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  1. #1
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    Overweight, I want to get faster and farther

    I'm 26 years old, 5'8 210 lbs. I started dieting last month and lost 15 lbs since. I finally got back on the bike today (haven't really biked for 2 years) and did a 10 mile ride. I was sweating, huffing and puffing, etc.

    I know I'm out of shape, but my area is all flat and I was barely able to keep 11mph, varying depending on wind direction. I'm working on losing weight and want to improve my biking so I can be competitive next year. How can I get to 15-20mph consistently and 25-150 miles?

    My plan is to do 3-4 rides for a week or two for 10 miles then try to progress each week. I'm really concerned about my speed though, not sure how to improve it.

  2. #2
    Senior Member howsteepisit's Avatar
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    To get fast, ride fast. Dr Gabe Merkin has a long history as an MD, a runner and now a cyclist. His take on developing fitness is that you simply must include interval training, something to the effect of ride/sprint as far.fast as you can, rest and repeat as many times as you can. Then go home, you are done for the day. Only do intervals every 3 days or so. Off days ride as you like, gentle long distances.
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    Thanks - On weekends I have a lot more time, so Sat/Sun are my "off days". I could do some interval training on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but I barely survived a 10 mile ride today. I got my work cut out for me, lol.

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    Senior Member howsteepisit's Avatar
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    My experience with intervals is that if done properly they are uncomfortable but over soon enough, but can make a noticeable difference in fitness in a few weeks, good luck.
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  5. #5
    got the climbing bug jsigone's Avatar
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    What kind of bike & tires are you on?

    Don't even think training intervals right now. You need base miles first and ride at least 3 days a week. Ride and have fun for 500 miles then you can think of better training to help your weaknesses.

  6. #6
    Senior Member howsteepisit's Avatar
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    There is significant dispute as to the need for base conditioning before starting intervals, its not a cut and dried thing.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsigone View Post
    What kind of bike & tires are you on?

    Don't even think training intervals right now. You need base miles first and ride at least 3 days a week. Ride and have fun for 500 miles then you can think of better training to help your weaknesses.
    +1. For at least the first couple of months of riding, concentrate on keeping your pedaling speed, a.k.a. cadence, around the equivalent of a brisk walking pace, which would be around 90 pedal revolutions per minute. Fast pedaling at a moderate effort that you can sustain (i.e., spinning in a medium gear rather than struggling along in a higher gear) means that you burn calories throughout the ride. To put it another way, huffing and puffing is good---you're doing a worthwhile workout.

  8. #8
    Senior Member CommuteCommando's Avatar
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    Pay attention to cadence, and lose more weight. Even without hills, weight can slow you down by increasing rolling resistance on the tires, and reducing your acceleration. There is even a minor increase in air resistance from the "love handles" sticking out in the breeze, But rolling resistance and acceleration are more significant. I and jsigone ride many of the same roads. It's pretty hilly around here. He is younger, and lighter, and much faster.
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  9. #9
    got the climbing bug jsigone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by howsteepisit View Post
    There is significant dispute as to the need for base conditioning before starting intervals, its not a cut and dried thing.
    I'd agree there is a huge debate on it, but the OP was huffing n puffing on a regular 10mile ride. He doesn't even KNOW what max effort feel like and HOW to recover from it. Both of which is needed for an interval session. Thinking about "training" too much might detour some and just don't want to ride anymore cuz it's not fun. Interval hurt both mind and body

    I'd highly suggest just ride your bike as OFTEN as you can for how LONG you can/allowed to. If life says one hour at a time take it, but days that opens a 4-5hr window on your day off, take it too and get on the bike. Notice I didn't mention miles in there, you need to worry about time on the bike, not distance traveled.

  10. #10
    got the climbing bug jsigone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuteCommando View Post
    I and jsigone ride many of the same roads. It's pretty hilly around here. He is younger, and lighter, and much faster.
    Thanks! but I'm blessed to ride w/ a cool group of guys and gals that are faster then me, so I'm always being pushed. Even when I don't want to be...... but it's the nature of this this sport/hobby/obsession

  11. #11
    Senior Member dbikingman's Avatar
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    I see you have been a member since 2008, but haven't ridden in two years. How much did you ride before that? Some of the advice above is good, but if you have a bunch of miles ridden in the past you will be better off than someone who is brand new to the sport.

    There are many people here who would be happy to finish a 10 mile ride on their first ride. Just ride and feel comfortable (huffing and puffing) you are young enough you have that on your side. I'd suggest riding the same route for awhile and getting use to how you fill at different points along the ride and when you are feeling good you can push it to the next telephone pole, sign, or fence post. Depending on your riding history will make a difference on your progress.

    I think getting to 15 will be easy if you are doing 11, but getting to 20 is another big step.

    You didn't mention what type of bike you were on or types of tires.

    Finally, congratulations on losing 15 pounds in a month, that is certainly going to help with the speed.

    Keep at it and it will come. You mention being competitive next year are you talking about racing or just staying with a group ride
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  12. #12
    "LOGIC!" lopek77's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsigone View Post
    What kind of bike & tires are you on?

    Don't even think training intervals right now. You need base miles first and ride at least 3 days a week. Ride and have fun for 500 miles then you can think of better training to help your weaknesses.
    Very important tip like with any other exercising if you are out of shape. Many folks just push themselves too hard in the beginning. Many injuries and muscle overuse are the results of that.
    It's not a shame to do short rides at the beginning and coming back home all sweaty AND happy I hope :-)
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    I signed up back in 2008, can't believe its been that long, lol. I didn't ride much, I use to ride about 10-15 mile rides at about 12-13mph. This is my current bike "Save up to 60% off new Road Bikes - Gravity Avenue B | Save up to 60% off new road bikes" It's a Gravity road bike.

    I was very sweaty and happy when I got home. I'll be doing my 2nd ride today, going to try and do the same distance with gears on low for the cadence. Thanks for the support

  14. #14
    Senior Member spdracr39's Avatar
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    Make sure your equipment is up to par. A good bike that is made for your style of riding and adjusted to fit your body size makes a world of distance. Keep riding and don't push so hard you are to tired to ride the next time. Proper nutrition is key also if you eat minimally you will only have the energy to exercise minimally. Super Duper interval exercise routines are great for people training for events but not necessary for fitness riding ( not saying they don't help but if you are exhausted and sore from working out you won't be riding). You will be surprised at how fast you improve just keep up the great work !!!

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    Thanks. I just finished another ride this morning, and it was a little bit easier than yesterday and I did 11 miles, still about 11-11.5mph. Guess it'll take time. I need to keep a log of what I ride/goals etc. on a calendar, I think it'll help a lot.

    Yeah my bike is still brand new and a good starting bike. I don't see any need to switch it anytime soon. That being said, I hate the tube shifters on it, so I think I'm going to set a goal of about 600 miles on the bike and buy brake shifters as a treat.

  16. #16
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    When I first started back riding I was over 250 pounds and barely made two miles of flat surface , that was about 6 years ago. Now I weight 195 and average 30 miles per ride at 13 mph with a goal of riding 50 miles at 15 mph. Loosing the extra weight was obviously very helpful. Some of my biggest speed jumps came from changing equipment. The three equipment changes that helped the most was: 1) replacing my old mountain bike with a new hybrid, 2) replacing my hybrid with a better quality hybrid and 3) changing my pedals to a clipless system.

  17. #17
    Senior Member digibud's Avatar
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    My take on all this reflects a line from "The First 20 Minutes" which explains the fundamentals of training by saying that one's body responds to stress by getting stronger. Riding longer is good. Riding fast and hard is good. If you push yourself to your own personal limit for short bursts (interval training) multiple times it's a good thing. You may not know exactly how hard you can ride and you may not do interval "well" but short fast bursts that really stress your body will have a big benefit. But as has been mentioned, stressing yourself like that isn't fun, nor can it be done every day but my advice would be to simply ride as much as is fun and throw in some additional not-so-fun stressful speed work. Using a heart rate monitor can be helpful. If you get out and ride, and ride hard at times, you will slowly but surely improve. I did and continue to do so.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mesoc View Post
    Thanks. I just finished another ride this morning, and it was a little bit easier than yesterday and I did 11 miles, still about 11-11.5mph. Guess it'll take time. I need to keep a log of what I ride/goals etc. on a calendar, I think it'll help a lot.

    Yeah my bike is still brand new and a good starting bike. I don't see any need to switch it anytime soon. That being said, I hate the tube shifters on it, so I think I'm going to set a goal of about 600 miles on the bike and buy brake shifters as a treat.
    That looks like a capable bike to get you going, as long as its got enough air in the tires and the brakes arent rubbing the wheels or something goofy like that

    That said -- i'd keep plugging away with it and not worry about the shifters just yet ---

    Summer is just around the corner and by then , you might be up to speed enough to want a faster bike anyway ---- use the money you would've spent on shifters and installation to go towards a new steed ---- Specialized has their Secteur model in several good price points ---

    As someone else said, dont worry about the speed work just yet -- just keep laying down those base miles -- you will get faster the more miles you put in ---

    But a good way to stretch your range and do some intervals (whether you intend to or not) is to enter a couple of organized rides, its springtime now and these are popping up all over ------ skip the century distances and enter the 20 and 30 mile rides instead

    This will help you dig a little deeper, have some fun, meet like minded people , and in the shorter distance rides like that, there will be a lot of people there that are going your speed- and you'll find yourself riding faster before long

    Ultimately , work up to being capable of doing a 50 miler if you ever get a hankering to --- you may not do it every weekend, but its nice to have the capability -- and gives you a bit more of a reserve to try to turn the speed up on shorter , 15 and 20 mile rides

  19. #19
    Senior Member WonderMonkey's Avatar
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    I concur with others that you have to do a variety of training. I've just started to do intervals and I know that in the beginning I could just do 4 sets of 20 seconds intervals in a four mile stretch. Those 20 seconds were all out efforts and it hurt in a great way. Slow pedal to recover and then when you can do another. I also do another interval where I just increase my effort but don't go all out. I try to make sure my spin is good while doing this but I don't allow it to hold me back.

    I started a thread about a week ago to discuss Max Calorie Burn on short evening rides. It turns out that the (some will argue) way to do max calorie burn also helps with increased lung capacity, etc. Take a read, it eventually zones in on intervals and there is some good info in it: Riding For Max Calorie Burn
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  20. #20
    Senior Member longbeachgary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mesoc View Post
    I'm 26 years old, 5'8 210 lbs. I started dieting last month and lost 15 lbs since. I finally got back on the bike today (haven't really biked for 2 years) and did a 10 mile ride. I was sweating, huffing and puffing, etc.

    I know I'm out of shape, but my area is all flat and I was barely able to keep 11mph, varying depending on wind direction. I'm working on losing weight and want to improve my biking so I can be competitive next year. How can I get to 15-20mph consistently and 25-150 miles?

    My plan is to do 3-4 rides for a week or two for 10 miles then try to progress each week. I'm really concerned about my speed though, not sure how to improve it.
    Just ride the damn bike.

  21. #21
    "LOGIC!" lopek77's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by longbeachgary View Post
    Just ride the damn bike.
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  22. #22
    Senior Member Zoxe's Avatar
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    My 2 cents, just to echo/reinforce some of the other things already said:

    a) Personally, I'd work on your base and technique before intervals. "Just go ride" is good advice. You can also hit youtube for videos on "bicycle technique" and find some things to work on.

    b) Gather some data, keep a log of mileage/wind/whatever. A Heart Rate monitor is a great tool.

    d) Have fun, this shouldn't be a 2nd job. I went into biking simply because I enjoyed it - it got me outside and I felt better. I considered weight loss as a bonus. I lost 50 lbs that way before hitting a plateau that required a significant diet change to break through. You are in a much better position than I was (younger and lighter than my 285 at ~35 yrs old).
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  23. #23
    Senior Member WonderMonkey's Avatar
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    I will agree with the above. Sometimes leaping to intervals can hamper your spirits. Pick a distance you want to achieve, say 15 miles, and just work towards getting to that and then stay with it. Do some 5, 10, etc. trips and focus on learning how your body and bike are going to work, and decent fit and spin, etc.
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  24. #24
    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    you can't expect to hop on your bike after a huge absence and be ready to go 100 miles... just get some riding in and have fun with it. You won't ride if it's "work" so don't make it work.

    At some point in the near future when 10 miles is easy and boring you'll probably naturally start going harder and longer. Don't over think it.

  25. #25
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    OP: Didn't you start a very similar thread about 5 years ago?

    Not to embarrass you, but I think you might just focus on getting on your bike and riding it 5 days a week for the next month. Then make your "how do I get faster" post based on your efforts and results.

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