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Old 10-04-06, 12:19 PM   #1
hockeyteeth
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Can coasting ever be beneficial?

I am trying to build leg-muscle endurance, and I was wondering if coasting could ever be beneficial for such purposes. I live in a hilly area and currently climb hills very hard in low gear and then pedal at my medium cadence in the same gear to build momentum for the next hill. Would I find any benefits from coasting downhill in order to recooperate my leg muscles? Should I try ascending hills in a higher gear? Or descending in a lower gear? Just looking for some pointers...

I tried searching for a thread about this topic with no avail, so please excuse me if I am repeating an old thread.
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Old 10-04-06, 12:42 PM   #2
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I'm not sure what you mean by leg-endurance? There's peak-power/force your legs can apply. Then there's muscle-efficiency, which is how much power/force you can generate for any given oxygen-consumption. There's power-generated at LT, which can improve tremendously with training, yet VO2-max & absolute hasn't improved very much (this shows improved efficiency). There's continuous-power output at various time intervals, 3/5/20-minutes. Endurance in the cycling sense is being able to go long distances, like 100-miles at a time. Which is really more an exercise in pacing and eating/drinking.

Sure, if you're doing hill-intervals, you should be completely 100% spent, blown-up, gasping like a fish-out-of-water at the top. If you've got anything left to give at the top of the hill, you didn't go hard enough. Then coast down the back side to recover on teh downhill, then push up the next hill (or turn around and go back up the hill you just descended).

In doing time-trials, there's also a variable power-output strategy that's faster. Rather than maintaining the constant same HR up and down a hill like on a flat-TT, you can actually do the course faster if your push yourself slightly above LT going up the hill, then use the downhill to recover. The actual amount above LT will vary depending upon the size of the hill & grade of course. But the idea is that you lose more time by slowing down for a uphill than what you gain by the higher-speeds on the downhill because the amounts of time spent on each is different. So you miminize that loss by pushing harder into the anaerobic zone on the uphill to spend the least amount of time at slow speed as possible.

But for what you're doing as far as training, push it all teh way. Just make sure you've got the base-miles and pedaling-form down first or else you're risking injury.

Last edited by DannoXYZ; 10-04-06 at 01:07 PM.
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Old 10-04-06, 12:54 PM   #3
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There are so many intricacies to strength training... I was so confused the first time reading that first paragraph, haha. I understand what you're saying though. And thank you for the advice!
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Old 10-05-06, 11:56 AM   #4
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If I'm really working on climbing, I make sure that I don't carry any momentum up the next hill. I don't start at a complete stop, but I slow down so I get all the benefit of the climb.
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Old 10-06-06, 12:05 PM   #5
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If I'm really working on climbing, I make sure that I don't carry any momentum up the next hill. I don't start at a complete stop, but I slow down so I get all the benefit of the climb.
+1 on getting the full potential of the hill, but only during actual hill climb workouts. If it were an event or group ride of some sort then the best momentum would be best.
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Old 10-06-06, 12:12 PM   #6
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+1 on getting the full potential of the hill, but only during actual hill climb workouts. If it were an event or group ride of some sort then the best momentum would be best.
Yeah, that would probably piss off more than a few folks if you were leading and came to a complete stop at the bottom of every hill. There's one downhill/uphill on a group ride I do that if you get enough speed on the downhill, it will carry you to the top of the uphill section. If you don't, it's an amazingly steep little bugger to climb.
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Old 10-06-06, 11:34 PM   #7
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Yeah, that would probably piss off more than a few folks if you were leading and came to a complete stop at the bottom of every hill. There's one downhill/uphill on a group ride I do that if you get enough speed on the downhill, it will carry you to the top of the uphill section. If you don't, it's an amazingly steep little bugger to climb.
Yeah, we have several of those little buggers around here too. I've done full sprints before on some downhills to just carry momentum up the next climb.
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