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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 10-04-10, 08:35 AM   #1
gundogblue
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Training problem

I've been riding a road bike for a little over three months, before that I was rideing a Trek comfort bike. I ride to stay in shape, and get in better shape, and to lose weight. I've lost 103 lbs, and am now at 215lbs, but I want to go down to 190lbs, but then closer I get to my weight goal the slower the weight is coming off. I ride 16 miles a day five days a week Mon through Friday, my problem is that every day that I ride I end up raceing myself, trying to beat my time, and average speed from the day before, but Im not sure thats the right thing to do. I just turned 59 yrs old a few days ago, and Im not experianceing any knee, back or muscle pain yet. Last week every ride averaged between 18.11, and 18.97 mph, today my average was only 17.97 mph with only a 3 mph wind, I know thats not very fast for some of you guys but for me it's 100% effort. My question is should I be riding at 100% effort everyday, or should I do more miles say about 20 miles at a slower pace say around 15-16 mph, also I find it hard to ride at less that 100% effort, many years ago while in airborne training they pounded it in my head that any effort less than 100% is a wasted effort, and even though it's been 40 yrs since airborne school I still find myself thinking that every training session must be an all out effort, any help with this from some of you more experianced riders will be greatly appriciated.
Paul
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Old 10-04-10, 09:05 AM   #2
Brian Sharpe
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First & foremost congratulations on loosing over 100lbs, that alone is a great accomplishment.

One of the reasons that the wight loss has slowed down is simply that you are probably much fitter now than you were when you started and your body has become much more efficient -it simply takes fewer calories to accomplish the same amount of work. (BTW - you're riding faster than I do on my 19km commute!) You're experiencing something known as exercise adaptation. (Lots of interesting reading if you google it)

Are you actually taking the weekends as rest days or are you doing some other fitness activity? Rest days are just as important as hard workout days. As long as you're getting your rest days there's no reason to go anything less than 100% (unless you're feeling fatigued) but you may want to add other fitness activities (walking, running, swimming, strength training) into the mix and then alternate easy & hard days on the bike (eg weights & easy bike one day, hard biking alone the next) and even consider building some interval training into your rides.

Good luck!
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Old 10-04-10, 09:21 AM   #3
gundogblue
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Brian,
Thanks for the info, and yes Im taking Sat and Sun off, but I do have a membership at the local health club, but sadly I have'nt been going lately. What you say makes sense to me, and since the club is charging my account $20.00 a month I think I'll start going to the club again maybe some weight training and another form of cardio, along with my biking will help get the last 25lbs off of me.
Paul
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Old 10-04-10, 01:38 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gundogblue View Post
I've lost 103 lbs
Awesome!
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Originally Posted by gundogblue View Post
I ride 16 miles a day five days a week Mon through Friday, my problem is that every day that I ride I end up raceing myself, trying to beat my time, and average speed from the day before, but Im not sure thats the right thing to do.
It's not, if you want to become a faster cyclist. Or lose more weight for that matter. It gets harder to lose fat when you have less of it.
For fat loss, I suggest more riding. That will have to be at a slower pace so you can finish, but that's ok. You can't do long rides every day, so do them once or twice a week. Long steady distance burns a lot of fat. If you want to be a better (i.e. faster) cyclist there's a lot of different ways to train, depending on what distance and cirsumstances you want to be faster for. None of them involve riding the same distance and intensity for five days in a row.

If you look at pro (or amateur) racers, they don't train by going the same level of effort for ride after ride. If that was the best way to train then they wouldn't be using power meters or coaches.

You might also look into doing some organized rides (centuries). They can be fun, and having a ride coming up as a goal gives one a reason to ride.

You should get rid of that "100% effort" idea, or better, save it for when you do intervals which really do require 100% effort (and you don't know pain until you do a 5 min max effort interval). Even a 12 mph recovery ride where you're getting passed by little girls on tricycles has its place in a good training plan.
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Old 10-04-10, 02:06 PM   #5
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Well, 100% all the time is not the right thing to do. In fact it's the commonest mistake new riders make. You're riding 80 miles/week. That's low if you are really training, i.e. trying to improve your performance. OTOH, if you're just riding along it doesn't make any difference. But that's not what it sounds like, what with recording your average to 2 decimal places.

So. Experienced riders say there are only two paces at which to train: slower than you'd think and faster than you'd think. You've been riding 16 miles in about 53 minutes. I will bet you a nickel that if you were to have your blood lactate tested, you'd not be riding at lactate threshold (LT). IOW, you're riding in zone 3. Trainers call those junk miles. Sorry, I know that sounds harsh. It's supposed to.

So here comes the positive part. This is easier with a heart rate monitor (HRM) but it's not necessary. Most days, throttle back to zone 2. That'll be when your are breaking a sweat in normal weather and breathing deeply but slowly. Easy to have a conversation with a fellow rider. You'll do more mileage. Shoot for 150/week total. The days you're not riding zone 2, you'll do intervals. You're already doing zone 3 intevals, which one might do in winter or very early season, so don't do those. You can start with some 20 minute zone 4 (LT) intervals. You should be breathing very hard, just short of panting, and your legs should be burning. Don't let your speed drop off. If you finish and aren't totally wasted, your could have gone harder. Start with one until you get it down, then try two with 15 minutes between them. Then you can do speed intervals and all sorts of "fun" things. Google for more info on intervals.

Intervals will waste you plenty, hence the need to recover with those zone 2 rides. But intervals and more distance will make a major difference in your riding. It'll also burn more calories, which will lose you weight if you can avoid eating them back.

Going to the club is fine. It won't improve your cycling, but many find it a nice change from riding. Think about trying to get up to say, 10 hours/week total, or about a 7000 calorie burn. Most folks lose pretty good in that range. I know, 150 miles, 10 hours, 7000 calories may not all be equal, but that's a range to look at.
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Old 10-04-10, 02:46 PM   #6
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Mixing things up will help you out immensely. If you don't want to visit a club (I hate them) you can accomplish plenty with riding and a bit of cross training. You may also find that calorie counting will help beat the weight plateau.
Like the others said rest days are important whether they are all out rest or active recovery. Your body can't adapt if you do not give it a chance to repair.
Go hard on your hard days and very slow on the rest days. Things will improve much quicker when you aren't stuck in no mans land.
Also, every 4th week I take a rest week. Meaning that all my exercises are low intensity and my strength training is done at half.
When I stop waking up every morning with my legs throbbing I know my recovery has been a success.
Here is a typical week for me as an example. It varies as events come and go.

sun: Moderate length ride,stretching, and a long run
mon: Recovery ride, stretching, and strength training
tue: interval ride and stretching
wed: no ride, short run, strength training, and stretching
thurs: tempo ride and stretching.
fri: whatever sort of ride I feel like, short run, stretching, and strength training.
sat: Long ride and stretching.

I have to put down stretching otherwise I forget it and I am trying to heal an injury.
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Old 10-06-10, 04:55 PM   #7
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Wow thanks for all the good info, what I've decided to do is ride easier, longer rides 20 miles three days a week and keep my speed at about the 15-16 mph range, and on two days ride about 12 miles a day as hard as I can with intervals thrown in for good measure, alternating the days as well. Oh and Im going back to the health club on my easy day bike rides for some badly needed strength training.
Thanks again for all the advice.
Paul
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