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Old 06-13-11, 12:50 PM   #1
pixelharmony
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Increasing my average speed

Is strength training needed? My goal is to ride around 22-24 mph avg on a flat for 24 miles or so. It seems like I'm plateauing at 18mph avg.

Is strength training needed at this point or is there another type of riding exercise I can do to push my threshold?
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Old 06-13-11, 01:41 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by pixelharmony View Post
Is strength training needed?
No. The forces involved in cycling are low, especially at sustainable aerobic intensities. You need a stronger heart and to grow more mitochondria and capillaries in your legs.
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My goal is to ride around 22-24 mph avg on a flat for 24 miles or so. It seems like I'm plateauing at 18mph avg.
Riding on the brake hoods 22 MPH will probably take a 70% power increase and 24 MPH 118% on dead flat ground with no time lost to traffic lights, decelerating for them, or accelerating from them.

The drops only use 5% less power.

If you want serious help from aerodynamics you'll need to ride on aero bars or in a pace line with other cyclists.

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Is strength training needed at this point or is there another type of riding exercise I can do to push my threshold?
Threshold intervals on the hardest aerobic days, tempo/sweet spot rides to get more intensity without overwhelming yourself, and endurance miles and active recovery on easy days/weeks so you're fresh enough to have tough workouts.

Skipping the rest days/weeks doesn't work, leaving you both tired and slow.

Readng some of the available literature would be prudent
The Time-Crunched Cyclist: Fit, Fast, and Powerful in 6 hours a week
The Cyclist's Training Bible

Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 06-13-11 at 02:34 PM.
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Old 06-13-11, 02:02 PM   #3
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24 miles in an hour is just about a 60 minute 40K time trial. That's a huge goal. The jump from 18 mph to 24 mph is a big one that takes time and lots of training. Here's something simple but effective and will add maybe 2 mph to your average if you haven't been doing specialized training at all.

Go out and ride for 10 minutes all out. Rest for 10 minutes and do it again. Take your average heart rate for the last ten minute interval and that becomes your target rate. Wait a day or two and go out and do 10 minues at the target, rest for ten, do a secnd interval, rest, and then a third. Try that at least twice a week. The following week do the same but cut the recovery to 8 minutes, then 6 the next week, 4, etc. until you do 30 minutes straight. The following week, start all over doing 15 minute intervals.
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Old 06-13-11, 02:15 PM   #4
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I want to invest in a HRM, basically zone training is something I really want to do for conditioning. Thanks for the advice guys! I guess I needed to be clear to that at this point I wasn't looking for a sustained 24mph against a full out time trial, but more for increasing pace / cardio. I'm going to start working on a program for the Chicago Triathalon (sprint). I've been maintaining 20-22mph for only 2-3 mile intervals then I seriously feel too gassed out and my speed drops to around 15mph until I can rest up.

But again if that aspect of my cycling is that much more difficult to improve over my swim/run times I may focus on working on those aspects. Buying a dedicated aero / TT bike is not something within my budget for this year.
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Old 06-13-11, 02:55 PM   #5
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But again if that aspect of my cycling is that much more difficult to improve over my swim/run times I may focus on working on those aspects. Buying a dedicated aero / TT bike is not something within my budget for this year.
When cycling at reasonable speeds nearly all your power is going into overcoming aerodynamic drag which increases with the square of velocity resulting in power required to overcome it increasing with the cube of velocity. The performance increase to net a 10% drop in your bike split is going to approach 37% on flat ground.

I'm not a triathlete or runner but could speculate -

With the lower speeds involved it seems that aerodynamic drag would not be significant for running, it should be more linear, and the same 37% power increase would approach a 27% drop in your run split.

Swimming performance should be dominated by hydro-dynamic drag with the same power relationship as cycling making improvements as hard as they would be cycling and with the shorter swim segments in triathlons giving little weight to any improvements.

so you'd want to work on your run.

Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 06-14-11 at 01:53 PM.
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