires me to make such a whiny wah wah post on an internet forum.
First, start a log book. Next, get a HRM, if not for riding then for monitoring your HR when you get up and your recovery rate.
I have friends who have been and will be on the US Olympic Nordic Ski Team and even they can't keep a peak of more than three months, and within those three months they can only race their best for maybe 3-4 races. So take this as a recovery period and then build again with an intent to ride hard again in 3-4 months.
It is hard to tell what you are doing wrong.
Here are some comments and observations.
First off, you have had quite a bit of progress. So you are doing very well indeed.
Secondly, the rate of improvement will vary. Let me talk about this in general terms. If one is completely out of shape and get winded getting off of the couch to go to the fridge for goodies, it is quite easy to improve and improve markedly. Let us say that as a complete couch potato, one is at 10% of the fitness potential. Well, a little bit of exercise and one is at 20% and can walk around the block. Then at 30% one can walk around the block fast or jog around the block and be winded. But when you get up to 90%, just to stay in shape, you have to run 10 K per day. To improve, you have to improve your diet, maybe lift weights, identify and train your weaknesses and so on. It is very hard to go from 90% to 92%. It is much harder than going from 10% to 20%.
I would say that you have picked the low hanging fruit.
It sounds to me that you are riding pretty hard most of the time. I would suggest that if you ride 5 times per week, that you ride what feels like pretty easy 1 time per week. You ride moderately 2 times per week (some easy some hard). And you ride hard 2 times per week. Muscles really do not improve unless they are challenged. But if you beat them up on a daily basis, they don't improve either. As someone above suggested get a HRM and you can easily set up a spread sheet and put down your mileage, average speed, perceived max effort, max HR, average HR. Of course, that is if you feel like going those lengths. Some people can go by "feel" and other people need to track things. I don't know what will fit your temperment. Good luck to you. Pat
Here's what's going on.
First, you don't improve during workouts. You improve during recovery between workouts. If you don't get enough recovery, you will get they symptoms that you describe, and in bad cases, it can take weeks or even months to get back to a good state. So you are going to have to back off for quite some time.
Second, you need to explore specificity in training. Once you get to a certain level of fitness, your usual workout doesn't impose much training stress on your system, so you don't get better. You get around that by doing workouts that are targetted to improve in specific areas. Either Carmichael's or Friel's books are pretty good on this, but you do some interval workouts, some hill climbing workouts, LT threshold workouts, etc.
Third, you need to go for distance. Some of the adaptations that you're looking for aren't going to come if you're working out that hard, and I think adding in a few 3-4 hour workouts to improve your base level of fitness.
Eat better, sleep more, change up your work out.
06-23-09, 08:42 PM
Thank you all so much for the replies. Your combined wisdom has a goatee approximately seventy football fields in length.
Things I will start doing:
1.Nutrition improvement. Does not equal only vitamins minerals and macornutrients but CALORIES. I have to start eating enough CALORIES in order to bike, which burns CALORIES. That word is in capital letters because it still scares me. Time to htfu.
2.Not go as hard as I can all the time every time. I will choose, despite how wierd it feels, to moderate my pace at the suggestion of pat. 5-6 days a week sounds very reasonable if 1 or 2 rides are easy, 2 moderate, and 2 balls out.
3.Work on specific things at specific times instead of trying to mash everything into one super-ride.
4. Keep picking fruit.
06-24-09, 01:05 PM
A technical fix which appealed to me is to get a recording, downloading HR monitor. Then you can look at your time-in-zones graphically in your computer. Your time-in-zones should look approximately like a pyramid, easy on the bottom, very hard on the top. Polar has several good ones. You'll want one with the auto-start cycling feature. Some have a feature that tracks and tells you your training state.
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