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Old 07-11-11, 09:37 PM   #1
klepto1
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Distance vs. Frequency for a newbie

Hi Everyone,

I am still very new to cycling. Started at the beginning of May. At that point I could barely break 2 miles in a single ride and was winded beyond belief. Yesterday I rode 8 miles, which was my longest ride to date.

My question is about the best riding strategy. Everything else being equal would it be better to go for less frequent long rides (relatively speaking) or more frequent shorter rides.

I have been trying to increase my distance every couple of times out. But at my current level of fitness my legs are pretty sore after a 7 mile ride. I would be able to ride more frequently if I was staying between 4 -6 miles. But I dont know if I should focus on 4 - 5 shorter rides during the week or 2 -3 longer rides. My ultimate goal is to lose weight. But my short term goal is to be able to do a 20 mile ride before the end of the summer. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 07-11-11, 09:54 PM   #2
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I'd stick with the 4-5 rides per week. But only try to increase mileage on one ride per week. Then gradually catch the other rides up and repeat the cycle. Consistency is the key.
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Old 07-11-11, 10:41 PM   #3
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I would also go with 4/5 shorter rides than 2/3 longer rides.
Can you bike commute to work, this way get you in shape
and get to work at the same time. Most folks will tell you
that dieting plays a bigger role in weight loss. But if you can
combine dieting and biking that would be better. Good luck
and let us know how you're progressing.
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Old 07-11-11, 11:29 PM   #4
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My vote for consistency also. The more frequently you ride, the better you get at recovering. Then when you start to go long, you'll notice that you can recover during the ride. I also think it works best for hardening up the butt.
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Old 07-12-11, 09:40 PM   #5
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Thanks for the advice. What you guys suggest makes a lot of sense. I have actually noticed that its been hard to fall into a good rhythm when I ride less frequently. But I guess I was so anxious to increase the distance of my rides that I solely started focusing on upping my mileage and not getting out often enough.

To answer your commuting question - I am very interested in commuting to work. It is about 22 miles round trip, so I have some conditioning to do before considering it. My bigger concern is that there are not showers at my job. I don't want to get to work all sweaty and then switch to the shirt and tie.
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Old 07-12-11, 10:37 PM   #6
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Commuting will melt it off you, alright. Most folks take it easy going in, then hammer a little on the way home. You could experiment gradually to see when you can take it easy enough to make it practical.
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Old 07-13-11, 06:42 AM   #7
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I agree with what's already been said......select a day of the week for your increasingly longer distance rides and the 2-4 other days for "base miles". If you are into more intense/serious training to benefit your strength, throw a day where you have hills and another where you will ride above your normal pace with intervals of sprints.

However this fits your level of interest and conditioning is totally up to you.
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Old 07-13-11, 07:00 AM   #8
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Since your stated goal is weight loss I will give my standard advice. Weight is ultimately controlled by diet and fitness by exercise. You can't outrun a bad diet with more miles, make sure you are controlling your caloric intake and the weight will come off.
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Old 07-13-11, 10:09 AM   #9
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Make sure to stretch before and after every ride. It helped me tremendously when I first got started in cycling. Also try taking ibuprofen, it will help with the sore muscles. Don't worry about your weight yet. Your body is just now getting used to the change. If you exercise and count calories the weight will fall off over time.
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Old 07-14-11, 01:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
My ultimate goal is to lose weight. But my short term goal is to be able to do a 20 mile ride before the end of the summer. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Keep your eye on the big picture. The most important thing is to keep active and arrange conditions that promote a healthy day to day balance of effort and rest.

This means just listening to your body and riding the way you feel for the day. You shouldn't feel a need to schedule your rides to any frequency or distance. Just be happy to have discovered cycling as a pass time - keep on passing time.
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Old 07-14-11, 01:40 PM   #11
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Commuting is the way I did it. Consistency and time in the saddle for the first year. Later I started upping the intensity.
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