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  1. #1
    Senior Member BayBruin's Avatar
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    "Over-Training?"

    I have logged nearly 1,600 miles on my bike commuting since May 18th (30 mile round trip...you do the math) and I have lost weight...about 29 pounds to be exact....but I haven't seen huge gains in terms of my speed on the commute. I can usually make it in to the office between 56 and 65 minutes depending on how hard I ride and how many lights I hit. On the way home I once made it home in about 60 minutes door to door (more uphills on the return trip). I average about 75 minutes. But I still have a hard time keeping up with some folks who ride infrequently with me. One is a really strong rider and there is no way I will catch up with him anytime soon. I have about 115 pounds on him and he's a strong cyclist. But I also have trouble keeping up with some infrequent cyclists who aren't seasoned at all. They have road bikes mostly which is more efficient than my old MTB with road slicks (front chain ring is still pretty big so that isn't really a factor). I doubt it's the equipment. Probably has to do with the huge amount of weight I am carrying. But could it also be that since I ride practically everyday while they usually ride 2, maybe 3 times a week, I am just wearing myself down? I'm not really "training" for anything, but I think this may fall under the category of "overtraining." Thoughts?

    Also, I know this is just supposed to be about commuting to work...but I usually find myself trying to ride as hard as I can (usually 90-95% of max effort on most days). I don't know if it's the competitive streak in me, or I just think I am wasting my time and loafing it if I don't pick up the pace, but I usually put in a good effort each time out. Do others usually do this or do you just enjoy the ride in and leave the "time trials" for the weekends or for the other cyclists on the road. Just curious. Thanks.
    "Knowledge is Good" - Emile Faber

  2. #2
    RacingBear UmneyDurak's Avatar
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    Stop by training and nutrition forums. They will have a lot of usefull advice for you. Generally speaking (very very generally) riding stresses and breaks down muscle. What makes you stronger is a recover time after a ride. So going all out day after day after day might seem like great work out and fits in to "if it doesn't hurt...." mentality, but you are not giving your muscles chance to rebuild. Take days of the bike, alternate. Some days ride hard, some days leave early and take it easy. Also don't under estimate a road bike. It does provide an adventage. 1-2 mph per hour might not sound like a lot, but over 30+ miles....
    I see hills.... Bring them on!!!
    Stay calm and bring a towel.

  3. #3
    Life is short Ride hard
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    I would say it might be part road advantage. I had that problem I can ride all day no improved speed I find for a good speed builder, and lungs bulder try running. Also do some interval training to, where you ride fast for short period instead of fast over long
    The Ferrari ('05 Bianchi Forza) had a flat (Stupid Glass) the Japanese wagon ('77 Nishiki with Arkel Utility Basket) was in the body shop (On my bench being repainted...repent ye rust)
    so I took the SUV ( Cannondale V2000 Active 100SL)

  4. #4
    Commuter First newbojeff's Avatar
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    Do you have a computer? That can be a good way to measure how you're doing with more "granularily" than your total. After resting all weekend, I couldn't believe how fast I was coming into work today. That fits with your overtraining theory. I ride all week and usually don't ride on the weekend.

    It will also feed into your competitive streak.

  5. #5
    Mad scientist w/a wrench
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    I'd say I ride close to as hard as I can, but that's more because at the moment I'm hauling 30-40 lbs of weight I don't want anymore, so its as hard as I have to.
    Proudly wearing kit that doesn't match my frame color (or itself) since 2006.

  6. #6
    J3L 2404 gbcb's Avatar
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    I understand the need to sprint, since I'm guilty of that myself sometimes. One thing you might do is set strict time "goals" to force you to ride more slowly. If you average 75 minutes to get to work, set a time of, say, 85 or 90 minutes, and then ride to make sure that you won't get there any sooner than that. Not sure if that makes any sense.

  7. #7
    cars are fun
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    Ride, then recover. I actually skipped commuting today because I am semi-training for a Century coming up in October. I rode 20 miles last night and decided to skip today and hit the gym for upper body tonight.

    I will also recommend something I have noticed a difference in, in the last 3 weeks, and that is protein increase. I've increased protein with cereal and protein shakes once a day. I recover faster and feel stronger after each recovery.
    the lion from within must guard his palace, because everybody's going to try to take a sip from his chalice

  8. #8
    jim anchower jamesdenver's Avatar
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    I say have more "loafing rides"! I tend to ride fast, get to the red lights fast so cars don't cut me off, and am assertive and hold my own in traffic all the way to work and back.

    But some weeks by thurs/fri, especially if I use the gym here at work (for weightlifting), I feel kinda dead by the time it's time to ride home. I shift gears (mentally), and just make my ride home a "sunday in the park" type ride. Slow and easy, change of pace, and having a little less effort won't slow you down that much.

    Agree with protein comment above, eat chicken, protein, good carbs (oatmeal), and have 3-4 small meals throughout the day. That will keep your metabolism running better, (many small meals versus two big ones)

    all the best!

  9. #9
    GATC
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    I was steadily slowing down last fall, winter, spring, freaked me out, but once the weather abated (February-ish) I could strip down to shorts and t-shirt (from jogging tights and raincoat), and I sped right up again. Curious to see how it progresses this fall.

  10. #10
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    Your body may also be getting into a "rut". If you commute in about the same time each day, you are "training" you body to go at that pace. You need to have some days where you train at higher speed, even if it's only for part of the commute (or do some other, shorter ride when not commuting), to break the pattern. You also need recovery days between the hard training days.

    I'm not into competitive cycling but there are lots of books on the market talking about training techniques that explain strategies for varying the training schedule to break out of performance plateaus.

  11. #11
    Senior Member BayBruin's Avatar
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    Lots of good advice. The thing that gets really frustrating is that the people who ocasionally ride with me seem astonished that I am not making more "progress" in terms of my cycling. Again, I commute nearly every day and they don't. I'll try some of these tips and keep on truckin'. Thanks again.
    "Knowledge is Good" - Emile Faber

  12. #12
    No one carries the DogBoy
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    Quote Originally Posted by BayBruin
    ...but I usually find myself trying to ride as hard as I can (usually 90-95% of max effort on most days). ...
    If this is true, its why you aren't progressing. The people in the training/nutrition forum can help more, but training needs to happen in hard/easy cycles. If you hammer every time you are on the bike you never really get the chance to recover (where the gains are made). If you really want to improve, do most of your riding at a casual pace (conversational). Then, once or twice a week do an interval ride, or a hard ride of sorts. Make sure that the next day you don't do anything hard. Do this for 3 weeks, were each subsequent week has harder or longer "hard" rides. Then the 4th week drop back down a bit and then start your next 4 week cycle.

    [Edit: I guess I just repeated what UmneyDurak said...so sorry for the repeat, and listen to him!]

  13. #13
    Geosynchronous Falconeer recursive's Avatar
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    You may not be following the optimal strategy to get faster, but with 1600 miles since May, I don't think you are meeting the classical definition of overtraining. When I started riding, I was stuck in 14 to 15mph averages for a long time. But I progressed eventually. Now I can do about 21 miles in an hour over lightly rolling terrain. (but I'm still much slower than most of the guys I ride with)
    Bring the pain.

  14. #14
    Life is short Ride hard
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    Now I can do about 21 miles in an hour over lightly rolling terrain. (but I'm still much slower than most of the guys I ride with)
    Wow your friends most be tour quality that seems fast
    The Ferrari ('05 Bianchi Forza) had a flat (Stupid Glass) the Japanese wagon ('77 Nishiki with Arkel Utility Basket) was in the body shop (On my bench being repainted...repent ye rust)
    so I took the SUV ( Cannondale V2000 Active 100SL)

  15. #15
    Geosynchronous Falconeer recursive's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ryanparrish
    Wow your friends most be tour quality that seems fast
    No, just some local Cat3 (and up) guys. I'm a lowly Cat4, but I've never been a race that averaged less than 23mph. (I think)

    Look me up on recursive.motionbased.com if you don't believe me.
    Bring the pain.

  16. #16
    No one carries the DogBoy
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    Tour guys finish hilly road courses with average speeds of 24-27 mph day after day for a month. They are in a totally different league.

  17. #17
    ...addicted... rocks in head's Avatar
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    I rode hard for 50 miles Sunday, then didn't commute on Monday, and took it easy on the way in today. Definitely give yourself recovery time.
    Quote Originally Posted by dalmore
    I thought they had three seasons out there? Wildfire, mudslide and normal? No?

  18. #18
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    All those miles since May are the basic endurance phase of your "training." It sounds like you're doing great! Now you should be ready to pick up the pace and develop more speed over the next couple months. Then back off again and take it slower for a couple months. You might want to focus on cadence--pedaling faster--for the next month or two, and see what that does for your speed. Just make sure you back off on the gearing significantly so you're not "training" too hard. And include two ro three active recovery days every week--do your commute slowly on these days, with no sprinting to the lights, etc.

    Personally, I like to ride a lot of miles in the summer. In the winter, I ride fewer miles, but I pick up the intensity. Intervals are one way to go here, and they can be incorporated into your commute. Interval training takes a toll on the body, so only do them every other day, at the most.

    There are a lot of good books--Friel and Carmichael are two good authors. Read them and incorporate the basic ideas into your commuting.

    Most important of all, IMO: GET MORE SLEEP!! Almost nobody gets the 8 hours/night we really need for active living.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  19. #19
    Senior Member squirtdad's Avatar
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    You might want to try a road bike also. Years ago a buddy with a mountain bike (smooth tires) who was in better shape, got frustrated with me going faster on rides (not fast....just faster than him) and I was significantly less in shape. He borrowed my old road bike, and suddenly he was faster than me...prompting his purchase of a centurion Ironman (as noted it was years ago)

    good luck

  20. #20
    Rider in the Storm
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    Quote Originally Posted by DogBoy
    If this is true, its why you aren't progressing. The people in the training/nutrition forum can help more, but training needs to happen in hard/easy cycles. If you hammer every time you are on the bike you never really get the chance to recover (where the gains are made). If you really want to improve, do most of your riding at a casual pace (conversational). Then, once or twice a week do an interval ride, or a hard ride of sorts. Make sure that the next day you don't do anything hard. Do this for 3 weeks, were each subsequent week has harder or longer "hard" rides. Then the 4th week drop back down a bit and then start your next 4 week cycle.

    [Edit: I guess I just repeated what UmneyDurak said...so sorry for the repeat, and listen to him!]
    No need to ever skip days, just do what DogBoy and UmneyDurak describe. Just repeating this to emphasize that this strategy is key.

  21. #21
    cab horn
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    You're not getting faster even though you're pushing because you're not really training. Going "hard" on a commute is probably not interval hard, but slow enough that you are probably training in "no mans land".

    Riding long distances everyday just makes you good at riding long distances everyday. If you want to be faster, you must ride faster (read: intervals) or ride fixed gear.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

  22. #22
    Senior Member
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    You are overtraining if you ride hard every day. If you want to ride every day, get a heart rate monitor and the book Heart Monitor Training for the Compleat Idiot by John L. Parker Jr. It's about $11 at Amazon. The book is oriented toward runners but the concepts are the same. Your body stores about 2 hours worth of the glycogen you need to fuel your muscles at maximum exertion and it takes 48 hours to replenish it. If you are riding hard every day, even if less than max effort, you are slowly going into glycogen debt. You'll feel tired all the time and you'll drag butt on the streets. Instead, you want to ride no more than two days a week hard, and take two days a week off. The other three days should be easy rides. On your hard days, do intervals but on the easy days you want to keep your heart rate at or below 70% of max which, particularly in the beginning, will feel very slow. Within a month or two you'll be going noticeably faster a lot easier. Of course, diet and sleep are critical parts of any training program as well.

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