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  1. #1
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    Two Short Rides vs One Long Ride?

    I have been struggling to get back into shape. My fitness level is probably thge worst it has been in ten years....with the addition of becoming diabetic. I am working on getting into good enough shape to do the Tour de Cure in March in Central Florida. Long term the goal is to knock off at least 50 pounds and cycle to keep my diabetes in control. The doctor has told me if I lose 20 pounds I will drop my A1C level by two full points. This would be hugely good for me.

    I have been trying to get in a number of 10 mile rides during the week, and one of at least 20 to 25 on the weekend. Seems like I am lucky to get 3 ten-liers a week with the longer weekend ride. My problem is becoming very exhausted and not recovering well. I also don't have enough strength/ stamina in my legs to get into a long distance of spinning while I ride. I find myself spinning for about a minute and coasting for a number of yeards- then my mind wakes up and I start pedaling again. I have been getting protein into my system just after the rides, and streching to an extent also.

    I am wondering if I should be doing two, lower energy rides of about 8 miles a day, instead of trying to push for one longer 10 mile a day? What about this shorter ride doen each day at an easier pace, without days off to recover? Anybody know if this would help ramp up my fitness level sooner? Currently 5' 8", 248 pounds. 51 years old.

    Thanks....
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  2. #2
    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    Ride 5 days a week.
    For now, do one long ride a week (most people do on weekends, cause of schedule)
    After a month or more, then try to ride two long rides a week.
    The day after one of these longer rides, ride short but also very easy. No hills, and easy gearing.
    Rest of the time, do shorter rides.

    The riding almost every day will help with your recovery.
    But you need to ride a long route in order to be ready for that.

    The fitness will come, but it does take time.

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  3. #3
    got the climbing bug jsigone's Avatar
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    ride as often as you can oppose to saving up for one larger ride. But do aim for something that is twice as long time wise for the weekend. I say time not miles is the most important factor here. As you get fit, those miles will go by faster.

    Life always gets in the ways so it's hard to stay consistent.

  4. #4
    Senior Member maidenfan's Avatar
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    Intensity, or the amount of effort you put into a ride, will affect your required rest more than just how many miles you ride. The harder you ride, whether it be a long or short ride, the more recovery your body will need.
    "Others don't understand because I train every day of my life as they have never trained a day in theirs." Alexandr Karelin - the most dominating Greco-Roman wrestler - ever

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    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maidenfan View Post
    Intensity, or the amount of effort you put into a ride, will affect your required rest more than just how many miles you ride. The harder you ride, whether it be a long or short ride, the more recovery your body will need.
    This is true, except for new riders. For them, every ride is intense. But as you get accustomed, that will go by the wayside.

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  6. #6
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AerobaticDreams View Post
    I have been struggling to get back into shape. My fitness level is probably thge worst it has been in ten years....with the addition of becoming diabetic. I am working on getting into good enough shape to do the Tour de Cure in March in Central Florida. Long term the goal is to knock off at least 50 pounds and cycle to keep my diabetes in control. The doctor has told me if I lose 20 pounds I will drop my A1C level by two full points. This would be hugely good for me.

    I have been trying to get in a number of 10 mile rides during the week, and one of at least 20 to 25 on the weekend. Seems like I am lucky to get 3 ten-liers a week with the longer weekend ride. My problem is becoming very exhausted and not recovering well. I also don't have enough strength/ stamina in my legs to get into a long distance of spinning while I ride. I find myself spinning for about a minute and coasting for a number of yeards- then my mind wakes up and I start pedaling again. I have been getting protein into my system just after the rides, and streching to an extent also.

    I am wondering if I should be doing two, lower energy rides of about 8 miles a day, instead of trying to push for one longer 10 mile a day? What about this shorter ride doen each day at an easier pace, without days off to recover? Anybody know if this would help ramp up my fitness level sooner? Currently 5' 8", 248 pounds. 51 years old.

    Thanks....
    At least have one day a week to recover. I find I generally end up with two, just because of weather of other things intervening. Plus, I like to add some resistance training and if you are biking all the time it is difficult to work that in too. Weight training is especially important when you are losing weight, to help retain muscle mass.

    So, maybe ride four days a week, one a long ride, three shorter rides. Do not go so long you are exhausted and not recovering
    Two days a week do some resistance training and core work. You don't need a gym to do weight training. I did buy some free weights, which help but aren't necessary.
    One day a week rest.

    Anyway, that is what I wish I had done while I was losing weight. I didn't really start with resistance training until I had lost most of my weight.

  7. #7
    Senior Member gyozadude's Avatar
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    Shorter, more frequent rides is better than longer rides to build fitness. The key will be to push yourself and go faster during the shorter rides. Turn these rides into interval training, and use the time off the saddle to recover. But a 10 miler is pretty short already. If you push hard and manage, say, 18 mph, that's less than 40 minutes to cover that distance. If you only ride 5 miles, that's only about 20 minutes.

    Remember that walking and riding a bike at 12 mph on flat ground are about equivalent in aerobic effort. So you'll want to get a speedometer and measure your speed and go as fast as is safe and steady for that 20 minutes, or sprint quickly, rest briefly and repeat during the ride. Before you know it, fitness will improve and the ride will be over!
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    I was in precisely the same situation as you last spring. I started out about 6 or 7 days a week doing 5 and 10 miles and then ramped it up over the summer, by fall I was doing 10-20 miles every night Monday through Thursday, skipping Friday and doing 30 miles or more on Saturdays and Sundays. I'll bet you will experience about the same, just give it time, if you tire then slow down or skip a day. Ramp it up gently over a few months and you'll be surprised at wheat you can gain. I was doing well over 100 miles a week till the fall time change and cooler weather. I am anxious to get back in the saddle whenever I can.

  9. #9
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gyozadude View Post
    Shorter, more frequent rides is better than longer rides to build fitness. The key will be to push yourself and go faster during the shorter rides. Turn these rides into interval training, and use the time off the saddle to recover. But a 10 miler is pretty short already. If you push hard and manage, say, 18 mph, that's less than 40 minutes to cover that distance. If you only ride 5 miles, that's only about 20 minutes.

    Remember that walking and riding a bike at 12 mph on flat ground are about equivalent in aerobic effort. So you'll want to get a speedometer and measure your speed and go as fast as is safe and steady for that 20 minutes, or sprint quickly, rest briefly and repeat during the ride. Before you know it, fitness will improve and the ride will be over!

    18mph? In what world can an out of shape beginner do 18mph? I probably will never do 18mph average.

    Walking and riding a bike at 12mph is not necessarily equivalent. A mountain bike at 12mph is tough. When I was first riding I could not average 12mph on the flats and I could walk just fine. But I suppose it depends on how fast you can walk. Today I did close to 30 miles on my hybrid with 1.7 tires. It was windy. I bet my average barely was 12mph.

    To continue to be picky, my understanding was that one should not start with interval training until they had built up a fairly significant base mileage. I question whether the OP is there yet. I think the OP should just be riding and riding steady, not concentrate on pushing himself.
    Last edited by goldfinch; 12-14-12 at 05:52 PM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member gyozadude's Avatar
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    Goldfinch:

    I should have put a disclaimer - speeds used for demonstration purposes only. YMMV! :-)

    But just to qualify my last post, I'm in flat Silicon Valley. 18 mph at my size shouldn't be too hard to achieve in a standard 700 x 32C commuter. I do it almost daily and sustain it for 6 - 10 miles each way depending on the route to work. And I get to do it again on the way back. With a short commute, the ride is just 20 minutes at 18 mph, okay 25 minutes because of traffic lights. And sure, the analogous exertion for walking versus cycling at 12 mph is for a road bike on flat ground w/ no wind. A mountain bike will have higher rolling resistance, but with 1.5 inch semi-slicks, 12 mph is just a hair more effort than 700 x 32c.

    BTW, I've never heard of the rule that we need to put on X-miles of just riding in the saddle before we start intervals. In fact, I don't know how spinning slowly at 10 mph for 1000 miles will do much more than give one a sore backside, and test the quality and comfort of a saddle. If it's something easy to do, then it probably won't improve fitness much. You can toughen up the backside, rack up miles, and do intervals at the same time.

    We may be Clydes. But our power to surface-area ratio is better than for smaller riders. So on flats, the key isn't holding that speed since it should be relatively easier for big folks that have better power-to-surface-area ratio. The challenge is acceleration. We must apply significantly more force and output proportionally more power to get our mass up to speed, which is why interval training is exactly what big guys need to practice.

    There are major benefits to doing intervals. For one, it gets the heart up and pumping hard and then forces the recovery to occur while the body is still outputting power at an aerobic level. It just needs to happen 3 - 4 times a week and for just a few minutes during 20 minutes of high aerobic exertion, and anyone will improve there out-of-shape bodies. Yes, side effects might include muscle pain, muscle cramps, the urge to vomit at first, lightheadedness, prolonged shortness of breath, a burning sensation in the bronchial tubes, and tachycardia during the exercise. But all these symptoms are normal and usually non-fatal and fade away with continued training.

    So again, get a speedometer, and measure progress and pedal hard often for shorter cycles.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    You are much stronger than I am. It is not that hard for you to sustain 18mph. It is impossible for me at this point in riding. I can push on the flats with no wind and average close to 15mph and it will take everything I have got to keep that up for 20 miles. I did that once this summer to see how fast I could go as an average on a fat ride with little wind. I might be able to cruise along at 16, 18 mph in ideal conditions but not as an average. And, I have to be really fit. Right now I haven't ridden much in a couple of months and likely could not keep up that speed.

    Maybe someone who is more familiar with training from no fitness could chime in but building base through steady rides before doing intervals makes at least some sense to me. My husband is a very casual rider that is trying to increase his fitness and riding. In the past week he did a total of 70 miles. He is plugging along, with his heart rate up a reasonable amount, going 10 to 12 mph. There isn't going to be any intervals until he gets used to the bike and biking and the saddle. His heart will get stronger, as will the rest of him. Maybe he will be less likely to get injured, especially as he is over 60. Here is one article on the issue: http://www.active.com/cycling/Articl...rval_training_ But here is a contrary position: http://www.drjohnm.org/2012/02/hit-h...s-may-be-more/

    I don't know that we have solid evidence for HIIT being best for people who are new to cycling and are coming from no fitness, especially if they have plenty of time to ride.

    Otherwise, I understand the benefits of intervals and pushing hard is the only way I can get my own speed up. But I have the base miles.
    Last edited by goldfinch; 12-15-12 at 05:43 AM.

  12. #12
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    When I think about the issue of building a base there may be a psychological advantage of staying away from intervals early on. Many people start riding and stop. Building a base may allow people to enjoy riding, to not think of it as a chore. I personally dislike doing intervals. I went to a gym for a while and worked with a trainer. I disliked the intervals so much I quit going to the gym. But I rode. And I rode some more. Because I loved to ride. After falling in love with riding then I could see adding in the intervals to improve my skills.

    But that is me.

    If AerobicDreams is exhausted I say ride easier, do fewer miles. Love the riding and slowly work your way up. You should still be able to get ready for the March ride in time.
    Last edited by goldfinch; 12-15-12 at 06:39 AM.

  13. #13
    Senior Member garethzbarker's Avatar
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    I was a little heavier than you when I started riding and the same height. I wish I had followed the advice I'm about to give you back then.

    Your goal is simply to lose weight. In that case ride 4 to 6 days a week if you have time. do not use miles or speed as goals but time and intensity as your targets instead. Try to work your way up to one hour workouts. Try to ride the entire duration without a break except maybe to drink (if you can't or if your ride is long then break). Ride in heart rate zone 1 or 2, never above that or you will have to recover. You are probably not strong enough to do a LT test to find your zones so use the easy method. You should be able to have a conversation without pause while riding in Zone 1 and you will experience no leg burning, you should be able to speak in complete sentences but maybe a little slower in Zone2, again there should be very little pain and not enough soreness to require recovery. In Zone3 you will be forced into breaking up your sentences when trying to talk. You will naturally gain endurance and lose weight doing this (provided you eat correctly). When you get some endurance look up LT tests and perform one and use a heart rate monitor to ride perfectly in the correct zone. This might get boring, if it does don't afraid to have fun and ride a little faster then recover the next day but try to remember your goal. Following this routine and eating reasonably I promise you will lose the weight without much effort. In fact, the hardest part of this routine is making yourself slow down. This might sound strange but even elite athletes ride there base miles this way.
    Good luck!
    Last edited by garethzbarker; 12-15-12 at 08:11 AM.

  14. #14
    Senior Member garethzbarker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gyozadude View Post
    Shorter, more frequent rides is better than longer rides to build fitness. The key will be to push yourself and go faster during the shorter rides. Turn these rides into interval training, and use the time off the saddle to recover. But a 10 miler is pretty short already. If you push hard and manage, say, 18 mph, that's less than 40 minutes to cover that distance. If you only ride 5 miles, that's only about 20 minutes.

    Remember that walking and riding a bike at 12 mph on flat ground are about equivalent in aerobic effort. So you'll want to get a speedometer and measure your speed and go as fast as is safe and steady for that 20 minutes, or sprint quickly, rest briefly and repeat during the ride. Before you know it, fitness will improve and the ride will be over!
    I not only completely disagree with this but advise the exact opposite. He is overweight, out of shape and over 50+. He will likely injure himself and surely spend less calories overall. Furthermore, his workouts will be burning glycogen instead of fat. He has no base to work from. This will be a painful experience full of sore recovery days instead of riding. If he feels like sprinting once and a while that's fine but the program should be light aerobic.

  15. #15
    Senior Member garethzbarker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gyozadude View Post
    Goldfinch:


    BTW, I've never heard of the rule that we need to put on X-miles of just riding in the saddle before we start intervals. In fact, I don't know how spinning slowly at 10 mph for 1000 miles will do much more than give one a sore backside, and test the quality and comfort of a saddle. If it's something easy to do, then it probably won't improve fitness much. You can toughen up the backside, rack up miles, and do intervals at the same time.
    I think you mean well but need to research more about aerobic training. Even most pros start each season with base training. Endurance athletes like triathletes spend the majority of their training "riding slow" for 1000s of miles.

    Most importantly, this rider is trying to lose a few pounds not train for sprints.

  16. #16
    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by garethzbarker View Post
    I not only completely disagree with this but advise the exact opposite. He is overweight, out of shape and over 50+. He will likely injure himself and surely spend less calories overall. Furthermore, his workouts will be burning glycogen instead of fat. He has no base to work from. This will be a painful experience full of sore recovery days instead of riding. If he feels like sprinting once and a while that's fine but the program should be light aerobic.
    +1

    As a beginner, start with long, steady rides. (This is called "building a base".) Keep in mind, long to you, as a beginner, and long to me will be two entirely different things (for you, 30-mins, 1-hour?) After a month or two, you should probably be doing 5-6 days a week. If one day, you go too long or hard one day and can't keep up your schedule, perhaps the ride was not worth it? Frequency of riding is one of the best methods to fitness/cycling improvement.

    Just starting out, you're "re-programming" your body from whatever it was doing before. It will take time to get efficient in the new modality of cycling. New muscles will have to be trained and strengthened. A new position will have to be gotten used to. Good form and effective techniques will have to be practiced and learned. Your body will learn to recover between efforts in a day's time (or less if you train that way). It will happen if you stick with it.

    But when beginning, the tendons and ligaments attached to your developing muscles will also need to be strengthened (they take longer than the muscles). If you push too big a gear, or go on too steep hills, or go too fast, they may respond with pain and inflammation, sidelining you while they heal (especially at our ages--I'm 45).

    Quote Originally Posted by garethzbarker View Post
    I was a little heavier than you when I started riding and the same height. I wish I had followed the advice I'm about to give you back then.

    Your goal is simply to lose weight. In that case ride 6 days a week if you have time. do not use miles or speed as goals but time and intensity as your targets instead. Try to ride the entire duration without a break except maybe to drink (if you can't or if your ride is long then break). Ride in heart rate zone 1 or 2, never above that or you will have to recover. You are probably not strong enough to do a LT test to find your zones so use the easy method. You should be able to have a conversation without pause while riding in Zone 1, you should be able to speak in complete sentences but maybe a little slower in Zone2. In Zone3 you will be forced into breaking up your sentences when trying to talk. You will naturally gain endurance and lose weight doing this (provided you eat correctly). When you get some endurance look up LT tests and perform one and use a heart rate monitor to ride perfectly in the correct zone. This might get boring, if it does don't afraid to have fun and ride a little faster then recover the next day but try to remember your goal. Following this routine and eating reasonably I promise you will lose the weight without much effort. In fact, the hardest part of this routine is making yourself slow down. This might sound strange but even elite athletes ride there base miles this way.
    Good luck!
    +1

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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by AerobaticDreams View Post
    I am wondering if I should be doing two, lower energy rides of about 8 miles a day, instead of trying to push for one longer 10 mile a day? What about this shorter ride doen each day at an easier pace, without days off to recover? Anybody know if this would help ramp up my fitness level sooner? Currently 5' 8", 248 pounds. 51 years old.
    Your body will adapt to do whatever you ask it to do. If you want to be able to ride short distances, then train by riding short distances. If you want to be able to ride longer distances, train by riding longer distances.

    When starting out, you may find that it helps to rest for 5-15 minutes in the middle of your ride. When I started riding, I found I got more by doing a 10-mile ride with a 10-minute stop in the middle rather than a single 5- or 6-mile ride. As with everything, you'll want to pay attention to what you're doing and work to increase your performance. For example, you might take a 10-minute break in the middle of your ride for the first week or two, then reduce that to a 5-minute break for the next couple of weeks, then eliminate it entirely. Once you've mastered the 10-mile ride without a break, then up the distance to 15 or 20 miles and add the break back if necessary.

    Someone else suggested you buy a bicycle computer. That's a great idea! Many beginners try to ride as fast as possible, which is usually counter-productive. At this stage, it's probably better to ride slightly slower and be able to finish the ride. A bicycle computer will also make it easier to track your progress, which is important if you want to make improvements.

    Finally, remember: if you don't feel tired at the end of a ride you're probably not getting any benefit out of it. Building fitness takes work! If you don't arrive at the end of your ride sweaty and breathing hard, you might as well have been sitting on the couch...

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by garethzbarker View Post
    I not only completely disagree with this but advise the exact opposite. He is overweight, out of shape and over 50+. He will likely injure himself and surely spend less calories overall. Furthermore, his workouts will be burning glycogen instead of fat. He has no base to work from. This will be a painful experience full of sore recovery days instead of riding. If he feels like sprinting once and a while that's fine but the program should be light aerobic.
    +1.

  19. #19
    Senior Member IBOHUNT's Avatar
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    I'll chuck my 2 cents Canadian over the fence. I was The same height and age but 20 lbs heavier than the OP when I started in July '11

    My first ride was 10 miles and it took me an hour with an average heart rate of 148. When I got done that ride I wanted to just bury the bike in the manure pile. I put on a total of 400 miles that month with the longest being 24 and that took me 2 hours and 20 min (GASP!!! Are you kidding me). Those rides were mostly along the C&O canal since it was flat. Hills were forbidden!

    I ended up doing my first century in December of '11 and that was solo in, get this, 7 hours and 19 minutes.

    So, my advice to the OP is to ride often, 5-6 times a week and mix in the rides. Feel like you are pushing yourself one day a week. The rest of the rides keep the pace at one which you can hold a conversation and make these longer rides. As time goes on push yourself 2 times a week and continue uping the pace and duration in the saddle..

    You will get there.
    It's taken me thousands of miles (2500 in '11 and 5500 this year) to get where I feel I am mediocre at best.

  20. #20
    Senior Member garethzbarker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AerobaticDreams View Post
    I have been trying to get in a number of 10 mile rides during the week, and one of at least 20 to 25 on the weekend. Seems like I am lucky to get 3 ten-liers a week with the longer weekend ride. My problem is becoming very exhausted and not recovering well. I also don't have enough strength/ stamina in my legs to get into a long distance of spinning while I ride. I find myself spinning for about a minute and coasting for a number of yeards- then my mind wakes up and I start pedaling again. I have been getting protein into my system just after the rides, and streching to an extent also.

    Thanks....
    I understand this all too well; A enjoy weekend sports touring and this often causes me to blow out all my reserves on Sat and Sun making me rather sore on Monday. I don't know the distance of your event for the tour but I do understand the want to get in long weekend rides. I'm a fan of one longer weekend ride for endurance. However, if your weekend ride is causing such recovery issues you may want to temporarily perhaps: A-lower the time spent on the weekend ride, B-lower the intensity of your weekend ride (ride long but slow it down), C-drop it down to the same time as a weekday ride for a while . You can always ramp your long ride time up later. Again I suggest not thinking about it in terms of miles but time spent on the bike and intensity.
    Also, try to gauge whether or not you are fit enough (I bet you are) to perform recovery rides. Recovery rides are short rides at fairly low intensity and often high cadence that help the healing process and have the added benefit of burning a few calories. When doing a recovery ride take a real low gear and spin fast but go slow. It can almost feel like the chain fell off the bike. If you are still too sore to even do a recovery ride I suspect you are overdoing it.
    As others and I have suggested, in general a consistent light effort approach over many days is going to be most effective for building that base; don't worry it will also help build endurance.

    By the way, 10 miles seems like nothing but for someone starting out and a bit overweight it can be hard. When I first started out I was so out of shape I could only ride 10 minutes at a time and my first 10 miles was hard.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Ursa Minor's Avatar
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    Less is more when you are just starting out. The most important thing is to avoid injury due to
    over use. Until you build a solid base I would avoid longer rides and high intensity.
    Grimly determined to have fun.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Podagrower's Avatar
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    I follow the thinking that it takes your body about 30 minutes to burn the sugar in your blood before it decides you actually mean it, and then the fat burning starts. I feel like I get better results from an hour ride over 2 30 minute rides, with the trade off being, I can ride double 30s every day without feeling it the next day, but an hour ride is noticed by some muscles. Work and weather have been conspiring against me the last 2 weeks though, and trying to ride 30 miles after being out of the saddle for 6 days is just stupid (bet I try it again this weekend).

    Now, let's talk more about this Tour de Cure-have you already signed up?
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    If you want to be able to ride short distances, then train by riding short distances. If you want to be able to ride longer distances, train by riding longer distances.
    That's not a good use of your time until you're spending 10-12 hours a week on the bike.

    One or two moderate length rides are a fine idea before a long ride to validate that you don't have any fit or other comfort issues which go unnoticed on short ride. Otherwise you're better off making better use of your limited training time with higher intensity over shorter distances.

    You can spend fitness gained on any ride length where fitness can be measured as the capacity for some level of activity each day. The accepted mathematical models for cycling quantify fitness spent as proportional to the square of power.

    Consider a hypothetical 180 pound rider atop a 20 pound bike who can just manage 250W for an hour with with .4 m^2 Sd and .760 Cd per Gibertini and Grassi's paper and .004 coefficient of rolling resistance.

    A 95% effort for him is 237W and 23 MPH on dead flat ground.

    At a 15 MPH all-day endurance pace he's barely turning the pedals over at 80W which is a 32% effort.

    To rack up the same training stress and endurance capacity he'd net from a 3x20 threshold workout totaling 1.5 hours with a warm-up, rest between intervals, and a little time to let the sweat evaporate riding at that pace he'd need to spend 9:15 to cover 138 miles.

    Being fresh enough for such a workout might limit him to twice a week for a 3-hour total, although that has a similar impact on endurance at lower intensities as a pair of the endurance rides totaling 18.5 hours.

    3 hours + 4-6 hours of other riding at lower intensities gets him to 7-9 hours of total riding which is _MUCH_ easier to fit into his weekly schedule than the 22.5-24.5 hours he'd need to reach the same fitness level as the higher intensity plan.

    I rode my first century with three hard 20 mile rides a week with a 100-110 mile total and a couple of 40-50 mile rides for fun. Worked great. Followed that up with a 418 mile supported tour with 30,000 feet of climbing. That worked great too.

    Riders who haven't been training recently don't have the fitness for intense training and need to work up to it with lower intensity base miles. It would not be inappropriate to just get out and ride.

    The other side of this is recovery. If you try to ride at the same high (for you - obviously this varies) intensity every day, week, etc. you'll end up both tired and slow. You need time to recover and rebuild.

    Finally, remember: if you don't feel tired at the end of a ride you're probably not getting any benefit out of it. Building fitness takes work! If you don't arrive at the end of your ride sweaty and breathing hard, you might as well have been sitting on the couch...
    There are limits to your endurance at higher intensities. Without much recent training you might have a half hour a week of hard riding in you although you can handle an additional five hours of easier riding. That lower intensity riding still provides benefits in terms of endurance and your capacity to burn fat.

  24. #24
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    5 mile rides worked for me when I started. Go easy. Ride 5, rest do another if you feel up to it.

    The more you ride, the stronger you will become.

    Type 2 diabetic.. Riding is My Diabetic Medication.
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    Thanks for all the repsonses so far! I see merit in everything that has been said. To explain a little more, then a laugh:

    In the 80's to mid 90's I was a bicycle commuter, worked in warehoues and rode in the evenings after work. I did long rides on the weekend every weekend. I was very fit. I then got involved with Fencing, still commuted, but spent more time drilling to compete in Fencing. I somehow ended up being a coach, and much of my time to stay in shape went away. I got up to 288 pounds, worked back down to 199 pounds. Got injured doing a Demo and went back to 260 pounds. I also suffer from chronic pain from a broken neck (car wreck, 24 years ago today!). Have recently discovered that my agonzing hip pain is Piriformus Syndrome, and have been streching to help heal it. A year and a half ago I found out I have gone diabetic, and have been really struggling with the issues it causes. That, more than anything, is what seems to be slowing my reurn to fitness. The body just isn't responding to things the way I am used to it doing. I have been mortified at how badly I feel I have been riding, given what I have been like in the past.

    I have been on my 27 year old Centurion, but had replaced all the bearings and the bottom bracket last year. I also was riding a fairly new Marin Muirwoods 29er. Still, it has been a battle to even reach 15 mph, much less hold it. I was plodding along at 9-11 mph seemingly no matte rhow much effort I put into it. In the last few weeks I pushed myself to climb a local bridge on the bike path and felt like I almost killed myself(!). I did a short sprint of like 20 seconds and was winded. Along with all of this was the most pain I have ever had while riding. I have doubted the bikes were allwoing me to do my best. Many folks said it was me, not the bike....

    Today, I got a 2009 Bianchi 1885 ALU that had been sitting at a LBS. Immediatly my average speed jumped to 15-16 mph, with a peak of 22 mph. OK- a decent bike as opposed to a C & V vet and a 29er makes a big difference!

    IN the first few miles, I was riding so well and fast that I got a visit from an old friend I had forgotten: Asthma! After I recovered, had a decent ride...and the new bike left me in a lot less pain than I have been in.

    As for the Toru de Cure- yes, my wife and I both are already signed up for it! I am feeling much more like I will do it without killing myself after today. I have enjoyed nd gained knowledge from all the posts so far- and welcome anybody else that wants to chip in!
    Thanks again!
    R Bean
    "The FAA says I should weigh 170 pounds..."

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