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  1. #1
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    Eating, Training, and Improving

    Sorry if this has been hashed over and over. I couldn't figure out what to search for to see if it had already been covered. If you want to answer by telling me to search for thus and so, just let me know.

    I commute to work on my bike 4-5 days/week (right now, 7 miles each way). Then on Sat., I try to go out for a longer ride (25-50 miles). I ride a giant uplander from 99 (kind of a mountain bike/hybrid hybrid if that makes sense). I enjoy riding and want to get better, but my question is how?

    I usually average 16 mph or so on the way to work. I can cruise at 19-20 mph with no sweat on the flats with no wind. Downhill is 20-22 mph. When I go uphill, my legs just feel like they give out. I don't have much oomph behind them. How can I help this out? I've been trying to push the bigger gears longer up the hills....this has helped out my cruising speed, but not really helped me get better going up hill.

    My goals....I want to be able to ride 50 miles or so on a Sat with an average speed of 17-20 mph.
    I want to be able to do a century (at least one per year) starting next year.
    I'd also like to be able to feel like I could participate in events like this: http://www.nationalmssociety.org/var...p=10765&e=6657 (I don't mind it being a challenge, but I doubt I could do it now in a reasonable amount of time).

    Oh, I currently weigh 230lbs. I want to get down to 200 by the end of the year. This means part of the point of me riding is loosing weight (it's tough though...I like to eat)

    Any siggestions?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjmaxx
    I usually average 16 mph or so on the way to work. I can cruise at 19-20 mph with no sweat on the flats with no wind. Downhill is 20-22 mph. When I go uphill, my legs just feel like they give out. I don't have much oomph behind them. How can I help this out? I've been trying to push the bigger gears longer up the hills....this has helped out my cruising speed, but not really helped me get better going up hill.
    You're doing fine. Might want to take it slower on the weekend and ride 40-50miles in a single day. That 2-3rd hour is where you really burn up the calories and fat.

    As for being faster on the hills, you need to push harder and ride faster, not push bigger gears. That is, you want to pace yourself so that at the top of the hill, you're completely blown up and at max-heartrate, then recover on the way down the other side. The idea is to go from the bottom to the top as fast as possible at a steady pace. So if you've been pushing 12mph up a certain hill and don't blow up at the top, maybe use one gear lower and go 13mph and be completely spent at the top. Pace every single hill so that you're dead at the top and you'll find yourself much, much faster on the hills in a couple months.

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    Thanks for the info!

  4. #4
    KDB
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    +1 to Mothra

    I started out at about 230 lbs a little over 2 years ago. I now bounce from 185-190 and want to get down to 170-175; so you are on the right track. As Mothra pointed out, you are ready to push to higher levels of intensity. You can do this by riding longer and/or by riding your current rides at a faster, more challenging pace.

    For me, a 7 mile ride wouldn't do much. It's not "bad" in any way, but about the time you are done (say 30 minutes or less) is about the time you begin really burning some calories. Can you add to these communting rides? That is, can you leave earlier and take a longer route to work; making the ride more like 1 hour? Then do the same on the way home. Also, can you "sprint" the commute? I don't know if the route makes it possible, but can you reach 20+ mph and sustain it for the entire commute?

    Also, I suggest you start to keep a food log. Write down what you eat along with the rough proportions. You can then get a calorie counting book or find this info on line. The idea is to get a handle on how many calories and the source of those calories. Once you have this information, you can start to make some changes that move you towards lower calorie foods and healthier ones. For example, I have completely given up on all sports drinks and even juices in favor of water. This simple change has cut about 300 calories from day's total calories.
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    I know what you mean about the commute. I just get warmed up real good by the time I get to work. I'm looking into some alt. routes that would make the ride more (It would be about 20 miles). I'm going to start that on my ride home.

    "Sprinting" isn't really an option on the rides to work. Too many stoplights

    Thanksfor the idea on the food log. I'll visit wal-mart today (perhaps tomorrow if they aren't open on the 4th of July) and see if I can get a little notebook type thing I can carry with me.

  6. #6
    KDB
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    The two times in my life that I have lost a lot of weight (once in high school and the recent time) I was very "religious" about keeping a food log. You have to be honest with yourself and put everything in and the accurate amounts (you don't have to be exact, but as an example: a bowl of cereal is usually a lot more than 1 cup and most of the nutrition guides on the side panels of the box give a serving as 1/2 or 2/3 of a cup. So you can trick yourself a bit if you're not careful, figuring a bowl of cereal at the 190 calories listed on the side panel, when, in fact you've just had 570 calories plus the calories in the milk).

    Once you get a good sense of how many calories you are consuming, you can begin looking for ways to substitute healthier and lower calorie (not always the same thing) foods for some of what you have been eating. You can also set a reasonable calorie goal and begin to work on the balance of carbs, proteins, and fats. Combined with the bike rides, all of the above really works, but it does take effort to stay with it.

    Good luck and keep posting your progress.
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  7. #7
    Faster but still slow slowandsteady's Avatar
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    "Sprinting" isn't really an option on the rides to work. Too many stoplights
    I believe they call that interval training.

    Also, find a different route. Try http://www.gmap-pedometer.com

    With a little trial and error you should be able to eliminate some lights.

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    Just thought I would update everyone. Last week, I not only rode more, but I added going faster up hills. Man...what a workout! So far, I've been guessing wrong (I start off too fast and can't keep it up all the way), but I'm getting better.

    As for routes, here are some posts I have made over on my blog with route information if anyone is curious. BTW, if anyone in Richmond is out there, I'll take suggestions for better routes (I use the gmap-pedometer site all the time but it doesn't mark lights, stopsigns, etc....).

    http://www.maxsons.org/modules.php?n...article&sid=97
    http://www.maxsons.org/modules.php?n...article&sid=95
    http://www.maxsons.org/modules.php?n...article&sid=87
    http://www.maxsons.org/modules.php?n...article&sid=76

    Here is my current commute route:
    http://www.maxsons.org/modules.php?n...=article&sid=7

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjmaxx
    "Sprinting" isn't really an option on the rides to work. Too many stoplights
    Looks like you're doing fine. If you blow up too early on the hills, at least you're working hard and hitting your max. Before long, you'll be able to hold that pace all the way to the top.

    As for doing speedwork on the commute, it's quite easy, make a game out of it. If you're stopped at a light, see how fast you can accelerate to the 1st sign after the light and try to beat it each time. If there's a bus-stop sign 50m after the light, as soon as it turns green, sprint for it and see if you can break 35mph. Then next time around, try to beat that speed. When a light looks like it's gonna turn red, sprint as fast as you can to hit the intersection before it turns yellow. If there's a 1-mile stretch, try to see if you can break 2:30 to cover that distance, then try to beat it the next time. Draft off city-buses and try to hang with them all the way to the next stop. Doesnt' matter what your commute looks like, you can always incorporate as much speedwork as necessary.

  10. #10
    Isaias NoRacer's Avatar
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    Going hard up the hills all of the time will get you "overtrained" or at least push you into a catabolism. After many sessions of high intensity hill climbs, you won't be stronger, you'll be weaker because you may start to break down your muscle tissue. You feel like you are getting better--likely your body is just becoming more tolerant to the lactic acid.

    To get better, you need to spend long sessions in the saddle building an aerobic base. You refrain from reaching above your lactate threshold, because this will only stifle or damage the aerobic base.

    If you want to race, then worry about high intensity sessions AFTER months of establishing an aerobic base.
    2009 mileage = 14,738 miles; 2010 mileage = 15,234 miles; 2011 mileage = 17,344 miles; 2012 mileage = 11,414 miles; 2013 = 12,169

  11. #11
    Wheee LilSprocket's Avatar
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    tj - I did the MS150 here in FL in May https://www.nationalmssociety.org//F...MS120060506BKL

    my profile has a closer pic.

    Prior to the event, got my road bike 1/06, I'd only done 3 - 50 mile rides and a coupla 30's, commuting most weekdays since 11/05. Notice the big fellow in the pic, he is fairly new to riding and commuting too and did the whole thing.

    We stopped breifly at each rest stop, to catch some shade, a pb&j, fruit, refill the water/gatorade, stretch, may be 10 mins tops...
    The volunteer support can't be beat. It was awesome! A great weekend of riding for a great cause.
    This Sunday, I'll be doing a metric for another great cause http://www.geocities.com/johnkwas40/fsr15.html

    All the best to you! You CAN do it!
    If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning.
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  12. #12
    Isaias NoRacer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoRacer
    Going hard up the hills all of the time will get you "overtrained" or at least push you into a catabolism. After many sessions of high intensity hill climbs, you won't be stronger, you'll be weaker because you may start to break down your muscle tissue. You feel like you are getting better--likely your body is just becoming more tolerant to the lactic acid.

    To get better, you need to spend long sessions in the saddle building an aerobic base. You refrain from reaching above your lactate threshold, because this will only stifle or damage the aerobic base.

    If you want to race, then worry about high intensity sessions AFTER months of establishing an aerobic base.
    There many links like this that support putting in an aerobic base, especially if you are new to exercise:

    Training Theory

    Training with a Purpose
    2009 mileage = 14,738 miles; 2010 mileage = 15,234 miles; 2011 mileage = 17,344 miles; 2012 mileage = 11,414 miles; 2013 = 12,169

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoRacer
    Going hard up the hills all of the time will get you "overtrained" or at least push you into a catabolism. After many sessions of high intensity hill climbs, you won't be stronger, you'll be weaker because you may start to break down your muscle tissue. You feel like you are getting better--likely your body is just becoming more tolerant to the lactic acid.

    To get better, you need to spend long sessions in the saddle building an aerobic base. You refrain from reaching above your lactate threshold, because this will only stifle or damage the aerobic base.

    If you want to race, then worry about high intensity sessions AFTER months of establishing an aerobic base.
    +1.

    High intensity training gives you headroom above your aerobic base. It doesn't increase your aerobic base, and as NoRacer notes, it can damage your aerobic base.

    Intervals are to be approach with caution. Note that the interval isn't what makes you better, you get better on the recovery days.
    Eric

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    Read my cycling blog at http://riderx.info/blogs/riderx
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  14. #14
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    Thanks for the feedback everyone.

    Mothra, I never thought about doing games like that. Riding by myself, I try games to keep me thinking and working. I'll do things like "can I keep my speed above X going up this hill", "how long can I pedal and keep my current speed above the average", that sort of thing.

    Tomorrow on my ride, I'll keep an eye out for opportunities to do short sprints, etc....

    NoRacer....I don't think I'm into racing (although, I would be curious where I compare). You mention "Long sessions in the saddle building an aerobic base". How long would that be? What should I be shooting for?

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