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  1. #1
    Gios
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    Less long rides vs more shorter rides? Recovery?

    Hi all

    As I get older (ahem), notice that I seem to need more time for recovery. I can do up to 2 hour rides almost every day, but once I start on 3+ hour rides, find that I need not just one but often 2 days to feel "fresh" again.

    So ... accept that, and just do fewer rides, albeit longer ones, or compensate by doing more, shorter rides?

    FWIW, these are fairly solid rides, it's hilly and even mountainous where I am, so I'm usually working, one way or another.

    (BTW, this is riding and training for century-type events, though the riding part of it is and remains a pleasure.)

  2. #2
    A might bewildered... Dudelsack's Avatar
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    It makes sense that you'd need more time to recover from a longer, more demanding ride.

    I think most would say to enjoy the days off, or at most take light easy spins.

    It makes sense to me to train for long rides by doing longish rides.

    I think steroids shorten the recovery time, but I'm not entirely sure. I'm talking about the legal (for non-racers) stuff like Androgel.

    Frequent short rides are fun I guess, but I've never gotten into that routine.

  3. #3
    USMC Veteran qcpmsame's Avatar
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    I'd add that you might want to look at your diet and what you eat before, during and after your rides. You shouldn't need calories on your shorter rides if you are eating properly at regular meals but if you aren't getting the intake you need before and during a ride you will feel drawn down. If you have had a physical and things are all good then try eating a balanced diet, if you need to change this, and to take in a few calories during your long ride days and eat to refuel and rebuild after the rides, short and long.

    This diet outlook has made a tremendous difference for me over the last year for my riding as well as my overall health improving. I've managed to loose 50 lbs , as of Monday, and I can ride much better now than I could last year. Blood work next week so I'll have a better idea where I am at. Best of luck with your longer rides and in training for the centuries.
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  4. #4
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    In my experience, the amount of time needed for recovery is more influenced by intensity than duration. That is, a four or five hour ride at a fairly easy pace requires no recovery - when touring, I can crank out five hour days, day after day - whereas a session of VO2 max intervals, even though the whole ride might last less than two hours, needs to be followed by a rest day or a recovery ride. So I suggest that you vary the intensity of the rides. If you make the longer rides a shade less intense, my guess is that that you'll find you can keep doing them. Make the hard rides very hard, and the easy rides very easy, is the usual advice to those who are training seriously.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  5. #5
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    Sounds like you should read this. --> http://www.amazon.com/Cycling-Past-A...ycling+past+50

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  6. #6
    A might bewildered... Dudelsack's Avatar
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    ^^^^All that book ever did for me is make me feel guilty for eating Twinkies. I don't recommend it for someone who doesn't want to get into competitive riding.

  7. #7
    Seat Sniffer Biker395's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dudelsack View Post
    ^^^^All that book ever did for me is make me feel guilty for eating Twinkies.


    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    In my experience, the amount of time needed for recovery is more influenced by intensity than duration. That is, a four or five hour ride at a fairly easy pace requires no recovery - when touring, I can crank out five hour days, day after day - whereas a session of VO2 max intervals, even though the whole ride might last less than two hours, needs to be followed by a rest day or a recovery ride. So I suggest that you vary the intensity of the rides. If you make the longer rides a shade less intense, my guess is that that you'll find you can keep doing them. Make the hard rides very hard, and the easy rides very easy, is the usual advice to those who are training seriously.
    +1 ... totally depends on how hard you're working.

    I get a mix of both long and short rides. I ride ~17 miles to work, sit around and work all day, then ride ~17 miles home. Two short rides with a long rest period inbetween. And I do that almost every day. Then on weekends, I'll do a longish climbing ride that takes most of the day. I don't have any data to back this up, but I think the shorter, more frequent rides contribute more to my fitness level.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    If I understand your post correctly, the only thing that is changing is the length of time. You're still riding the same kinds of rides in terms of hills and intensity, etc.? If this is the case, I’d have some level of concern when training for a century. As we know, three hours does not a century make. So, if you’re feeling the impact of that, and it’s a new thing, something has changed. Advanced age does reduce the body’s ability to recover quickly. That’s just an undeniable fact. So, this could be the issue. Although I’ve not heard of many situations where the decline was of sudden onset in nature. As others have indicated, there may be diet issues at play, or there may be other health issues that have not yet fully surfaced. If the situation doesn’t change with adjustments to diet, I’d probably get checked out by my family physician just to rule out other possibilities.
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  9. #9
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    The whole issue of recovery has been on my mind for a while also as I've had problems with this. Up to now, cycling fitness has been limited by an inability to recover properly and to thus pile up miles. I generally have not eaten much during a ride and usually have very little food in the middle of the day when not riding either. This year I determined to make an effort of eat during a ride. Food is not appealing at all but this year I've begun adding one of the many carb supplements to water bottles. It is early in my testing but so far the result has been positive. That is that after a longish ride, rather than feeling wiped out the following day, I'm actually eager to ride again. In my case I'm using Hammer products, Perpetuem and Recoverite but other products would likely work as well.

    Friel's book addresses the competitive cyclist which I am not but the advice on nutrition is applicable to all cyclists doing longer distances. For me, longer distances has been 55 to 70 miles but I'm hoping to increase that this year. As always, to increase performance, first look after the fundamentals and the rest will come barring health issues.

  10. #10
    A might bewildered... Dudelsack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by berner View Post
    Friel's book addresses the competitive cyclist which I am not but the advice on nutrition is applicable to all cyclists doing longer distances. For me, longer distances has been 55 to 70 miles but I'm hoping to increase that this year. As always, to increase performance, first look after the fundamentals and the rest will come barring health issues.
    Well, I'm an impeccable source of information on cycling nutrition. I did a 50 miler yesterday. Before the ride, I had an Egg McMuffin and two cups of Starbucks.

    At mile 25 I had a bottle of G2 and a small bag of cashews.

    I felt fine at the end but was entitled to an Arbys and a medium jamocha shake.

    It seems to work for me.

  11. #11
    Senior Member zandoval's Avatar
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    Its so individualized - Go 2 hours every day or 5 hours once a week or 3 hours every other day... Who knows...

    I have had a hard time varying my intensity - Especially if on the same course - I'm 59 and seen guys up to 14 years older burn up our local loop - And they have told me the secret...

    AVOID INJURY! Even if you have to ride every other day or even every third day...

    The 70 year olds told me its a matter of hanging onto what you already have or rather whats left because building new muscle almost dose not happen - The other thing I continually notice about these older riders is they ride very very smart...
    No matter where your at... There you are... Δf:=f(1/2)-f(-1/2)

  12. #12
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    Under my rules,
    Hard Ride = over 90% at all
    Medium Ride = Up to, but not over 90% MHR
    Easy Ride = up to, but not over 70% MHR, 1 hour or less

    To maximize benefits, hard rides are typically short - 1 to 1.5 hours and over 90% multiple times until depleted. I usually limp home from one. Hard rides are always followed up the next day with an easy ride. If I need more recovery, an off day follows. Longer rides are at the 'medium' pace, which are meant for conditioning, not for aerobic or strength training. It's okay to follow a 'medium' ride with an easy ride, too - a medium-pace ride can be pretty taxing if it's long enough.

    Note that if you do it right, easy rides will probably outnumber hard rides. I have not been following my own rules for a couple of years now; but when I did, I saw tremendous gains in speed and endurance. Rest is important, it's when you actually gain strength! This year I am going to try to follow The Plan.

  13. #13
    Council of the Elders billydonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bing181 View Post
    Hi all

    As I get older (ahem), notice that I seem to need more time for recovery. I can do up to 2 hour rides almost every day, but once I start on 3+ hour rides, find that I need not just one but often 2 days to feel "fresh" again.

    So ... accept that, and just do fewer rides, albeit longer ones, or compensate by doing more, shorter rides?

    FWIW, these are fairly solid rides, it's hilly and even mountainous where I am, so I'm usually working, one way or another.

    (BTW, this is riding and training for century-type events, though the riding part of it is and remains a pleasure.)
    Bing,
    This is something I've been thinking about lately too. Since you say you are training for "century type" events, you definitely need some long rides even though they take more out of you. Building an endurance base is pretty important. This may mean that you cannot always wait to feel "fresh" before every ride.... you'll have to ride some when you are tired. Just don't overdo it. In Friel's book (cited above) there is a section on training for centuries and also training for multi-day events. Very good stuff, and not all about racing. Also Thomas Chapple's Base Building for Cyclists is a good source.

    A medical exam with full blood workup might not be a bad idea. And get your testosterone level checked. Prescription testosterone is an option some of us have been taking.

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  14. #14
    Gios
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    Thanks all, some great input. Most of my rides are what I would think of as medium intensity, and it's almost impossible in my neck of the woods to do more than an hour with coming across some kind of climb. Longer rides invariably contain quite a lot of climbing. But sounds like I need to be a bit clearer on my hard/medium/easy focus for the various rides, and adjust recovery etc. accordingly.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Bikey Mikey's Avatar
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    I know that one can do a century having only done 65 or 70 miles as the longest, but, personally, to be comfortable, know what to expect, and know you CAN do it, I think at least 80 miles should be done beforehand. I did 80+ and I did a solo century, actually 108 miles--I then knew I could do it and knew what to expect, how I'd feel, eating, drinking. I think having done the long distances and the solo century made my TdC:Hampton roads century much more enjoyable and probably easier than if I had only done 60 or 70 as a max while preparing.
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  16. #16
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    bing-I'm right there with you. I do a good number of longer training rides on weekends and shorter higher intensity rides a couple times a week. I've remarked to my cycling friends that I don't seem to recover as quickly as I used to. I drink a good recovery drink after workouts so I feel like I'm doing all the right things with nutrition, hydration recovery etc. I recall doing 7 really hilly centuries on consecutive weekends a few years ago and was fully recovered for each one. Now I think I'd have to skip every other weekend. I do think age has something to do with it.
    Ride your Ride!!

  17. #17
    Gios
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    Yes, that's what I'm feeling ... when I look at what I was doing regularly even a few years back, I notice a difference. Not a huge difference, but a difference all the same.

    Anyway ... alls you can do is alls you can do.

  18. #18
    johnliu@earthlink.net jyl's Avatar
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    I did STP last year (100 miles/day for 2 consecutive days) with my longest training ride just 50 miles. It was fine. My average speed for day 1 was the same as my average for the last training ride, and day two was only 1 mph slower. The trick was that at the end of the 50 mile training rides, I had to feel pretty fresh, no major fatigue, nothing hurting, would be happy to get back on the bike. Then on the actual ride, I didn't get fatigued until about mile 70-80, and by then you only have to push on for another 20-30 miles.

    I'm not advising against doing 80 mile training rides, but my point is that if time is limited, you don't absolutely have to do them.

    You do have to learn to eat on the ride, though. You can perhaps do 50 miles without eating but it'd be bad to find out on the real ride that your bonk point is mile 60. Also you need enough saddle time to be confident that your nethers can go the distance.
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