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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 08-17-09, 07:21 PM   #1
magimum
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1 month riding, 0 gains

i have been riding for about 1+ month, and i try to ride 4 times every week on a 25 mile flat loop. sadly from this training i have gained 0 improvements as far as my weight or avg speed goes. i'm just going to take that to mean that i have gained nothing from this training. my quads seemed to have gotten bigger or at least more toned but that means nothing if im not riding faster. does this just mean that im not taking enough carbs and my body is taking energy from my protein? this has recently put me in a rut and i dont feel like riding anymore. What are your motives for making yourself suffer? also i did take protein after every ride. in addition, my body type isnt exactly the best at building muscle, in other words i am like a twig (5'11'' and 135bs).
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Old 08-17-09, 09:12 PM   #2
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well , I am 5'11" and 130lbs, if you really are taking at least20g of protein and a few hundred carbs in after every ride, maybe you are not riding hard enough. Are you sore the day after? you could also try doing some intervals (like 5min hard 3min rest, and repeat) - if youre sore and taking enough protein/carbs then you are improving, maybe it will just take a little longer than 1month to see results
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Old 08-17-09, 09:29 PM   #3
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how are you determining your speed, do you have a cyclocomputer or are you just using distance over time? what is your average speed? How do you feel during and after the rides? Get a cyclocomputer if you don't already have one and just play around at different speeds. If you can average that route at 15mph, see how far you can get at 16 or 17mph.
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Old 08-17-09, 09:29 PM   #4
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1 month is a very short time. Patience.
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Old 08-17-09, 09:34 PM   #5
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If you always do the same ride, then your body thinks that it has adapted sufficiently and plateaus. Introduce some variation, harder intervals, climbing, anything, and make yourself hurt the next day so you have something to recover from.
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Old 08-17-09, 09:42 PM   #6
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Intervals help also.
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Old 08-17-09, 09:55 PM   #7
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i usually feel sore after. i have a rest day every 2 days i ride. im just estimating my speed by using the overall time. i think just need to be patient, anyways i dont really have anything better to do this summer. i just want to be able to keep up with the collegiate club cycling guys by the time i go back to school.
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Old 08-18-09, 07:27 AM   #8
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Average speed is a poor way to measure performance. Its affected by traffic, stop lights, wind, etc. Try timing yourself up a climb instead. Find one that doesn't have any stop signs/lights and takes you 20 minutes or so. Don't test every time you ride, test at most every two weeks.

Also, doing the same ride or same kind of ride every time isn't effective training, and it's boring too. Go find some hills, there's plenty around you.
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Old 08-18-09, 07:58 AM   #9
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Problem #1: Apparently equating cycling to suffering?
Problem #2: Thinking of throwing in the towel after only 1 month.

The only way I know to make huge gains in a short amount of time is with a 6-week cycle of anabolic steroids, but unless you want to do illegal drugs that make your balls shrivel, your face grow pimples, and your attitude be rageful, I don't recommend them.

1 month is barely enough time to get started with any kind of workout regime. I mean honestly, would you lift weights for 1 month and start complaining you aren't winning bodybuilding competitions? Your muscles are just getting used to the idea of powering a 2-wheeled vehicle.

If you really equate cycling to some form of torture, and your only motivation is to beat your buddies, might I suggest trying a different activity? It is doubtful you'll stick with something you don't like.
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Old 08-18-09, 09:24 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magimum View Post
i usually feel sore after. i have a rest day every 2 days i ride. im just estimating my speed by using the overall time. i think just need to be patient, anyways i dont really have anything better to do this summer. i just want to be able to keep up with the collegiate club cycling guys by the time i go back to school.
Are you a member of the club? Joining a collegiate team is the best way to get strong enough to keep up with them. Most teams have organized group rides that will push your limits and help you get stronger. Some teams even have coaching that you could benefit from. Collegiate cycling is a hell of a lot of fun, I encourage you to give it a shot if you haven't already.
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Old 08-18-09, 09:26 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magimum View Post
i usually feel sore after. i have a rest day every 2 days i ride. im just estimating my speed by using the overall time. i think just need to be patient, anyways i dont really have anything better to do this summer. i just want to be able to keep up with the collegiate club cycling guys by the time i go back to school.
I would get a basic cyclocomputer, I just got a cateye strada cadence this spring for $35ish. Don't worry about catching the club cycling guys just yet, it'll take time to build yourself up. I wonder if you're riding too much this early? You have to give your body/muscles time to repair themselves. You might consider riding for an hour every other day just to get into the swing of things and see how you feel after the rides. When you can get home and still feel good, then increase the distance or intensity. If you're feeling wiped out, take a few days off and come back with an easy ride. 25 miles sounds high for starting out unless you've got some base fitness from another sport/activity?

Given your goals, a proper training plan is probably a good idea.
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Old 08-19-09, 10:00 AM   #12
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I've been riding for roughly 5 weeks training for a century that I set my sights on the end of this month. I have a similar exercise plan as you where I try to ride 3 times or so during the week and a long ride on the weekend building up endurance. I haven't noticed much change in my body other then burning a little fat.

The other day I was on my weekday ride (20 miles or so of mostly flats) and was thinking the same thing as you. My average speed was only slightly better and it seemed my heart rate had dropped a little bit compared to when I started. I tried to push faster but didn't have much luck, soon I started chasing and passing some people until I got to a rest stop. When I left the rest stop somebody who was in really good shape started drafting me, since I was almost done, I put the pedal down and got my heart rate up to about 85% MHR and was hauling approx 4-5 mph faster then I was used.

I'd suggest, as others have, that you ride with some people or chase some other people on a trail and I think you'll realize that you are improving.
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Old 08-19-09, 10:02 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by DataJunkie View Post
1 month is a very short time. Patience.
+1.

One of my favorite quotes regarding exercise is from a personal trainer. She was asked what she tells people who are just getting started with exercising regularily when after a couple of months they still haven't seen any noticeable change in their performance or appearance. Her reply was that when you first start working out, the first few months should just be viewed as building the foundation for future gains.

Like DataJunkie said, patience, one month is not long at all.
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Old 08-19-09, 03:12 PM   #14
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Average speeds on flats is a poor metric for determining progress. Once your speed is sufficiently high most of your effort will go into overcoming headwind which changes all the time. So you really need a power meter to measure your performance if you only ride flats.

An alternative cheaper method to measure your progress is to time your hill climbs. Headwind is negligible at hill climbing speeds so it's just you versus gravity. Every weekend I climb 3 hills: one at 6% grade (<1 mile), one at 7% (5 miles), and the last at 8% (<1 mile) and I maintain my HR for every ride at 165bpm. Then I use the average speed from those climbs to calculate the power output (which is pretty accurate in this case because most of the effort goes into overcoming gravity). I've been riding for a month now and according to my hill climbing rides my P/W increased from 1.87 to 2.09.
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Old 08-23-09, 12:33 PM   #15
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I felt like you after taking a 3+ year hiatus from cycling. I bought a new bike and wanted to ride like I used to. After 2 weeks of slowly trying to get my foundation back, I still didn't feel like I was improving and I definitely didn't have power I used to. You know what I did? I took two weeks off the bike. During that time, I did some light weight-training (squats, lunges). BTW, you can do these without free weights. I also started working on my neglected core muscles and walking again. Then I eased back on the bike like the first 2 weeks. The improvements were immediately obvious, which I think mainly came from the core muscle work and giving my cycling muscles a break to FULLY recover.

My climbing still sucked after the second 2 weeks on the bike, so I started throwing in climbing days. I will warm up for about 30 minutes and then find some moderate hills to tackle. It's not hilly where I live (coastal plain) so I have to climb the same ones over and over, recovering/spinning for a 5-10 minutes when I get tired. Effect: climbing has improved.

I have just started working on my "power". A few days ago I went out and warmed up for about 30 minutes. Then I found a quiet, flat stretch to try my hand at some intervals. I could only hold a very hard effort for MAYBE 10-15 seconds. Kind of discouraging, but I would let myself fully recover and did a total of 3. Then I cooled down for 10-15 minutes and headed inside. Two days later (after not riding at all), I went on a "bonk training" ride this Saturday morning. I kept it easy as prescribed. After about an hour on the bike I was feeling pretty good so I decided to kick up the speed a little bit. I found myself EASILY maintaining 20 MPH on the flats. This kind of effort would immediately drain me a few weeks before.

This is what I have learned since getting back on the bike 2 months ago. As much as I hate it, it is going to take a little time to back into riding shape again. It's very easy to overtrain, especially when you are in a "hurry" to improve. Recovery seems to be just as important as the training. Keep taking the protein after your rides. I have noticed it helps how sore I feel the days after riding. I pretty much always drink Cytomax and some whey protein after every ride. I also rehydrate very well after especially hot rides.

Don't be afraid to take days off or do easy recovery rides. Also try to mix up your training.
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Old 08-23-09, 01:20 PM   #16
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Allow six weeks to see much effect from training. Secondly, cycling should be a pleasure, something you look forward to doing. It takes years to see what kind of potential you have. Some of us skinny guys will never build a lot of muscle ( Andy Schleck is a great rider) but we can still be decent on the flats and loose them going uphill. Stay with it and enjoy the rides, you will improve with time.
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Old 08-23-09, 04:49 PM   #17
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Pfft. A month?
If you are new to cycling, you will need three months just to get a decent pedal stroke down. Your muscles will continue to become more efficient even after a year. (not just stronger, but that dang muscle memory thing)

I came from a rowing background (many years ago) and thought I was pretty fit since I did a lot of "spinning" and P90x style workouts along with weight lifting. Got my ass handed to me even though I was fit and "in shape".

I don't think I really started to see improvements until after about 3000miles over 6mths. (and now that I am able to ramp up the mileage to 1000+/mth, I am starting to see a little more improvement compared to the guys I ride with)
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Old 08-23-09, 07:10 PM   #18
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1 month is a very short time. Patience.
Yep. Keep riding!
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Old 08-24-09, 12:51 PM   #19
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Only a MONTH, and you're WHINING?????

2 (no 3) things:

Buy a computer. You have no idea if you are improving without something tangible to base your calculations on.

Find a local hill and ride up it at least once a week. HARD!!! (ride up hill, puke, repeat.) Watch your recovery cycle because if you don't rest enough you can tear a ligament/tendon doing this.

Buy a powdered protein milkshake supplement and drink it WITH a meal every day. Yes, it's expensive but you need protein to build muscle. In that view, watch what you eat and err on the side of too much protein in your diet. Keep the fats as low as you can, but protein is your friend in the muscle building dept.
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