4 things really changed my ability to ride, and more importantly the ability to make further improvements.
It offers built in miles.
2) mileage target, ok, not a target, more like a soft goal... Mine's 100 a week. Pick something reasonable, don't sweat it when you miss, just be happy when you make it...
3) Intervals have an amazing effect.
As one who's doing them before I have enough base conditioning. Well, I restricted what I'm capable of doing while being able to get back on bike 3-4 x week plus a recreational ride once a week... I'm good enough shape to be able to do a 60-90 mile ride and be ok the next day. I would NOT suggest you start them for quite a while. However, WonderMonkey's sprint for 20 seconds rest repeat would do worlds for how far you can ride in a rather short time.
4) Heart rate monitor.
Exposed just how far I had to go. It is rather humbling. It is also a safety tool, given my conditioning... Turns out I am used to pushing far, far, harder then is good for me and worse impairs my ability to improve./
For you, I would suggest...
Ride, ride often. Getting back on the bike and riding again is the true success. In the long run, it is the only thing that matters... If you ride often and consistently you'll improve... Mileage and speed will come. Then you will have the success, you will find ways to continuously improve.
Eat and sleep properly. These are often overlooked recovery factors. Sleep is my personal downfall...
Please consider using a heart rate monitor... learn how you respond, watch your improvements. I wish I had HR data from last year.
Now if I were King:
Everyone would get a copy of "The first 20 minutes" in their mail box...
The First 20 Minutes: Surprising Science Reveals How We Can Exercise Better, Train Smarter, Live Longer: Gretchen Reynolds: 9780142196755: Amazon.com: Books
Thank you Digibud!