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  1. #1
    I'm a Cyclist! Missbumble's Avatar
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    How Hard Should You Push Yourself?

    By nature I am lazy!! It takes a lot to get me back up in the saddle. So this weekend I did it. I met up with a bike group in Florida. The first ride I did with them started at 7Am on Friday. I posted on their site that I would join and so I did. A bit daunting and scary to ride with a 16-18 MPH avg group - but I figured I would tuck in and hopefully make it. If not it was a straight shot out and back next to the ocean...

    We started out heading out into the wind.... hit the beach and went up the coast. I snuggled into the pack and rode like a champ. A few times they helped by telling me to hold the line, and also to keep my feet flat (i point my toes down....I do that a lot).


    So my parts a sore.... I think I sit on the wrong part of me or the seat...but I kept up with them and hit about a 17 avg.

    So at the end of the ride, they say you're coming tomorrow, right?

    So ok I said - and today, I joined them for the 6:45 AM ride. Same place and distance about 32-33 miles. Wind was a lot stronger and they picked up speed at times. The last few miles I was slow....off the back with an escort or two... But all in all I made it!!

    Ok that's my story....anyway how do I know if I am overdoing it? I only have three days max to ride...Friday, Sat and Sunday. i am going out to morrow with them as well - bigger group and hopefully an easier time as the pack will shield me from the wind....


    Anyway - to me I think enough is enough when I start to cry. No tears today. Glad I got my butt out of bed and rode like the wind....
    Last edited by Missbumble; 11-26-11 at 04:20 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member david58's Avatar
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    Great attitude. Just be careful - if you haven't ridden in a while, three days like this in a row may be a bit much.

    I would recommend finding a way to get some saddle time in during the other four days of the week - either by actually riding, or getting a (eek!) trainer. I have to be able to ride more often than you describe your schedule - but that is me. But you don't want to get in a cycle where you spend four days recovering from your three days of riding - you won't manage the improvement you want.
    2011 BMC SR02; 2010 Fuji Cross Comp; n+1 on hold today, due to college tuition and a wedding. Some day, some where, over the rainbow, I will get that 29er....

  3. #3
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    the question is how do you feel? Did you notice you felt stronger on the first day versus the second day of riding?

    Big thing is nutrition and post ride recovery. Chocolate milk and protein does me wonders.

  4. #4
    I'm a Cyclist! Missbumble's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chefisaac View Post
    the question is how do you feel? Did you notice you felt stronger on the first day versus the second day of riding?

    Big thing is nutrition and post ride recovery. Chocolate milk and protein does me wonders.

    OOH good point - I have bought recoverite (strawberry for right adter the ride and have a powerbar labbelled Ironman dirnk for the ride. Kind of a lemon-lime powder for my water bottles.....


    Anyway have decided I will go tomorrow so we will see how I do. I also heard about an easier group that rides out west that I may try. Seems like a cop out - so maybe I will keep with this group for a while as long as I can get my self motivated to go!

  5. #5
    Senior Member nkfrench's Avatar
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    Possibly you'll have better results/improvement if you can ride 2 days and recover on 1 day, then find another day to ride mid-week.
    Generally I'm only good for 2 days in a row of hard riding. If I don't feel like riding, generally it means I'm still recovering. I also get stats from my heartrate monitor and the software agrees that recovery is called for after spending a lot of time in zone 4 & 5. Lack of appetite and poor night's sleep also tell me I've overreached.

    Crying usually means I'm in over my head and have bonked.

    I've just gotten fast enough to "sort of" ride with our recreational club's fast group during their warmup while it's still flattish terrain. It's amazing how much easier it is to go fast when you can draft. We separate when the road tilts up and they notch up the pace.

    Be careful that you're a good fit riding with the fast group. Gentlemen / good sports won't abandon a new cyclist who can't keep up, and some groups will always have somebody who isn't wanting to hammer the entire ride anyhow; but others will expect that new riders will be able to keep up even if they can't take a turn pulling. I know some cyclists who resent having weaker riders along who slow down the entire group on what was supposed to be a hard fast ride.
    Last edited by nkfrench; 11-27-11 at 12:22 PM.

  6. #6
    I'm a Cyclist! Missbumble's Avatar
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    Thanks guys. The people in the group who told me to ride on su day all somehow did not make the ride on Sunday so I was left wi the bigger b group...I rode about 12 or 15 miles with them and let them go....as mentioned above, I did not want to make anyone resentful and knew my limits.

    On the way back I thought I would ride alone, but found a racer guy just out for an "easy spin" so we rode for a bit together.... Glad I did all 3 days and met the Sunday group, but I was in over my head that day.

    Gonna check out another more leisurely group as well next week. So I know my options. Also gonna hit the treadmill (as I am in hotels all week) as well to build on this momentum...in some small way even though I can't ride til next sat.

  7. #7
    Senior Member JonnyHK's Avatar
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    I once did hill sprints until I vomited. Don't push yourself that hard.

    Your body has a great way of telling you "too much". Listen, learn, adapt.

  8. #8
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    How hard to push is a personal choice. In general, don't push things until you've physically damaged yourself. The rule I learned when starting into ultradistance was "If you think it will heal on its own in a week, then push through the pain." I learned the hard way last year and put myself in the hospital; don't do that. (Don't use a numbing gel to alleviate pain so you can keep riding.)

    I started racing cyclocross this year, and the accepted rule is "show up and throw up." While it's not something I'd suggest during a fun ride with friends, or on a consistent basis, you definitely learn your limit when you've pushed yourself to that point.

    Pushing to the point of tears isn't fun, but it's not a bad thing once in a while as long as the tears aren't because you're physically broken. I've had a couple long distance rides where I was out in the middle of nothing, late at night after 20+ hours on the road, and my mind wandered to some bad places. I'll admit that I sat down on the side of the road and broke down for a while before I was able to hoist myself back onto the saddle and continue riding. Bringing yourself mentally to the edge can make you come back stronger; just make sure that you're coming back stronger and not scarring yourself against wanting to ride. (I've seen people do that, too.)
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Catlikeone's Avatar
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    One athena to another- ride until you need to puke then resume, ride until until you can't then get mad and go further, ride until you crash and break something then suck it up and ride to hospital. Just ride.

    I've done all of the above, the body IS built for resiliency. Train the mind. It's a hard task but rewarding. There's a great quote from Greg Henderson:

    “Training is like fighting with a gorilla. You don’t stop when you’re tired. You stop when the gorilla is tired.”

    Get that monkey off your back!

  10. #10
    Senior Member bwilliams's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonnyHK View Post
    I once did hill sprints until I vomited. Don't push yourself that hard.

    Your body has a great way of telling you "too much". Listen, learn, adapt.

    brings back memories of basic training,i think i vomited every morning for the first week during PT,but i made it thru...
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  11. #11
    Senior Member TacomaSailor's Avatar
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    I'm big (210) and old (social security for several years) and have been a serious rider and runner for most of my life. I've got several indicators of over training / too much stress that have served me well for many years. I train with a heart monitor and set max heart rate (HR) targets for each ride. I also keep an eye on average HR and the % of time above a set level.

    MY indicators that my body wants to take a rest (days off) or at least take a couple easy low effort rides:

    - recovery time (e.g. HR drops from 165 to 130 in 90 seconds while soft pedaling) from high effort work is much longer than normal

    - sustained (more than 10 minutes) HR for a known level of effort is much higher than normal (e.g climb a one mile 7% grade at 6 mph/155 HR normally but over stressed might be 165 HR)

    - I have trouble sleeping at night because of "sore muscles" and/or "sore joints"

    - I am still sore and tired 30 minutes after getting out of bed in AM and after a cup of strong coffee

  12. #12
    Senior Member JonnyHK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bwilliams View Post
    brings back memories of basic training,i think i vomited every morning for the first week during PT,but i made it thru...
    The guy who was coaching me is ex-military and is a wiry small bloke who often used to run to work. Fit - damn fit. He ran up that hill every time with me, shouting the whole time. He was going to find my limits.

    "OK, we've found your limit. Back to the boathouse."

    I'm still giving my ex-crew mates heat for that one. All of them had some excuse to miss that training session. Perhaps I should have worked it out quicker...why is the coach called "Evil Tom"?

  13. #13
    Senior Member gyozadude's Avatar
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    Sounds like you found a great group and you're hanging in there. Like others have mentioned, it all depends on how well you recover. If you don't have joint pain, muscle cramps at night, and generally feel like you're getting stronger, then keep doing it and keep pushing. In fact, try to breakaway or take the lead and push a little harder on each ride. The 4 day hiatus is a bit tough, and it's probably better to spread out your rides on different days of the week that aren't as consecutive, but if you aren't damaging anything and feel good, 3 days on the weekends only should be fine.
    Yes, I can roll my own potsticker skins!

  14. #14
    I'm a Cyclist! Missbumble's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Catlikeone View Post
    One athena to another- ride until you need to puke then resume, ride until until you can't then get mad and go further, ride until you crash and break something then suck it up and ride to hospital. Just ride.

    I've done all of the above, the body IS built for resiliency. Train the mind. It's a hard task but rewarding. There's a great quote from Greg Henderson:

    “Training is like fighting with a gorilla. You don’t stop when you’re tired. You stop when the gorilla is tired.”

    Get that monkey off your back!

    Long overdue but thank you!! Good thoughts/words.

  15. #15
    Watching and waiting. jethro56's Avatar
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    How hard should you push yourself? This has to be the ultimate moving target.

  16. #16
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    I always find it strange when other riders suggest keeping the feet flat. There are different syles of pedaling. I looked up a Lance video on youtube and his feet don't look flat at all. I also point my toes down and somewhat use a style called "ankling".

    some images and the video (images from :38 and 1:08 into the video) These are seated images, if you look at his standing position, his toes are way down.

    Attachment 233356Attachment 233357

    the video


  17. #17
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    I agree with Beanz about not keeping your feet dead flat during the whole pedal stroke. I prefer to let my feet move naturally, on their own. Some may be able to keep them flat, but it's not easy, and I don't know that it contributes anything to pedaling efficiency. I'd rather concentrate on "pedaling circles."

    I know the subject of "ankling" can be a hot button, even to the extent that many don't even agree on a definition. But simply not keeping your feet flat is not, to me, ankling. I've always understood the term to mean consciously rotating your foot from a flat or toes-up position at the top of the stroke to a toes-down position at the bottom, so that you engage the muscles of the lower leg to help drive the pedal down during the power stroke. That particular practice, whatever it's called, has been pretty well determined by the scientific types who study the pro peloton to be ineffective at best, and injury-inducing at worst.
    Craig in Indy

  18. #18
    Senior Member IBOHUNT's Avatar
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    I had learned as a kid that the proper technique was "ankling" and nothing I've read lately say it's injury-inducing.

    http://www.cyclingtipsblog.com/2009/...troke-ankling/

  19. #19
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    I had read about an Italian team doing extensive tests on power generation through ankling and found it to be ineffective. If I can dig up the source again I'll post it. For another point of view, here's what Sheldon Brown has to say about it.
    Craig in Indy

  20. #20
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CraigB View Post
    I had read about an Italian team doing extensive tests on power generation through ankling and found it to be ineffective. If I can dig up the source again I'll post it. For another point of view, here's what Sheldon Brown has to say about it.


    Ha ha, Sheldon says he read about it the night before a tour then did it for the first 40 miles, not a smart idea. That would be like changing to a new untried/ unproven saddle the night before a tour.



    Plus he says "if carried to an extreme"..... I did mention in my first mention of ankling that I do "somewhat" of an ankling style meaning I don't concentrate to much on it. I did practice for sometime and now I just let my feet flow without concentrating on the ankling movement. Not actual ankling but my style is far from flat footed.

  21. #21
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz View Post
    I did mention in my first mention of ankling that I do "somewhat" of an ankling style meaning I don't concentrate to much on it. I did practice for sometime and now I just let my feet flow without concentrating on the ankling movement. Not actual ankling but my style is far from flat footed.
    That's what I was trying to say. Letting your feet follow their natural inclination makes sense, and I think most people who do that will find that they're rarely pedaling flat-footed. But that's a completely different animal than actively ankling, at least IMO.
    Craig in Indy

  22. #22
    Senior Member nkfrench's Avatar
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    I think ankling is fine as long as you're not just letting your foot collapse around the pedal (vs pushing directly on the pedals).
    Mine like to do that when I'm not focused.

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