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Old 12-12-05, 05:04 PM   #1
Jarery
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Training while commuting ?

Hey Folks

I've read numerous posts by many well informed folks on here, like Danno, and others. And as they all point out, once you've gotten to a certain level you need to add a more structured routine in order to continue progressing once you hit a plateau.

I've gone from 195 lbs, down to 165 lbs and my cardio is much improved. Im at a point weight wise im happy with, but would like to get much more toning and just overall fitness improvment. So im a candidate for a more structured training program.

Unfortunatly all the training programs/schedules ive seen have a lot of rest days, long ride days, short but intense interval days, etc. Which is wonderfull if I did my cycling after work. But I commute to work and home via bike and thats the ONLY way i can personally find the time to do it. I also find it impossible to come up with an excuse to not do my exercise that day when im at work and HAVE to cycle to get home

Anyone have any good results or ideas on how to mix up a daily commute of a set distance into something I can get max benefit from ?

My current commute is 18 miles, with one 600 ft climb in morning (early in route) and 2 - 600 ft climbs on way home (middle and very end). The morning and first evening climb are prolly 5-8% and the last evening climb is about 12-15% grade. Each route is about a 1 hour commute, and i do it each way 5 days a week. In the summer i also do weekend longer runs, but winter its pretty much mon-fri only.

Any help appreciated
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Old 12-12-05, 05:12 PM   #2
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I had a similar ride 20 miles each way with only 450 feet of climbing - it turned me into a diesel engine (no top end, but I could go all day)- kept me very lean, but I eventually lost my power. I think it is OK for maintaining my pack fill status, but commuting took more out of me than I realized. I was sort of run down all the time. I sure someone is crazy enough to work intervals into a commute, but not me. It was about getting to and from work in one piece.
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Old 12-12-05, 05:45 PM   #3
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I can only make a couple simple suggestions, as somebody with similar goals.

First, the closest I can come to a rest day is just to spin or noodle real easy on my commute. I have a much shorter route than you do, so it's a lot easier for me to rest when I need to.

Second, to some extent you can try to periodize your commute. That is, select a goal for, say, six weeks, and work on that while you ride to work. For example, I have greatly increased my average cadence by gearing down and concentrating on spinning faster while commuting. You might be able to get your average cadence faster by 8 or 10 rpms in a six week training period. I have also done intervals while commuting, and worked on sprinting and strength work. Or I have used a six week period just to pratice a variety of bike handling techniques, improving coordination.

I know this isn't very sophisticated training advice, but it's the best I've been able to come up with given the realities of commuting. Hope it helps a bit!
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Old 12-12-05, 05:48 PM   #4
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Or put two or three more pounds of weight in a backpack every week for six weeks. Especially with thos hills you've got, this will develop strength and endurance without increasing the length of your rides.
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Old 12-14-05, 12:50 PM   #5
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Also in a similar situation, 20 miles each way but no hills and I only commute 2X/week. But, I do typically have a fairly stiff headwind on the way home. I try to do some different things such as intervals. Sometimes going full bore for seconds at a time, othertimes just picking up the pace for minutes at a time. Sometimes I just cruise recovery style. The hills alone offer a variety of opportunies for you such as trying to stand the whole hill, spin fast, spin slow (40-60 rpm's - you will great a great burn.) You could also take the long way home to add some mileage. I would review some posts by folks like Danno, take some of the suggestions you've received here and see how to best incorporate them into a program.

Good luck.
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Old 12-14-05, 01:11 PM   #6
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I've got a much shorter commute than you (9 mile roundtrip), which gives me a lot more flexibility. On the other hand, it gives me more opportunity for laziness.

What's worked for me is twice a week (M/W), I go early and do a 30 mile tempo "detour." Tuesdays and Thursdays, I'll sprint for the lights or turn a leg into a 10 mile TT. Fridays are easy spinning. Saturday is the hard group ride. Sunday is an off day or an easy ride with the kids.

Not particularly scientific and Johann isn't exactly breaking down my door to ask me to sign with Team Discovery. But it's better than nothing.
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Old 12-14-05, 01:24 PM   #7
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Ya, I try to go harder many times, increase my tempo etc.
I guess where I'm having a hard time adjusting my commute to something more like a training program, is the part where its pretty much impossible to do a rest day or recovery ride, without resorting to my car.

My hills have parts where I cant spin up for nothing with my current bikes gearing. I have to stand and hammer for a few blocks each way. Add in the heavy bike with full panniers and im getting a high heart rate. Also if i try to go too slow, well it takes me forever to get home. So i really only have 2 levels of effort, fast and full out.

I can slow down my way home, or speed up both routes, but my 'slow' ride day still seems way out of range of a recovery ride style.

I guess adding in 1-2 days a week where i go full out for a min, rest 3, repeat 5-6 times near last section of my ride would be about best i can hope for.
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Old 12-14-05, 01:28 PM   #8
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Didn't Eddy get strong as a kid making deliveries on an old, heavy single speed? I thought that was the story....
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