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  1. #1
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    Beginner Training Program Tips (Road Cycling)

    Hi,

    I am a total beginner road cyclist.

    Could you guys give me a few training tips?

    E.g. how often I should cycle, how far (I am REALLY unfit, haven't been exercising for 2 years) I should ride, etc.

    Thanks in advance.

    P.S. If possible, please express units in metric .

  2. #2
    Senior Member phoenyix's Avatar
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    Depending how far you are out of shape. First step would be to consult a Doctor, and explain what your plannig to do , and follow his advice to get in shape. When you do ride start out slow and easy. Don't worry too much about distance and speed. Keep it up daily, every so often try for a longer distance, and a higher speed. Don't up them too far, a little at a time when the ride gets easy. This will get you going with the least amount of problems.

  3. #3
    Gone DnvrFox's Avatar
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    A couple of thoughts:

    1. Any exercise done just for "fitness" and "to get in shape" is ultimately doomed to failure. You say you have not been exercising for two years? There must be a reason why. Did you not enjoy your previous exercises? Were they sort of forced, something you did to "keep in shape?" Ultimately, for one reason or another, the program failed, as you admit that you haven't done anything in two years. Which brings me to my point: You must exercise at something you enjoy and love doing. Bicycling, tennis, walking, running - it really does not matter as long as it is something you LIKE TO DO. Not something you force yourself to do.

    2. So, what do you enjoy doing physcally? Perhaps you don't really know? One thing I would do is to try different activities (and give each one a chance - it takes a while to get to the good part in most physical programs). One of those could be biking - but prehaps not. I hope my point comes across okay and I don't mean to be preachy.

    As for me, I love: walking, hiking, biking, weight lifting, and enjoy swimming.

    I hate: running, competitive sports (baseball, soccer, etc.) with a lot a "rah rah, you must be able to do better" stuff. Drives me nuts!!

    And I love to bike alone or with my wife, and the same with hiking and walking and weight lifting. Setting my own goals and achieving them is what I enjoy.

    BUT, there are many who love the "rah rah" of competitive sports. Find what YOU LIKE and make that your activity. Once you enjoy it, the "training" part will come easily and naturally. In fact, if you enjoy it, you don't even think about training - you want to do the activity so much, that you just naturally get fit.

    Sorry to be so pedantic. It is just that this is exactly what works for me, and I see so many neighbors and friends who fail at physical activity because they force themselves into doing things that are non-enjoyable.

    .
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  4. #4
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    DnvrFox: I get what you're saying, and I totally agree. Exercise for the sake of exercise is not fun at all, and I'm not into that.

    I like cycling though, and have already started in fact. So I don't need to find something else.

    The last "exercise" I used to do was surfing, I surfed almost every day for around 9 years.
    Not that you really get much of a workout from surfing, but it's something.

    The reason I stopped was a combination of a chronic ankle injury, my favourite surf spot dying, and a general loss of interest (most likely because of my fave spot dying).

    That's why I took up cycling, cause I needed something to do, both for exercise and recreation.

    At the moment I cycle about 14km per session. (There is a long (around 1km), steepish uphill right at the beginning, and almost all the way back is uphill too ).

    I know this is not very far, but at least it shows I'm not suffereing from atrophy of the legs .

    So, basically, I just want to know how often and how far I should cycle.

    Thanks phoenyix for clearing that up a bit .

  5. #5
    Gone DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Thanks for the response. I am sorry I got a little carried away there.

    At the beginning level, just let your body tell you what to do. I am serious - listen to what it says to you. I started serious cycling at age 58, about 4 years ago. I loved cycling so much, it wasn't too long before I was doing 20-30 km rides, and in 3 months, after 1500 km's of practice, I did a 7 day 500 km ride over mountain passes. It depends so much on your motivation and interests. BUt, the one caution is overtraining. Your body needs rest between more heavy/hard rides, and what a "heavy or hard ride" is will depend upon your level of conditioning. When you get a "base" of perhaps 1,000 km's, then there are some folks here who can give you excellent advice about the more advanced techniques of training, if you want them. I.e., interval training, nutrition, using a heart rate monitor, techniques of spining - all those kinds of things. Velocipedio is probably one of the best experts on that kind of thing in this forum.

    Hey, have fun, and I will try to lighten up a bit. Good luck!!
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  6. #6
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    It takes about 3 months to get into cycling shape, after which you should be able to ride all day. Most riders limit their riding by the availability of leisure time.
    To begin with, keep your rides under 1hrs duration, and dont worry too much about speed or distance. You will be conditioning your butt to being on a saddle. Make sure the bike fits you well, and feels comfortable. After a week or 2, you can think about riding for longer periods of time, 2-3 hours if you have the time.

    I always ride by time, not distance. A headwind or hill will slow you down, but 30mins of riding is still 30mins.

  7. #7
    Don't Believe the Hype RiPHRaPH's Avatar
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    in the beginning, for all practical purposes - biking shouldn't hurt. if it does you are either going too hard initially or doing it wrong (wrong fit, etc)
    make sure that you do enjoy it. nothing is worse than doing something that you do not enjoy. psychologically that is half the battle. in the 1st year of training, you will experience the fastest gains in fitness of all.
    fitness is not just a lack of training but an inadequate diet. you will start having a different relationship to food, i.e. looking at labels and seeing how this 'fuels' my rides, etc.
    the body is an incredible machine, and will adapt quite nicely to most stimulis.
    if you are going from 'losing it' to 'using it' you will experience soreness (legs, butt, arms, even facial fatigue) but eventually your body will adapt to the 'changes' you are throwing it. i'd go slow at first, almost laughingly so. the best exercise is the type you stick with, and failure rates are high if you start too fast and injure yourself or flame out before your body is ready.
    as long as you are turning pedals, you will eventually get to where you are going - literally and figuratively.
    i know you are probably looking for a set milage and times/frequency to workout, but beginners have such differing needs and are all over the spectrum that the best thing is to spin and learn to listen to your body.
    after a base then we can fine tune you and pass all of us up.
    I have enough words to get me into trouble, but not enough to get me out of trouble.

  8. #8
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    Originally posted by DnvrFox
    I am sorry I got a little carried away there.
    Hehe, don't worry about it .

    Thanks for all the tips guys, they'll really help me.

  9. #9
    Pat
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    Starting out is easy.

    First of all, go for comfort. If your bicycle is not comfortable, you are probably not going to ride it.

    Second, try to enjoy yourself. Do not always try to go fast unless you like doing so. If you enjoy your rides, you are more likely to ride.

    Third. Do it. And a less than optimum ride that you do will do you a lot more good than the perfect workout that you don't do.

    Fourth. Initially, do what you can and take it easy. Your body will should toughen up. I started when I was in my late 30s and I was a couch potato and I know other people who were couch potatos who started in the 50s and 60s. They just went out and rode easy and kept at it.

    Fifth. Concentrate on your base - put in easy miles. Ride low gears and spin the pedals. Try spinning them faster than is comfortable. Spinning is a lot more efficient than mashing the pedals. You want to ride at higher than 80 rpm.

    When you get to the point that you can ride a couple of hours cruising at over 15 mph, well then you can start thinking about getting fancy and getting fast. That is if you want to.

  10. #10
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    To all of you that gave this advice--thank you!!!! I am a former marathoner turning to cycling after a 20 year hiatus of being a couch potato following an injury. I did "google" search to get here. The advice you give is exactly what I used to give to fellow would-be marathoners 20+ years ago. Nice to get that reassurance as I enter this cycling world--thank you sooooo much!

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