best way to track progress?
I'm relatively new to cycling, so the question I have is how to best track progress and results. I'm wanting to be able to show the progress I've made since knee surgery. I rode ~25 this evening on an old mb I have had for about 7 yrs.
I want to be able to write notes about how my knee did.
Anyone have any clues?
Good for you.
As for keeping track have a diary. Any form you like from a little pink book to a computer program. I would think the best would be a notebook where you could log you trips: distance, time, what you ate and drank. Make sure you leave room for how you felt and other personal stuff.
Excel spreadsheets are ideal for this. You can record everything you want (even the number of birds you saw). Take a column or two and stretch them really wide for things like how you felt, etc.
But, I would agree with the above. Record it anywhere that you are comfortable with. Just make sure that you make it so that the information is accessible when you want to look at it.
Also, don't get obsessed with average speed as an indication of progress. It is only good as a very broad measure (over months). Short-term, there are too many other factors (windy, hills, traffic) to make it worthwhile. Distance, what you did (hills, flats, etc.), quality of ride, how you felt, are much better indicators.
Jamie's advice about average speed is right on. Unless your training for the big race, average speed is only a good marker over time. I ride with a friend who insists on equaling or bettering his average speed each time he rides, regardless of conditions. It makes for a miserable finish to a nice ride when he doesn't accomplish his goal.
I use an Excell Spreadsheet to track everything, but also back it up with Bike ProLog, which is a free service on the internet (bikeprolog.com). On the spreadsheet I track time, distance, average speed, my route, and any notes (e.g., weather conditions, strange noises coming from the bike, cool things I saw along the way, etc.). I also use the spreadsheet to track my weight and body fat (post-ride) to look for fitness trends. I love manipulating all the data and making graphs to track my progress in all these different areas.
To support my average speed assertion, i offer the following comparison:
A ride on essentially flat terrain will allow you to go a very consistent speed. Your average might even be close to the speed you see while actually riding.
But, a ride with a lot of hills will be made up of long slow ascents and descents that are equally long in distance, but much shorter in time. The time lost on the ascent is rarely regained on the equivalent descent. Hence such a ride will produce a lower average speed.
I'll leave it to you to judge which ride produced the harder workout.
But, of course, many of us frequently ride the same routes. Except for wind, the average can be a useful comparison here.