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  1. #1
    Senior Member claire's Avatar
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    Training questions

    Hi,
    I'm posting in this forum because my main goal is PBP and I like doing 200 km+ rides.
    I've got two questions about training:
    I've been cycling a lot this year (I think I've got about 18,000 km for the year), I was in a decent shape until about november, I started decreasing the mileage around there (doing about 200 km a week including commuting), and now I'm in a terrible shape! On the last two rides I did (one two weeks ago and one today) I was really struggling on the hills, much more than usual. Is it possible to get out of shape so quickly, or is it that I over-did it this year? And how do I get back in shape? I wanted to start interval training in january but considering how unfit I am right now, it might be useless!
    And my other question: how do you train for long distance events with limited free time? I'm started to think that it's going to be difficult dealing with PBP training, work and boyfriend all in the same time!
    By the way, happy new year to all of you!
    Claire

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by claire
    Hi,
    I'm posting in this forum because my main goal is PBP and I like doing 200 km+ rides.
    I've got two questions about training:
    I've been cycling a lot this year (I think I've got about 18,000 km for the year), I was in a decent shape until about november, I started decreasing the mileage around there (doing about 200 km a week including commuting), and now I'm in a terrible shape! On the last two rides I did (one two weeks ago and one today) I was really struggling on the hills, much more than usual. Is it possible to get out of shape so quickly, or is it that I over-did it this year? And how do I get back in shape? I wanted to start interval training in january but considering how unfit I am right now, it might be useless!
    And my other question: how do you train for long distance events with limited free time? I'm started to think that it's going to be difficult dealing with PBP training, work and boyfriend all in the same time!
    By the way, happy new year to all of you!
    Claire
    First of all... get rid of the boyfriend (I *am* joking, but his support is going to be important if you are to do the qualifiers and get to PBP -- and he can't be that high-maintenance, can he?)

    Yes, your conditioning can drop off. I've hardly done any riding since BMB, and the last two centuries a month I have done haven't exactly been fast nor totally comfortable. And "hills" were a bit of a struggle on the last one.

    But I don't think endurance conditioning drops off dramatically in the timeframe you are talking about, and if you have done randonnees before and with the distance you travelled during the year, you probably will slip back into the distance rides without too many endurance problems. There is a possibility you were jaded from the year's riding, and the rest will probably do you the world of good.

    The thing is, I suppose, is to get out there and and do it! Get some Long Steady Distance endurance riding started. If you are commuting as well, that helps. Late January you would probably start to look at increasing your intensity... shorter rides but at a higher pace, but avoid overdoing it initially. Get into riding those hills regularly, too... they form there own interval training program without you really noticing it. In February and March you would start increasing the intensity of your short rides, and throw in a couple of long rides (160-plus) each month.

    Much depends on how you are structuring your qualifiers, too. I suppose you will be looking at March or April to start, and I think RUSA, unlike other countries, seems to insist on you doing the qualifiers in distance order (from 200 upwards)... so that will help you ramp up the distances as well.

    This is all on the premise that you are limited in time, and that you don't particularly like structured training programs. AND it all depends on how fast you want to finish PBP (55 hours or mid-80s?).
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  3. #3
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    I'll answer the last part of your question ...

    I knew a man and a woman who went to the 2003 PBP with very little training ... they were fellow club members of mine. They rode the qualifiers, and a few other rides of varying lengths. That's it. I had completed the suggested 5000 miles before I started the PBP. He had probably about 3000 miles, and she added up her miles while standing next to me in the check-in area of the PBP. She had overheard someone say something about riding 5000 miles before the PBP, and turned to me with a look of horror ... "I don't think I've ridden anywhere near that!" She did a quick calculation ... she had ridden so few rides she could remember each one ... and came up with about 2000 miles.

    The two of them finished the PBP about an hour before me, and both rode well. I struggled through it ... and they both seemed quite comfortable out there.

    Now I'm not suggesting that you sit back and do basically nothing, but if other aspects of life take over now and then, it's not the end of the world.

    Prior to the 2003 PBP, from January to the end of May, I was working full-time+ (about 45-50 hours a week) and attending a very intense night class. I rode a century each month, and from January to the end of March, I tried to get on my trainer for about an hour 3 times a week -- that was all the time I could afford. In April, I started riding the qualifiers on the weekends, and was commuting regularly during the week (a short commute). I basically continued that pattern right up to the PBP ... long rides on the weekends, short more intense rides during the week. And that seemed to work quite well for me, while allowing me time to do other things.

    I won't be able to use that pattern this year because my commute is 65 kms, round trip ... not exactly a short ride!! So I'm going to have to figure out something else that will work.

  4. #4
    Senior Member claire's Avatar
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    Thanks to both of you for the advice! I've been pretty low on motivation these last couple of weeks but I'm starting to feel better!

    To Rowan: it will be my first PBP so I just want to finish it in 90 hours. I'm planning to do the 200 at the end of march, so my main goal of the winter is being able to do it without suffering too much! Also, my boyfriend is a cyclist, too, so I think he'll understand.

    On jan.6th there is the official presentation of PBP in Paris. I'll go and do a report for all those interested.

  5. #5
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by claire
    Thanks to both of you for the advice! I've been pretty low on motivation these last couple of weeks but I'm starting to feel better!
    I know exactly how you feel!! My motivation for anything cycling-related basically died around the end of October, and I've done two centuries and 1 hour on my trainer since. It didn't help that I haven't been well in that time either. About a month ago, I had basically decided to take this coming year off long distance cycling all together, but gradually my motivation is coming back and I'm sitting at about 75% for going to the PBP and about 25% for not going to the PBP.

    I suspect that those of us who are heavily involved in long distance cycling run the risk of overtraining and becoming burned out from time to time, and I also suspect that every now and then it might actually be beneficial to take some time off the bicycle for a while ... it helps to renew our love of cycling!

  6. #6
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    March is a while away and August even further.

    There was one British lady who completed the last PBP with minimal distance. She totalled less than 2000km for the year by the PBP start line (takes 1500km to qualify). I wouldn't recommend that method, it took a lot of determination...

  7. #7
    Senior Member Richard Cranium's Avatar
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    Claire, we can't wait for your report........ How is it, you came to be in Paris? Your obviously not French.

  8. #8
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    For what it's worth...

    I just starting cycling a yr ago when I bought a bike and started training for a charity ride that ran 550 miles over 6 days (100 degrees F. every day) I had a pretty full schedule and only did 1500 miles prior to the ride but I substituted high intensity short rides of typically just 13 miles, always trying to improve my ave. speed. I had only done two centuries prior to the ride but ave. almost a century a day for six days. This may not have been the text book training program but actually, given the limited time available, worked very well for me. This yr. I'm prepping for a 274 mile ride in a day. I'm hoping to get more base in this yr. but probably won't ride more than 150 miles in a given day (200 at the most) in order to prepare. If I run short of time again, I'm going back to the interval type of intensity as a substitute for the LSD. Long slow distance.
    "Whoever wants to reach a distant goal must take many small steps" -Helmut
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    The Octopus posted a very interesting analsys just recently on another thread, and even though it was more akin to RAAM training, it still has some pertinent points in it for shorter long-distance riding.

    The point, I suppose, is that you don't have to ride replica distances for the event your are doing in training. But the base long, steady distance riding is important to be able to condition yourself to ride constantly for 24 hours or more before a sleep break/rest. It also gives you that oppoortunity to sort out the dealbreaker issues with your bike and you -- comfort, mainly, but also rehydration and refuelling.

    The intensity rides are what will improve your speed, but we all know that racers over shorter distances of say 70 miles may not sustain over 24 hours of constant riding (at lower pace, obviously) because their bodies aren't necessarily attuned to that sort of endurance.

    The qualifiers for PBP over successively longer distances or just completion of an SR series means you are ramping up your distances every month or so, anyway, without having to ride those distances by yourself.

    So more intensity training in between also is logical if you want improved speed or (linked to that) more sleep time on an event, or to have something in store if something goes wrong with you, your bike or the weather.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  10. #10
    Senior Member claire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Cranium
    Claire, we can't wait for your report........ How is it, you came to be in Paris? Your obviously not French.
    He he he he...
    I am french and parisian, actually... Lived in Toronto and England for 6 years and now back home. And by the way, if any of the PBPers need help with anything involving speaking french or for travel arrangements to Paris I'll be happy to help. Unfortunately I live in a very small flat in Paris so I won't be able to offer accomodation before the ride!

  11. #11
    Senior Member Marcello's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by claire
    Hi,
    I'm posting in this forum because my main goal is PBP and I like doing 200 km+ rides.
    Did you visit the French PBP forum at http://parisbrestparis2007.actifforum.com/index.forum ? They have some interesting discussion, which I don't always understand (my French is very limited). For example, one of the threads talks about the pros and cons of the various start times for someone who lives in town. It may be worth checking.

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