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View Poll Results: Vary the ride lengths

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  • Yes - you need to vary the lengths

    5 16.67%
  • No - you need to worry about getting to shape that isn't round first

    5 16.67%
  • Quit thinking and just ride

    20 66.67%
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  1. #1
    Rolling roadblock
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    Vary ride lengths?

    So, I was thinking (a dangerous thing). My rides (except the "long" one on Saturday) fall into a pretty similar distance / time range:

    9/1/13 16.12
    9/2/13 4.76
    9/3/13 5.01
    9/4/13 7.11
    9/5/13 5.69

    Should I be varying the length? Am I training myself to go for a short time, so that I'll improve over the short course but hit the wall on longer rides?

    Or am I over-thinking this since it is my first week of dedicated riding and I'm grossly out of shape, so it doesn't matter at this stage?
    With every ride, I get a little stronger. I gain a little stamina. I gain a little pride. And so I await the next ride...

    Riding slow is not a sign of weakness. Quitting is.

  2. #2
    Senior Member mr_pedro's Avatar
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    What are your goals? There is nothing wrong with short rides, you could try and make them faster than the long rides.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Solare's Avatar
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    I'm going to go with your comment. "Or am I over-thinking this since it is my first week of dedicated riding and I'm grossly out of shape, so it doesn't matter at this stage?"



    I am just doing 8.4 everyday. Some days I feel stronger and others I don't. I am going to keep going until my time (an hour currently) goes down before adding some distance (unless I find myself in the flatlands). The hills near me are not that big but I find myself gearing down to the granny gear to get up them. I try not to stop while going up the hills (this is bad for moral and the beatings wont stop until moral improves).

    Keep on riding.

  4. #4
    Rolling roadblock
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    Yeah, I'm overthinking this. Just need to go ride and have fun. If fun one day means pushing the neighborhood loop faster, then do that. If fun means going to the MUP and doing a 10 miler, then do that.

    Or, as we say in the Harley world, "shut up and ride".
    With every ride, I get a little stronger. I gain a little stamina. I gain a little pride. And so I await the next ride...

    Riding slow is not a sign of weakness. Quitting is.

  5. #5
    Senior Member ill.clyde's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Solare View Post
    I'm going to go with your comment. "Or am I over-thinking this since it is my first week of dedicated riding and I'm grossly out of shape, so it doesn't matter at this stage?"
    I'll echo this.

    At this point, it really doesn't matter. You need to ride, and riding equals miles. It doesn't much matter the length.

    NOW, that said, once you have some base miles in your legs, yes, it's good to vary your length.

    That said also, there's nothing that says even your short rides have to be "short" in terms of effort. By that I mean you can vary the degree of intensity of the rides, even during rides.

    The more you ride the more you'll understand your body and how it responds to varying degrees of effort. You'll start looking into things like interval training, etc.

    Most of my miles these days are done while commuting. 12 miles one-way, so 24 miles on any given day. Some days I decide I'm going to do the ride to hard and fast as possible. Others I decide I want a consistent effort.

    ALL of that said ... I go back to the start. Don't over think it right now. Get the miles in your legs.

  6. #6
    got the climbing bug jsigone's Avatar
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    ride AS much as you can WHEN you can.

  7. #7
    Rolling roadblock
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    Good points raised. I need to keep this simple:

    1. Use MyFitnessPal. Eat 1200-1400 calories / day, do not "eat back" the calories "gained" from exercise
    2. Go ride.
    3. Repeat.
    With every ride, I get a little stronger. I gain a little stamina. I gain a little pride. And so I await the next ride...

    Riding slow is not a sign of weakness. Quitting is.

  8. #8
    Senior Member ill.clyde's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattInFla View Post
    Good points raised. I need to keep this simple:

    1. Use MyFitnessPal. Eat 1200-1400 calories / day, do not "eat back" the calories "gained" from exercise
    2. Go ride.
    3. Repeat.
    Yeah ... that's pretty much it

    Nothing wrong with geeking out now and then, but don't let your thinking get in the way of riding

  9. #9
    Senior Member WonderMonkey's Avatar
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    I voted but it all really depends on what keeps you riding. In theory doing intense (or slow and enjoyable) shorts with some longs are good but not if the planning of it makes you miss outings. I end up doing various lengths because I have various time slots so it all works out.

  10. #10
    Senior Member jdfriesen's Avatar
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    I voted "Yes". However, that's for me. I commute to work most days a week, so those days my route is pretty much identical. I could vary the route, but haven't to this point. I am planning on varying my ride in, as I have more time to do that. My ride home however is pretty much locked in, as it's the fastest route, and I need to be home in the least amount of time possible after work.

    For me, if that's all I was doing, I would (and am) continue to get faster on my commute, but wouldn't be challenged in other ways (climbing, endurance, etc.). I know I can vary the intensity on my ride, and I do do that, but for me at least it's not the same as doing significantly different lengths. I love my long rides on weekends, and even really short rides with my kids. Change keeps things fresh for me. Additionally, I'm a very goal/performance oriented person, and I find setting different sorts of goals for myself, such as a certain distance, or average speed on my commute to be very rewarding.

    I started riding 4 months ago, and commuting regularly 3 months ago. My commute is 14.5km (each way), with about 350' of climbing (ironically each way as well, my house and work are almost identical elevations). My first goal was to average 30km/h, which I achieved a month or two in. My current goal is to average 20mph (32.2km/h). 31.3km/h is my best so far, so still some work to do there. I need goals like that to keep the same route every day fresh.

    I also set a goal to do a metric century, and did that last month (120.2km). I went significantly over as I hit a major detour I wasn't expecting on my route. However, I certainly realized then that I had it in me to do my next goal, an imperial century. I hope to do that by the end of October.

    Anyway, that's my perspective, and what works for me. What works for someone else may very well be entirely different. I know that my wife hates monitoring performance to that extent!

  11. #11
    Senior Member WonderMonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattInFla View Post

    Or am I over-thinking this since it is my first week of dedicated riding and I'm grossly out of shape, so it doesn't matter at this stage?
    Ah, first week. Yes just get out and enjoy yourself and be consistent. Don't try to get all your miles in one day then not go out for a week. Work on using the whole spin cycle and develop other good habits during this time.

  12. #12
    Rolling roadblock
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    I would commute, but I work out of a home office, so my commute is about 15 feet.

    I try to sneak in 30 minutes of riding before work every morning, since the afternoons are still horribly hot this time of year. If I can't do that for some reason, I'll hit the exercise bike at the gym after work.

    Depending on what is going on otherwise, I plan to do a longer ride on one of the weekend days. The 16 miles I did last Saturday was probably a bit too long for my current state of (un)fitness. Going to plan 8-10 miles for this weekend on a different MUP near the house.

    I initially set 60 miles as a goal for this first month of riding, but I am on pace to blow that away and then some.

    Just wanted to make sure I wasn't inadvertently training in bad habits / limitations with my fledgling riding program. Now, I'll stop thinking about it and ride
    With every ride, I get a little stronger. I gain a little stamina. I gain a little pride. And so I await the next ride...

    Riding slow is not a sign of weakness. Quitting is.

  13. #13
    Senior Member IBOHUNT's Avatar
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    two words...

    saddle time

    You need a lot of it and can only get there by doing what our esteemed colleague JSIGONE is a proponent of... As much as you can when you can.

  14. #14
    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattInFla View Post
    Good points raised. I need to keep this simple:

    1. Use MyFitnessPal. Eat 1200-1400 calories / day, do not "eat back" the calories "gained" from exercise
    2. Go ride.
    3. Repeat.
    Whoa. What's your BMR? 1200-1400 seems like a starvation diet and doomed to fail (my opinion only, not based on anything remotely scientific) I would shoot for a deficit of 300 calories a day and definitely don't add back your exercise calories.

    I work at home too and it's shockingly hard to get out and ride some days, unless I feel like getting up at 5 (which is never)

    As you start adding more distance you'll want to throw in some rest days, which can be a nice easy 8 mile ride around the block (and by easy, I mean lowest gear, barely any noticeable effort) just to keep your legs loose.

    Keep up the good work!

  15. #15
    Rolling roadblock
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    I'm presently at 350 pounds and 6'6". MyFitnessPal gives me a daily allocation of 2150 calories. I'm arranging to see a nutritionist to get a more individualized diet plan together.
    With every ride, I get a little stronger. I gain a little stamina. I gain a little pride. And so I await the next ride...

    Riding slow is not a sign of weakness. Quitting is.

  16. #16
    Senior Member IBOHUNT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattInFla View Post
    I'm presently at 350 pounds and 6'6". MyFitnessPal gives me a daily allocation of 2150 calories. I'm arranging to see a nutritionist to get a more individualized diet plan together.
    I'm no dietician or nutritionist but I'd suggest that MyFitnessPal is about as wrong as Chamberlain stepping off a plane waving a piece of paper proclaiming that there would be no more war.

    My BMR, at less than 200 lbs, is 1700. Add in some exercise and the wife wonders why she's looking to hire one of those rodeo clowns to keep me away from the groceries when she comes home from the store

    You may want to have that meeting with the nutritionist before going down that 2100 calorie path. My thought would that you'd fail. Don't want to see that happen

  17. #17
    Senior Member mrodgers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IBOHUNT View Post
    I'm no dietician or nutritionist but I'd suggest that MyFitnessPal is about as wrong as Chamberlain stepping off a plane waving a piece of paper proclaiming that there would be no more war.

    My BMR, at less than 200 lbs, is 1700. Add in some exercise and the wife wonders why she's looking to hire one of those rodeo clowns to keep me away from the groceries when she comes home from the store

    You may want to have that meeting with the nutritionist before going down that 2100 calorie path. My thought would that you'd fail. Don't want to see that happen
    Yeah, when I started MyFitnessPal, I didn't go by the number it gave me. I searched the net to even figure out what BMR was. Of course it is the internet, but everything I read at 41 YO and 235 lb gave me a number of 2100. That's what I use and MyFitnessPal gave me a number of 1800 to lose 2 lb. per week. I have been following that 1800 calories per day but I'll admit that I do eat back a good bit of what I burn on the bike, but in general I am in the 1800 calories each day plus or minus about 100 calories. Working with that 1800 which is 300 calorie deficit of my BMR number I've seen everywhere and I am losing about 2 lb. per day.

    I do know that the BMR number MyFitnessPal was actually a lot higher than everything else I read. On the same but opposite token, my cheap cycle computer tells me I burn about half the calories on the bike than every calorie calculator I've come across on the net. Thus, I went with the lower BMR number I saw on the net, I go with the lower calories burned stated on the bike computer, and when I log food, since I'm not weighing everything, I try to estimate it all high unless it states it on the package and I know I only eat x serving.
    Ride no faster than your Guardian Angel can fly!

  18. #18
    got the climbing bug jsigone's Avatar
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    http://www.bmi-calculator.net/bmr-calculator/

    has you around 2900 cals which seems more reasonable. I didn't want to be that guy to say 1200cals is low, but its real low. You can slow down your metabolism causing more problems and not seeing a change in weight. Also side effect will be hunger allot because staving the system and lack of energy.

    Trick is not to entirely cut all those cals but fill it will healthy options.

  19. #19
    Rolling roadblock
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    I'm the first to admit I don't know a lot about the diet side here. Working on finding a dietician to work with, dealing with my PITA health insurer. Such fun.
    With every ride, I get a little stronger. I gain a little stamina. I gain a little pride. And so I await the next ride...

    Riding slow is not a sign of weakness. Quitting is.

  20. #20
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    you might consider looking at time & intensity rather than distance.

    did you know it burns the same # of calories to walk a mile as it does to run the same mile? it just takes longer ...
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  21. #21
    Senior Member MikeRides's Avatar
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    From one newbie to another, I suggest continuing your regular 5 mile rides until you can do it without your legs burning too much. Then bump it up to 10 mile rides, and repeat in 5 mile or so increments. Whatever you do, don't do what I did a few months back when I was first starting... I rode 5 miles every day, and leaped to 25 miles. I was so unprepared for that that I thought I'd be making that call of shame for sure, but I ended up walking the bike the last 3 miles and sat out the following week which totally reversed my training rides. I then picked up where I left off at 5 miles for a couple weeks, then 10 miles, 15, 20, and up to 25 regularly. I managed 25 miles in under 2 hours which is pretty good for my level of fitness (never been the athletic type) before attempting 44 and a couple weeks later 50 miles. I haven't been riding as frequently as I did back then, but I feel I should be ready to ride my first "metric century" successfully this month (may even try it as early as Saturday).

    /But yeah, I voted "Quit thinking and just ride". Riding a bike is supposed to be fun, not brain surgery.
    "Just ride it until the wheels fall off!"

  22. #22
    Rolling roadblock
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    Reading various articles on BMR / caloric intake / weight loss is getting my fairly confused.

    Perhaps the solution is to join Weight Watchers or similar, where someone else has already done the heavy thinking here. Thoughts?
    With every ride, I get a little stronger. I gain a little stamina. I gain a little pride. And so I await the next ride...

    Riding slow is not a sign of weakness. Quitting is.

  23. #23
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattInFla View Post
    Reading various articles on BMR / caloric intake / weight loss is getting my fairly confused. Perhaps the solution is to join Weight Watchers or similar, where someone else has already done the heavy thinking here. Thoughts?
    Hey Matt,

    Type 2 Diabetic here, also missing my Thyroid. Interesting combo. Bike riding is my diabetic medication.

    I rode for two years as a diabetic and my doctor never told me I was. Got rid of him.

    I started riding after being sick for 4 years. Do what feels good.

    I did 5 miles rides for 3 months. Ride 5 mi rest, do it again.

    Got up to 50 miles one day with 10 @ 5 mile rides, 80 laps around the block.

    Forget about diet. Forget about Weekly mileage goals. Forget about Speed.

    It takes 500 miles for your legs to Get Ready to Ride.

    Stick with 5 mile rides. One before your work and one or more after your work.

    Eat what you need to have bike energy. Eat what you need to keep from going Low Sugar.

    I eat for energy to ride.

    Once you get 500 miles on your legs you can go for some speed and longer miles.

    Take care.
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  24. #24
    Rolling roadblock
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    I think part of the problem is that I don't want a lot of food. I decided to give WW a try. The program gives me 70 points / day. I'm sitting here trying to figure out how the heck I am going to eat that much.

    Rode 6.7 miles this morning (plus a bit for warm up and cool down). Turned Strava on (first time using Strava, seeing if I like it or MapMyRide better), then turned the display on the iPhone off and just rode for a bit, exploring some neighborhood roads. Almost no traffic this morning. Humid, but cool. Nice ride. I just rode my own pace and concentrated on enjoying the ride and maintaining pedal movement as much as possible (no coasting). I was a bit surprised to see I maintained ~13.5 mph average.
    With every ride, I get a little stronger. I gain a little stamina. I gain a little pride. And so I await the next ride...

    Riding slow is not a sign of weakness. Quitting is.

  25. #25
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
    Whoa. What's your BMR? 1200-1400 seems like a starvation diet and doomed to fail (my opinion only, not based on anything remotely scientific) I would shoot for a deficit of 300 calories a day and definitely don't add back your exercise calories.
    When I was losing weight I did 1200 calories a day, which lost me about a pound a week. So, I was running a 500 calorie deficit initially. I am not even 4'11". Unless you are really small 1200 seems very low.

    The amount of a deficit you can run really depends on your size. At the OP's size eating about 1800 calories a day will lose him at least a couple pounds a week. I wouldn't go below a total of 1800.

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