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Training & Nutrition Learn how to develop a training schedule that's good for you. What should you eat and drink on your ride? Learn everything you need to know about training and nutrition here.

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Old 09-10-06, 08:22 PM   #1
backinthesaddle
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getting to the next level

I've been riding for a year now. Over the past two months I've hit a level where I can cycle 50 miles without getting very tired, and can climb 1000 - 1500 feet without huffing and puffing.

But I'm slow. Everyone passes me.

I'd like to be stronger/faster. I think the answer at this stage is more interval training, fewer of the long slow rides that I did to develop endurance.

Any specific suggestions??

As additional info: I'm 5' 9'' and weigh (now) 195. I've lost inches but only 5 lbs in the last year. I think losing weight would help, but so far instead of losing of just been melting fat and adding muscle. Many years ago in my cycling prime I weighed 155.
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Old 09-10-06, 09:08 PM   #2
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Intervals. And losing fat always helps.
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Old 09-11-06, 01:29 PM   #3
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Start racing.

Or start riding with guys who race.
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Old 09-11-06, 02:11 PM   #4
backinthesaddle
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Originally Posted by VosBike
Start racing.

Or start riding with guys who race.
thanks, that's a good idea, I just didn't think I'm ready for it yet, but maybe I'll give it a try (riding with them, not racing)
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Old 09-11-06, 02:44 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by backinthesaddle
thanks, that's a good idea, I just didn't think I'm ready for it yet, but maybe I'll give it a try (riding with them, not racing)
A good training plan is the best way to get to the next level. Sounds like you have a decent cycling base.

I would highly recommend picking up book “The Cyclists Training Bible”. I picked this up a couple of years ago and it really helped improve my cycling:

http://www2.trainingbible.com/about.htm
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Old 09-11-06, 03:37 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by backinthesaddle
I've been riding for a year now. Over the past two months I've hit a level where I can cycle 50 miles without getting very tired, and can climb 1000 - 1500 feet without huffing and puffing.

But I'm slow. Everyone passes me.

I'd like to be stronger/faster. I think the answer at this stage is more interval training, fewer of the long slow rides that I did to develop endurance.

Any specific suggestions??

As additional info: I'm 5' 9'' and weigh (now) 195. I've lost inches but only 5 lbs in the last year. I think losing weight would help, but so far instead of losing of just been melting fat and adding muscle. Many years ago in my cycling prime I weighed 155.
Intervals will help you get faster, as will things like hill repeat intervals. Tempo riding - where you ride at a higher-than normal pace for anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes - is also good for helping you get better at dealing with the lactic acid. There are specific HR ranges for this, but generally a tempo ride is one where you are riding a fairly fast cadence, your legs are hurting but not dying, and you are breathing hard but you can keep it up for that amount of time.

This is the first year I've consistently used a heart rate monitor and a real program, and it's worked fairly well for me. Knowing what HR ranges I should ride in for a given benefit is useful.

I also regularly ride with a group where some people are faster than me, but be careful doing that or racing this time of year. Everybody is pretty much at their peak right now - you want to hit them in March when they're still asleep a bit.

Finally, if you aren't dropping a lot of weight, look at your on-bike and recovery nutrition. I'm convinced that if you aim to replace the carbs you burn along the way and soon after the ride, you won't be hungry and can go without replacing the fat. I'm an accelerade/endurox guy but everybody has the drink that works for them.

Good luck.
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Old 09-11-06, 04:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ericgu
Intervals will help you get faster, as will things like hill repeat intervals. Tempo riding - where you ride at a higher-than normal pace for anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes - is also good for helping you get better at dealing with the lactic acid. There are specific HR ranges for this, but generally a tempo ride is one where you are riding a fairly fast cadence, your legs are hurting but not dying, and you are breathing hard but you can keep it up for that amount of time.

This is the first year I've consistently used a heart rate monitor and a real program, and it's worked fairly well for me. Knowing what HR ranges I should ride in for a given benefit is useful.

I also regularly ride with a group where some people are faster than me, but be careful doing that or racing this time of year. Everybody is pretty much at their peak right now - you want to hit them in March when they're still asleep a bit.

Finally, if you aren't dropping a lot of weight, look at your on-bike and recovery nutrition. I'm convinced that if you aim to replace the carbs you burn along the way and soon after the ride, you won't be hungry and can go without replacing the fat. I'm an accelerade/endurox guy but everybody has the drink that works for them.

Good luck.
All good suggestions, thanks!

I don't have a heart rate monitor as I thought it wasn't really useful for builidng up endurance, which is what I was primarily doing until now, but I may break down and get one now to "get to the next level". It looks like it will be really helpful, although maybe not absolutely essential, for interval training and tempo rides.
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Old 09-12-06, 11:45 AM   #8
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intervals can put you in a cycle of storing fat if you
don't radically change diet and do exactly what you
know you need to do (follow a strict athlete diet)
to lose that baggage. the fat has to go first !!!!

to make it easier to lose fat with less radical diet
change...

spend long hours in the saddle (3 at least) 3x weekly and focus on 100rpm
all the time, not overall speed. this should be aerobic -just below lactate-
training. this regimen burns more body fat while riding and in the hours
after a ride than intervals will do. also drink sports beverage during these
rides.

if you have the time, spend 2 months
just doing occasional hard sprints and intervals, but do a load of rides
with no big surges, just spin your butt off a lot and get a sweat going
that you can maintain all day. this will melt fat fast.

then when at desired weight (you should be 155) hammer away.

it'll all come together once the blubber is gone.

big weight loss tip: drink protein shake right before bedtime after a ride day.
or a can of tuna. or any -clean naked protein- like boiled chicken no skin.
nothing else. body will work the protein and burn some fat calories while
putting the muscle fibers back up.
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Old 09-13-06, 07:40 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edzo
intervals can put you in a cycle of storing fat if you
don't radically change diet and do exactly what you
know you need to do (follow a strict athlete diet)
to lose that baggage. the fat has to go first !!!!

to make it easier to lose fat with less radical diet
change...

spend long hours in the saddle (3 at least) 3x weekly and focus on 100rpm
all the time, not overall speed. this should be aerobic -just below lactate-
training. this regimen burns more body fat while riding and in the hours
after a ride than intervals will do. also drink sports beverage during these
rides.

if you have the time, spend 2 months
just doing occasional hard sprints and intervals, but do a load of rides
with no big surges, just spin your butt off a lot and get a sweat going
that you can maintain all day. this will melt fat fast.

then when at desired weight (you should be 155) hammer away.

it'll all come together once the blubber is gone.

big weight loss tip: drink protein shake right before bedtime after a ride day.
or a can of tuna. or any -clean naked protein- like boiled chicken no skin.
nothing else. body will work the protein and burn some fat calories while
putting the muscle fibers back up.

I'm doing some of this. Spent the last 2 months doing a lot of long slow rides. Much fat has melted, little weight has gone off.

Drinking sport drinks when riding, drinking protein shakes 2 x /day including late at night.

But work schedule demands I cut out the long rides for the next month, which is why I thought I would use the next month for interval training, especially as my goal right now is to develop speed and faster cadence, not endurance. Don't understand why you say this can put me in a cycle of storing fat??
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Old 09-13-06, 08:50 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by backinthesaddle
All good suggestions, thanks!

I don't have a heart rate monitor as I thought it wasn't really useful for builidng up endurance, which is what I was primarily doing until now, but I may break down and get one now to "get to the next level". It looks like it will be really helpful, although maybe not absolutely essential, for interval training and tempo rides.
I find that the HR monitor is really useful for building up endurance, as it keeps me from riding too hard.
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Old 09-18-06, 05:10 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by backinthesaddle
Don't understand why you say this can put me in a cycle of storing fat??
it can, I ain't saying it will. sometime intervals only will starve the body...make you more tired... and you'll want to chow down more food to compensate. it can happen. but if you watch what you do then it won't.
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Old 09-18-06, 11:57 AM   #12
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Yeah, intervals burn 100% glycogen/carbs since they're so intense. It's actually possible to deplete your body and bonk much faster doing intervals than anything else; in less than 90-minute ride. Doing this a lot makes your body thinks it's in scarcity and famine and will start hoarding fat. You have to make sure you eat enough during and for recovery, but not so much that you get extra calories. It's a numbers game.
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Old 10-09-06, 08:47 AM   #13
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Go vegetarian.
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Old 10-09-06, 08:32 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ddessent
Go vegetarian.
I'm already vegetarian for personal reasons. If I really wanted to make weight loss top priority I'd switch to a fish / lean chicken diet. But I'm satisfied with my weight loss progression, right now I just want to get stronger/faster.
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Old 10-10-06, 05:51 AM   #15
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sorry to "thread-jack," but what does one do to bring it to "the next level" if one is struggling to keep one's ribs from showing?
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Old 10-10-06, 01:00 PM   #16
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What do you mean by "one is struggling to keep one's ribs from showing"? Like you're getting too thin with losing fat & muscle? Losing muscle is detrimental to performance as to maintain your current speeds, you'll be overloading smaller & weaker muscles. Go to the gym and do strength/weight-training to build those atrophied muscles back up. This really is a concern for road-racers who do a lot of mileage in training and racing. They end up using up some muscle for energy. It's also a concern for low-calorie dieters who get close to the edge of bonking all the time.

If by "next level", you mean breaking out of a plateau, then you need to change your training regimen. If all you do is ride at 15mph mile-after-mile, day-after-day for weeks on end, that's going to be your average AND maximum speed as well. There's no amount of riding at 15mph that will ever increase your speed to 16mph. In order to do that, you need to do interval sat 18-22mph, sprints at 25-35mph, etc. Sure, if you ride 15,000 miles/year at 15mph, you may get up to 16mph, but that's because coincidentally during thost 15,000 miles, you may have jumped for a street-light or chased down a knave. It's those sporadic moments above 15mph that gave you the improvements. Rather than doing it accidentally, you can plan to incorporate intervals & sprints into your training intentionally.
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Old 10-10-06, 01:08 PM   #17
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...or chased down a knave.
You could incorporate knave chasing into your daily workout arsenal.
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Old 10-24-06, 05:32 AM   #18
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Best way to improve is to ride with cyclists who are faster than you.

Bob
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Old 10-29-06, 07:25 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ericgu
...generally a tempo ride is one where you are riding a fairly fast cadence, your legs are hurting but not dying, and you are breathing hard but you can keep it up for that amount of time.
If you've been riding slow-n-steady for a long time, you may find it hard to consistently motivate yourself for tempo or LT training. Find out about local rides with racer-type people. For me, riding with a fast group gives me the necessary ego/adrenaline I need to push myself harder than usual, even if it means I get dropped Or, if you live near a park or some other place that is popular with cyclists, try tagging along with a fast group and see if you can keep up.
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Old 10-30-06, 08:45 AM   #20
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A slow start but try picking a familiar straight-away that's flat, say a mile long. Your familiar rides may even have several of these. During those straight-aways try sprinting by gradually increasing your cadence. The straight-away assumes you're in a comfortable gear. By increasing your cadence you will automatically increase speed. Go at high cadence for a while and then settle back. If you continue doing this over time, you will be able to increase the time in a high cadence mode.

It does another thing...form. By increasing cadence, you need to make sure that you have no excess body movement. The legs are moving pretty quick but your butt should not be rocking from side to side. And your feet should not feel that they are mashing the gears with excessive down stroke pressure.

If you are comfortable with gradual climbing, and your speed is slow, maybe also your cadence is low. I'm guessing you might have been depending too much on your down stroke. This habit has to be broken. The straight-away speed thing with the emphasis on cadence will break this habit and will also get you going faster.
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