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  1. #1
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    How to train to meet a goal

    In October there is a charity bike ride. You have several distance choices. Twenty-two, 46, 64, 84 or 110 miles. I would like to ride in this event. My issue is how many miles.

    I am overweight, 56, never really exercised much until lately. I have had only a couple of rides of a bit over 10 miles. Most of my rides are 4 to 6 miles. I am on track to ride a 100 miles for the month (currently at 91 miles). Next month I want to do 150. I travel a lot so that sometimes throws my exercise plans off. I have little question that I could do the 22 mile ride. I'd like to do 46. Does that seem reasonable?

    How much "training" would a person have to do to ride 46 or even 64 miles? The route is paved and only moderately hilly.

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    Senior Member Fletch521's Avatar
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    Between now and October you could be ready for even the 110 mile option. But not by riding only 100 a month. You need to get some more distance in your runs, break that ten mile barrier. If you plan to ride the 46, get a few 30 mile rides in. If you decide to go for 64, get in a couple of 50 milers in first. Try to bump up your weekly milage to at least 50 if your going to go for the longer rides.

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    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    One hundred a month was really aggressive for me this month. I was starting from nearly nothing. I also am very slow (my current average on my cycle computer is only 8.6mph) I see that I have until August to decide which distance I want. So, I think that I will try to make June 150 and see if I can do 200 in July. I will work on breaking the 10 mile barrier and going faster. Last month I broke the 5 mile barrier. I will be very happy with being able to do 46 miles and not take 6 hours to do it.

  4. #4
    "Fred"--is that bad? DTSCDS's Avatar
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    You have PLENTY of time to do whichever one you want.
    A good rule of thumb is to increase your mileage by about 10-20% per week. You don't want to make huge jumps from one week to the next--you risk overdoing it and injuring yourself. At lower distance levels a 20% jump isn't that much--5 miles to 6 miles is 20%. As you get up to longer distances I would scale it back closer to 10%--adding 10% to a 75 mile ride is adding over 7 miles.
    You should vary your training by increasing mileage AND speed on different days. One day go a little farther. On another day do less mileage but push it at a higher speed. Distance and speed are different things and require different training. If you can, one day a week, go for a long ride. Make it your big ride for the week. Be sure to take rest days so your body can recover.
    At all the charity rides I have ever been on don't "require" you to ride the route you have registered for. You can register for the 110 and then, at some point there will be a junction where you can turn off with a shorter route. Also, these type of rides have lots of rest areas along the way. In my experience, I have never had to ride more than ~10 miles between rest stops. If you try for a long route and then get to a point you know you aren't going to make it you can stop in at a rest area and SAG out back to the starting area--no shame in that.
    So, what is my advice? You should wait to register until the last day possible before the fee goes up. Then, sign up for one level higher than you think you can make. Train like a hyper little monkey until the event. Show up on the ride day ready mentally and give it all you got. Ride to your OWN ability/pace and enjoy yourself. As you are packing your stuff up after the ride take a few moments to pat yourself on the back and take ownership of your accomplishment--no matter how far you ride. Think back to those days in May when you could only ride 4-6 miles and feel proud of yourself!!!!!
    So, to answer your question, you can ride whichever distance you want--even the 110 is within reach
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  5. #5
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    Thank you! That is very helpful advice.

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    goldfinch, I'm a bit confused, you say you are 56 and overweight but your weight loss ticker says that you presently weigh 135. Are we to assume you are 1. a female and 2. really short like 5'0? otherwise, you certainly don't seem to be "overweight" but the reality is that you probably do currently have the cardiovascular system of a fat person. More consistent riding will definately help. Also, what kind of bike are you riding? while you can ride 40+ miles and even 110 miles on just about anything you want, there are definately some bikes that will make it easier than others.

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    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by motobecane69 View Post
    goldfinch, I'm a bit confused, you say you are 56 and overweight but your weight loss ticker says that you presently weigh 135. Are we to assume you are 1. a female and 2. really short like 5'0? otherwise, you certainly don't seem to be "overweight" but the reality is that you probably do currently have the cardiovascular system of a fat person. More consistent riding will definately help. Also, what kind of bike are you riding? while you can ride 40+ miles and even 110 miles on just about anything you want, there are definately some bikes that will make it easier than others.
    I think her ticker say she's 158.......Keep in mind, if a rider can do a 60 mile ride, he can do 100 with a little attention to a few details. If you work your way up to a 20 mile ride, you can do the 46. Building the mileage after that is what makes the target ride more comfortable. You can finish beat or fresh, choice is yours but you can do it.

    BTW, there ar alot of us that are old and overweight....and we RIDE!

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    ticker says he/she started at 158 and is now 135 but as you know, it ain't about the weight it's about the performance!

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    Quote Originally Posted by motobecane69 View Post
    goldfinch, I'm a bit confused, you say you are 56 and overweight but your weight loss ticker says that you presently weigh 135. Are we to assume you are 1. a female and 2. really short like 5'0? otherwise, you certainly don't seem to be "overweight" but the reality is that you probably do currently have the cardiovascular system of a fat person. More consistent riding will definately help. Also, what kind of bike are you riding? while you can ride 40+ miles and even 110 miles on just about anything you want, there are definately some bikes that will make it easier than others.
    Goldfinch is of the feminine persuasion.
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  10. #10
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    You have roughly 4 months or 16 weeks to train. If you take DTSDCS's advice about increasing your mileage by 20% over the previous weeks you should reach a goal of 64 miles by week 11 or so (if you ride 5 days a week).

    To me it sounds doable to reach 64 miles in that time period. If you break down your training sessions and you are passionate about doing the charity ride I don't foresee to many problems, so good luck !
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    one thing that helps is to not even think about miles, I think about time when I'm training. a lot of the variables of doing those distances have nothing to do with miles and everything to do with time. For example, on your 10 mile ride solo, there may be traffic lights that slow you down but in a group charity ride it may have an escort or it may simply take a route that avoids lots of traffic stops so you find that your actual avg time may increase. Things like soreness of your rear end, shoulders, wrists, and neck are directly related to the TIME spent in the saddle, not your mileage. Most people who work a 9-5 aim to have their longer riding sessions on the weekends when they have more time. I would immediately start looking to do a longer ride. It sounds like your only riding for about 1 hour right now. In the next week make it a point to stretch that out to 1:30 or even 2 hours and don't even think about the mileage. If you have to, do it on a really flat or easy route to lessen your anxiety.

    The other thing you need to learn about when doing longer rides is proper hydration and calorie consumption during the ride. Large charity rides generally have stocked rest areas so getting more water and food during the ride isn't a problem I'm 240lbs and I made it a point to drink 1 full water bottle per hour and take in 300 calories worth of food/energy drink every hour for the duration of my 112 mile ride last year. in the first hour it was almost hard to take in the calories because I had just eaten my regular breakfast a little while earlier, but those extra calories early on definately paid their dividends. I pretty much felt just as good at the end as I did when I started 7 hours earlier.

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    Lots of good advice already, so let me just add some encouragement - and one tip. Build your mileage 10 - 20% per week as has already been noted, but every 4th or 5th week, make it an easier week. Do only 2/3rds or 3/4ths of what you did the previous week. This will let your body recover a bit - and it's the recovery that let's you actually build muscles most effectively.

    I'm a TnT coach, and have taken inexperienced riders (including one who was in a wheel chair for 2 years and still rehabbing after a back injury) to the point where we did a very wind-blown century (Solvang, last Spring for those who live in California) in under 10 hours (and that's total time, not rolling time). I've found that when you're building up your base the first time, it's really easy to get discouraged - the easy week every now and then let's you see the progress you're making (because the easy week will still be more than you were doing last month!) and to enjoy it a bit more because you won't be working quite as hard that week.

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  13. #13
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by motobecane69 View Post
    goldfinch, I'm a bit confused, you say you are 56 and overweight but your weight loss ticker says that you presently weigh 135. Are we to assume you are 1. a female and 2. really short like 5'0? otherwise, you certainly don't seem to be "overweight" but the reality is that you probably do currently have the cardiovascular system of a fat person. More consistent riding will definately help. Also, what kind of bike are you riding? while you can ride 40+ miles and even 110 miles on just about anything you want, there are definately some bikes that will make it easier than others.
    I am a 4'11" woman weighing 135, down from 158 last year. In my case, look at the BMI, not the pounds.

    I am riding a Cannondale Quick 4. Probably not suited for 100 miles. But that isn't what I am going for. I want to do the 46 and daydream about 64.

    Quote Originally Posted by motobecane69 View Post
    It sounds like your only riding for about 1 hour right now. In the next week make it a point to stretch that out to 1:30 or even 2 hours and don't even think about the mileage. If you have to, do it on a really flat or easy route to lessen your anxiety.
    Given my pokey average speed of 8.6 mph, it takes me more than an hour to do 10 miles. But when I started it took me more than an hour to do 5 miles. That is without a lot of stop and go. Though about a third of my recent mileage is on dirt roads where it just is plain hard to ride. That probably drags my average down. In June I am going to be where it is really hilly so it is going to be much more work than the last couple of weeks. But yes, I think more about time than miles. Over the next week I am going to try to ride more on the pavement. It is more rewarding.

    Quote Originally Posted by jonathanb715 View Post
    Lots of good advice already, so let me just add some encouragement - and one tip. Build your mileage 10 - 20% per week as has already been noted, but every 4th or 5th week, make it an easier week. Do only 2/3rds or 3/4ths of what you did the previous week. This will let your body recover a bit - and it's the recovery that let's you actually build muscles most effectively.

    I'm a TnT coach, and have taken inexperienced riders (including one who was in a wheel chair for 2 years and still rehabbing after a back injury) to the point where we did a very wind-blown century (Solvang, last Spring for those who live in California) in under 10 hours (and that's total time, not rolling time). I've found that when you're building up your base the first time, it's really easy to get discouraged - the easy week every now and then let's you see the progress you're making (because the easy week will still be more than you were doing last month!) and to enjoy it a bit more because you won't be working quite as hard that week.

    JB
    Thanks for the encouragement and good advice.

    My real fear is that I will be slower than everyone. Right now even old ladies on comfort bikes pass me.
    Last edited by goldfinch; 05-24-11 at 05:19 PM.

  14. #14
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by motobecane69 View Post
    ticker says he/she started at 158 and is now 135
    Doh! I thought the big star was the target, my mistake, carry on!...at 135 is she still considered athena weight?

  15. #15
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz View Post
    Doh! I thought the big star was the target, my mistake, carry on!...at 135 is she still considered athena weight?
    When I dropped below 150 I dropped Athena. Now I am Athena Emeritus. When I hit something like 139 I went from obese to "merely" overweight. But Athena is inside, always wanting to get out.

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    I know this go against the grain of the other posts But I have to ask, How many miles do you have in? The advice I've read says that you need 500 miles of just riding before even thinking about training. This is called your base. This is a time to get comfortable on the saddle and getting your form correct. It'll make you a more efficent rider. When training for an event it's the last 6 weeks that's important. You want to peak out then. You got some time. You'll get there just don't burn yourself out.

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    Senior Member Seve's Avatar
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    The only thing I would add, is that you might want to give some consideration to your comfort level on the bike.

    Without stretching out your time in the saddle at least a few times to get used to spending that much time on your bike, it might make your ride day very uncomfortable for you.

    More or less what jethro56 is alluding to.

  18. #18
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jethro56 View Post
    I know this go against the grain of the other posts But I have to ask, How many miles do you have in? The advice I've read says that you need 500 miles of just riding before even thinking about training. This is called your base. This is a time to get comfortable on the saddle and getting your form correct. It'll make you a more efficent rider. When training for an event it's the last 6 weeks that's important. You want to peak out then. You got some time. You'll get there just don't burn yourself out.
    I don't have close to 500 miles. Maybe 200 total since February, with about 100 of that this month. And 150 was on a bike that was extremely uncomfortable for me, no matter what adjustments I made. So yes, I am coming from nowhere.

    That said, years ago when I was in grad school I rode my road bike between Mpls and St. Paul regularly from home to school and back. When I was a teenager I rode all over the place, miles and miles and hours and hours to escape a bad home life. So even though 30 years went by with nary a ride I am comfortable with bikes. But I am NOT fit. Though I was a lot less fit last December.
    Last edited by goldfinch; 05-24-11 at 07:49 PM.

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    Watching and waiting. jethro56's Avatar
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    goldfinch: I'm far far from being a expert but since I just started riding in Oct. I can relate to someone starting out. from your post I gather that you now have a bike that fits you. It took me quite awhile to get everything adjusted as what was comfortable or tolerable was changing. My legs were strong from all the eliptical work I'd done however my core wasn't up to the task of holding my upper body. So from Thanksgiving to Mid Feb I took a Pilates course to build that up. That course allow me to lower the handlebars which helped wind resistance and being able to get out of the saddle on steeper hills. Had I just focused on riding hard and not spending time working on my form I'd still be suffering with hand numbness. That's just an example of a problem I had to correct before hitting it harder.I'm still not fast but I can put in pretty good miles/week for a 54 Y.O. rookie.

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    actually, your cannondale quick 6 is probably a pretty good bike for long distance, thats a flat bar road bike right? honestly, it sounds like everything your doing right now is working fine. your obviously not a spring chicken and even though you may only be 4'11, 135 is certainly far from being morbidly obese. As you said yourself, you started out needing an hour to do 5 miles, and in a relatively short time your already doing 10 miles in that timespan. I think at this point just make it a point to keep getting out doing what your doing (buildling your aerobic base as others have called it) and don't really even concern yourself with truly "training" again, don't even think about mileage, the 500 mile base rule is a general one. my 500 miles is a lot different from your 500 miles. for me, even in bad shape, I can average 15mph pretty easily so i'll hit that 500 mile mark before my body has probably truly gotten an adequate cardio base.

    Do you own a heart rate monitor? the one aspect of training you can do is a 30 minute time trial to figure out your lactate threshold. Then we can give you a better idea of where you should be looking to keep your heart rate while you do these so called "base miles"

  21. #21
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jethro56 View Post
    goldfinch: I'm far far from being a expert but since I just started riding in Oct. I can relate to someone starting out. from your post I gather that you now have a bike that fits you. It took me quite awhile to get everything adjusted as what was comfortable or tolerable was changing. My legs were strong from all the eliptical work I'd done however my core wasn't up to the task of holding my upper body. So from Thanksgiving to Mid Feb I took a Pilates course to build that up. That course allow me to lower the handlebars which helped wind resistance and being able to get out of the saddle on steeper hills. Had I just focused on riding hard and not spending time working on my form I'd still be suffering with hand numbness. That's just an example of a problem I had to correct before hitting it harder.I'm still not fast but I can put in pretty good miles/week for a 54 Y.O. rookie.
    Good points and I value your experience. Can you tell me more about how you built up your riding miles and how long it took you? I have started some upper body exercises because I know I do not have good core strength and I am trying to get walking in, even if it is mowing lawn.

    Keep in mind, this charity ride isn't until October, it is on a high quality paved bike path that isn't too hilly, with many distance options, so at worst I could do the 22 miler.
    Last edited by goldfinch; 05-24-11 at 09:20 PM.

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    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by motobecane69 View Post
    actually, your cannondale quick 6 is probably a pretty good bike for long distance, thats a flat bar road bike right? honestly, it sounds like everything your doing right now is working fine. your obviously not a spring chicken and even though you may only be 4'11, 135 is certainly far from being morbidly obese. As you said yourself, you started out needing an hour to do 5 miles, and in a relatively short time your already doing 10 miles in that timespan. I think at this point just make it a point to keep getting out doing what your doing (buildling your aerobic base as others have called it) and don't really even concern yourself with truly "training" again, don't even think about mileage, the 500 mile base rule is a general one. my 500 miles is a lot different from your 500 miles. for me, even in bad shape, I can average 15mph pretty easily so i'll hit that 500 mile mark before my body has probably truly gotten an adequate cardio base.

    Do you own a heart rate monitor? the one aspect of training you can do is a 30 minute time trial to figure out your lactate threshold. Then we can give you a better idea of where you should be looking to keep your heart rate while you do these so called "base miles"
    The bike is fairly comparable to a Trek FX7.3, except it is extra small with 26 inch wheels. Here it is:



    I don't own a heart rate monitor. They give me the creeps. For some reason I just can't go there. (I have a touch of heart disease hypochondria, both my parents had heart attacks when they were much younger than I am now and both died of heart disease. And yes, my doc says I am fine.) Maybe someday, but I just can't do it yet.
    Last edited by goldfinch; 05-24-11 at 09:11 PM.

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    I started as a total slug in Aug. 2009. Kinda hit a wall weight-loss wise after 14 months and 150 lbs lost I got a bike as a way to shake things up. I also had surgery to remove a benign tumor 7 months earlier that was attached to my colon. I was in fairly good shape aerobiclly. My big problem was being comfortable on the bike.It was a literal pain in the ***. For me buying and breaking in a Brooks B17 saddle has made longer saddle time possible. My recomendation would be to determine what is the first thing that makes you want to get off the bike and post that here. I wouldn't have tried the B17 if it wern't for the advice I recieved from this excellent group of people.

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    The bike looks perfectly suitable for the upcoming ride regardless of the mileage option you take, unless there's something specific about it that's causing you problems.
    Craig in Indy

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    Quote Originally Posted by goldfinch View Post
    The bike is fairly comparable to a Trek FX7.3, except it is extra small with 26 inch wheels. Here it is:



    I don't own a heart rate monitor. They give me the creeps. For some reason I just can't go there. (I have a touch of heart disease hypochondria, both my parents had heart attacks when they were much younger than I am now and both died of heart disease. And yes, my doc says I am fine.) Maybe someday, but I just can't do it yet.
    That bike is totally fine for doing long rides on. if you are doing an extended ride into a headwind, drop bars are nice but not mandatory. I would recommend putting ends on the bar to give yourself additional hand positions, particularly if you want to stand up on the pedals while climbing which actually helps to rest one set of muscles a bit. I can't see the tread of the tires but i would go with slicks and the narrowest size you can get. Comfort shouldn't be a concern at your weight. if you were on 700c weheels I'd tell you go with 700x23 tires.
    Regarding heart rate monitors, there are two ways to train on a bike, one is by heart rate and one is by power meter. Power meters would be considered the gold standard but are very expensive. A HR monitor is less than 100 bucks. Don't take this the wrong way but you really shouldn't even consider asking questions about truly training on a bike until your willing to wear a HR monitor. Plain and simple what you are training on a bike is how your body performs at specific heart rate zones, specifically, how much power you can create in various zones. If you don't know your zones, you can't train properly. you need a HR monitor for this. Face your fear and get one, you will be glad you did. it truly is a very useful tool.

    Here is a pic of my commuter bike with bar ends on it.

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