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  1. #1
    Lover of Old Chrome Moly Myosmith's Avatar
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    Training for endurance when long rides not feasible

    I'm running into a problem with training for an upcoming century. While I ride almost every day, the combined forces of weather, family, and work have severely limited my chances to ride 75+ miles. I've only done one true century and a handful of 50-70 mile rides over the entire spring. Compounding the problem is that we have had an inordinate amount of wind for the past few weeks 15-20 mph sustained with gusts well over 30 mph has been the rule and a number of times it has been even windier. Yesterday I planned to ride 100 miles with the forecast of 10-15 mph NNW winds. I headed north a couple miles and then west. 15 mph my spandex-clad arse. The sustained wind was easily 20 mph with gusts shoving me all over as the quartered me from the front/right. 22 miles later I was spent at an average speed of 13 mph on the flat. I plotted a new route home that gave me 30 miles with the wind mostly from the side or quartering from the back. Much better time coming back but crap, my knees are still sore. The last two 20+ mile group rides I was on have also been into 20 mph headwinds for extended periods.

    Now that I've gotten that whining out of my system, my question is: Do shorter but harder rides provide conditioning that will cross over on a longer endurance rides? I'm really hoping to get some longer rides in but the event date is fast approaching (June 16) and I only have one more three day weekend and a couple of weekdays free. BTW, I'm a paramedic and work 24-hour shifts so endurance training on duty is not an option as I must be clean, fresh, and in uniform in the truck within 5 minutes of the first page.
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  2. #2
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    The short answer is that yes shorter, higher intensity rides will be helpful on longer rides provided you tone down the intensity on the longer rides.

    Your problems in riding into the wind highlight some issues you have with pacing and gearing. There is no reason to push any harder into the wind than when the wind is at your back. Learn what a comfortable pace for you feels like and change your gearing and cadence until you are comfortable. The wind will be noisy but it shouldn't make your knees sore. Try covering up and ignoring your speed and keep your HR and cadence within a target range.

    When you turn around and start riding with the tailwind, don't ease off. Keep your HR up and enjoy the speed!

  3. #3
    Lover of Old Chrome Moly Myosmith's Avatar
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    Thanks for the insight. I was pushing it fairly hard as I had hoped to get in 100 miles in a limited amount of time, but what killed my knees was the gusts. The wind was buffeting all the time but every minute or two there would be a short blast that was like hitting a wall. In the time it took to shift and regain cadence, the gust would subside. Instead of constantly shifting, I picked a middle gear where I had a moderately high cadence most of the time and could hammer through the short gusts. Probably not the best strategy, as I discovered. The pain is actually more soreness of the distal quads than the knee joints.
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  4. #4
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    Yes, short but intense rides will help prepare you for long endurance events.

    Several years ago Alberto Salazar won the New York City marathon with the 2nd fastest time ever by an American and it was his first. His longest prior run was 15 miles which was totally counter to all the training rules that say you need several at 20-22 miles. The differewnce was most of his training was for short distance track work that involved intense speedwork.

    So you can do a century by training hard for the time you have. Just remember to back off the speed when you do the century.
    You're just trying to start an argument to show how smart you are.

  5. #5
    Question Authority JoeMan's Avatar
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    If the wind is a problem you may consider doing some gym work. For example: leg sleds, squats and weighted toe raises to increase leg strength. Abdominal exercises are a staple of my pre century ride prep.

  6. #6
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Lewis_Moon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StanSeven View Post
    Yes, short but intense rides will help prepare you for long endurance events.

    Several years ago Alberto Salazar won the New York City marathon with the 2nd fastest time ever by an American and it was his first. His longest prior run was 15 miles which was totally counter to all the training rules that say you need several at 20-22 miles. The differewnce was most of his training was for short distance track work that involved intense speedwork.

    So you can do a century by training hard for the time you have. Just remember to back off the speed when you do the century.
    Several? Heh....I still fondly remember Eddy Merckx riding the Tour like it was yesterday.

    To the OP: Shorter, higher intensity rides make it easier for you to go fast.
    Back in the '80s I worked with one of the best middle/long didtance runners in the US (Jon Sinclair). His mantra was that long runs habituate you to slow. Being habituated to fast will make you more efficient a covering more miles in a shorter time. It's my opinion that in "race" situations, there is an independant source of fatigue that comes from being in the saddle that is largely independant from speed/aerobic/energy fatigue. The less time you spend in the saddle the the less you will be "beat up" by the road. Being fast helps you shorten that time.
    A new hip and a 2005 Lemond Poprad...This will not end well.

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