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  1. #1
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    What To Do After Base Miles

    I'm a relatively new cyclists and I just did a 40 mile ride for the first time last Saturday, which is my designated big ride day. I increase that distance 10% each week, so at this point the mileages for those big rides are going to start increasing quite quickly. My question is at what point do I stop putting in base miles, and what do I do after that? I was thinking of finding quick group rides in my area to ride with to help get my speed up, but I only planned on doing that during the weekend (I'm a student and so my weekend schedule is more flexible), so what should I be doing on those other training days? Goal-wise I'd like to become a better overall cyclist, but I have been toying with the idea of racing.

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    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    It takes a long time to build a base. You don't say how long you have been cycling, or how many hours per week you spend on the bike, but if you've just built up to 40 miles in one ride, and that is your longest ride of the week, I'd say you have a way to go before you have an established base.

    Leaving that aside, I'd suggest that you never stop putting in base miles. Even when you are really fit and have been cycling for years and have taken up racing, most of your training should be at very manageable intensities, especially during the off-season. The question is not what do you do instead, but what do you do as well as, and what the balance between base miles and more intense efforts ought to be.

    I'd really suggest you read some training guides and, if you want to get a bit more serious, buy a cheap heart rate monitor. That will make it easier for you to be systematic about your sessions and make sure you are training in the zone you need to be in. But for starters, once a week try riding for an hour at the maximum speed you feel you can maintain for the full hour. That won't be a sprint, but it will be enough for you to feel you are working pretty hard and for you to be breathing hard enough to be able to talk only in short sentences. You'll find that this will bring on your aerobic fitness quite quickly.

    Hills are good, too.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

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    I've been biking since around October of last year, and then I can't remember specifically when, but sometime this year I hurt my knee due to a bad bike fit and so I had to take some time off and then sort of start over. My schedule basically looks like Monday through Thursday medium rides, Saturday big ride, rest on Friday and Sunday. So at this point I've been putting in around at least a 100 miles a week for a while now.

    Just to clarify, since I increase by 10% each time my weekly big ride mileages are going to become 44, 48, 53, 58, 64, 71, 78, 86, 94, etc etc and it grows quite quickly (as do my medium rides since they're just half of what my big rides are). It just seemed odd to continue on in that fashion because of how large the miles are going to get and of how frequently I'd be riding them. So really what I'm asking is is there a point at which I stop increasing those weekly mileages, and if so what do I do (or maybe it's something like change what I'm doing during the week but keep increasing the big ride weekend mileages)?

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    Senior Member ericm979's Avatar
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    100 miles a week isn't that much.

    What you do depends on your goals and the time you have. If you are only interested in crits then your training will look different than if you like long road races. You don't need to do long rides longer than your races.

    If you want to race you should be doing group rides. You'll probably get dropped at first. Once you're doing well on the group ride, find the fast guys group ride. When you are going well there its time to race.

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    At this point I'm not sure whether I'm looking towards crits vs road races, so I know that's a little limiting in determining what I should be doing. But again, my question is really just at what point (that point being defined in terms of what my big ride mileage is at, or how many weekly miles I'm putting in, etc) should I start adding in things like group rides, the 1 hour max sustainable speed rides chasm54 was talking about, etc into my training and how exactly should I go about that?

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    Why not give it a shot to see if you are ready for it? Base miles I don't believe gets built in months... much less a year for full benefit of it. At the same time I don't see the reason to limit yourself too much at sticking to just straight base. Also, there is different type of endurance building blocks... not just zone2, zone3... as you progress on.

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    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oib111 View Post
    At this point I'm not sure whether I'm looking towards crits vs road races, so I know that's a little limiting in determining what I should be doing. But again, my question is really just at what point (that point being defined in terms of what my big ride mileage is at, or how many weekly miles I'm putting in, etc) should I start adding in things like group rides, the 1 hour max sustainable speed rides chasm54 was talking about, etc into my training and how exactly should I go about that?
    There's no point in in increasing distances indefinitely. Who has the time? It's the number of hours per week on the bike that matters. I train for racing, despite being elderly, so it might help you if I give you what I do in a typical (sort of typical, anyway) week. I train with heart rate, having been too mean to invest in a power meter. My maximum heart rate in beats per minute is 186 and my lactate threshold heart rate (LTHR) is 156. the latter is the more useful number if you get serious, but for simplicity I'll give you zones based on MHR and using 10% of MHR per zone. So, Zone 1 is 50%-60% of MHR, z2 is 60%-70% and so on to z5, above 90% or 168bpm.

    I spend about 12 hours per week on the bike. Day 1: 4 - 5 hour ride, mostly in z2 but using the hills to get into z3 and, for brief periods, z4. Day 2: recovery ride of about 1 1/2 hours, mostly z1. Day 3: 2-3 hour ride trying to stay in z3 throughout. This takes concentration. Day 4: Recovery ride, same as day 2. Day 5: 1 hour interval session, varying in duration but basically getting the HR up into z4 and z5. if I try to get it into z5 at the start of the session I won't be able to complete the intervals, but it'll be in z5 on the last couple. Day 6: Rest. Day seven. 1 hour recovery ride.

    If I have a race I'll switch the schedule around, drop either the z3 or the interval session, and make the day before the race a rest day and the one before that a recovery ride.

    Hope this helps.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

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    Quote Originally Posted by oib111 View Post
    I'm a relatively new cyclists and I just did a 40 mile ride for the first time last Saturday, which is my designated big ride day. I increase that distance 10% each week, so at this point the mileages for those big rides are going to start increasing quite quickly. My question is at what point do I stop putting in base miles, and what do I do after that? I was thinking of finding quick group rides in my area to ride with to help get my speed up, but I only planned on doing that during the weekend (I'm a student and so my weekend schedule is more flexible), so what should I be doing on those other training days? Goal-wise I'd like to become a better overall cyclist, but I have been toying with the idea of racing.
    Start posting in the 41, they will offer guidance.

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    Joe Friel's Cycling Bible recommends that the person with your level of experience should average 4-7 hours/week on the bike, averaged over the entire training year. A bit more during active training, less during the off period. Personally, I think that it's ridiculously low, but I'm nobody and Joe Friel is Joe Friel.

  10. #10
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    I'm a bit late to this thread but I'll add my two cents since I think OP is thinking along the same lines that I've thought over the last year. i've been going to a couple of years, and during the summer when the weather is nice, I typically do about 200 miles a week that are a mix of commuting and training (but no racing yet). I find it nice to pick a particular goal that one can work towards but I've just not found myself likely to go out and explicitly *train*. I had a goal of turning in a sub 5 hr century, so what I started to do was pick up some group rides in the area. I currently do three a week, one that I can consistently hang on but with hard effort over only 20 miles, one that I get dropped every week about midway that's 35 miles, and one that I can keep with most of the time over 70 miles.

    These rides have really been great motivators, occasional humiliators, and great training both in terms of fitness and in terms of bike skills. Plus, i've found a good group of very experienced cyclists that are pleasure to ride with, push me hard, and provide models of good all round cycling. A few weeks ago, it was with a group of about 8 of these people that we turned in a 4:45 century, although I have a feeling that they were taking it easy on me (i don't think I really pulled my fair share...)

    For me, the threat of getting dropped (and on the long ride, having to ride by myself through pretty crappy, hilly, windy areas) make me work harder than I ever would if I was out there doing intervals or hill repeats.

    Biggest thing at this point is probably to be consistent and do riding that you enjoy. Good group rides rock, and rides that are right on the edge of what you can do, the best, just don't crash someone because you're exhausted :-)

  11. #11
    Faster but still slow slowandsteady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oib111 View Post
    I've been biking since around October of last year, and then I can't remember specifically when, but sometime this year I hurt my knee due to a bad bike fit and so I had to take some time off and then sort of start over. My schedule basically looks like Monday through Thursday medium rides, Saturday big ride, rest on Friday and Sunday. So at this point I've been putting in around at least a 100 miles a week for a while now.

    Just to clarify, since I increase by 10% each time my weekly big ride mileages are going to become 44, 48, 53, 58, 64, 71, 78, 86, 94, etc etc and it grows quite quickly (as do my medium rides since they're just half of what my big rides are). It just seemed odd to continue on in that fashion because of how large the miles are going to get and of how frequently I'd be riding them. So really what I'm asking is is there a point at which I stop increasing those weekly mileages, and if so what do I do (or maybe it's something like change what I'm doing during the week but keep increasing the big ride weekend mileages)?

    I do one century every year in September and train for that. I work up to a 62 mile ride. My long rides start at 30 miles early in the season and increase by 5 miles per week with repeats and rest weeks incorporated. 62 miles is long enough to be able to complete a century. I also do interval training to increase my speed so that I can finish the century in a reasonable time. So my goal this year is to complete a century in September faster than I did last year. Since I know my goal, I can plan my training schedule accordingly.

    Increasingly long rides throughout the year. 30-62 miles
    Train 5-6 days a week.
    Weight training in the winter.
    Tempo rides
    Lactate Threshold Rides

    The point at which you stop the escalation of your long ride is wherever you want based on your goals. What are your goals? Do you have a charity ride planned? Did you want to complete a century? Just general fitness? Multi-day touring? Do you want to race? What kind of race? etc.... Unless we know your goals, it is impossible to come up with any king of training plan.
    "Ride lots." -- Eddy Merckx

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