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  1. #1
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    Long Rides: How Long is Enough?

    Currently training to be an "all rounder" w/ racing in TT, crits, hill climbs, and some road races. I'm doing 4-hr endurance long rides each week, although wondering if that time is better spent doing 2-3 hr rides + tacking on some VO2Max or anaerobic capacity work (or even 1 leg drills/high RPM spinning) at the end?

    I've heard that running high mileage brings certain physiological changes beneficial for overall race efforts (5K up to Marathon) - wondering if same is true in cycling.

    Thanks.

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    I would stick with the long endurance rides and gradually stretch them to 5-6 hrs. Do these at least 3 times per month. If you do them properly you won't have energy for doing higher intensity work during those rides.

    Add in the higher intensity work as you get closer to your racing season. The 5-6 hr rides I mention assume you are riding 5-6 days/wk and 15-20 hrs/wk.

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    Thanks. Wow...5-6 hrs - that's like a doing a century almost every weekend for me. I'm riding about 6 days/wk, about 12-15 hrs.

    Not saying I'm not willing to put in the work and time on the bike, but want to ensure that there's a purpose for every minute I spend on the bike. If after 3-4 hrs, there's really no performance benefit to me besides just burning more kcal, then not sure if worth it.

    Appreciate your response.

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    If you haven't already, it might be worth purchasing Friel's training bible. 12-15 hours is plenty of training time each week to accomplish a well rounded training program. A lot of us are work with as little as 6-10 hours per week. Basically, as the time available per week decreases, so does the ability to log long endurance rides. Subsequently, a greater percentage of the total training time is dedicated to high intensity intervals. With greater time on the bike the volume of intense intervals one can recover from does not increase, so the additional time is usually spent in Zone 2, adding additional endurance to your base or foundation.

    You state you want to work toward being an all rounder, but, don't state the maximum length of any events you anticipate participating in or if you have any multi day events in your calendar for next year. Those two answers would influence how you approach your max distances and the number of days ride back to back.


    Basic answer: There may be value to a 6 hour ride each week or two if you are training for events that are going to be that long, or, if it is combine with days before or after in an effort to prepare for multi day events.

    If you're spending 12-15 hours on the bike each week it may be beneficial to approach your schedule on more of a fortnightly bases (two weeks) rather than weekly.
    Birth Certificate, Passport, Marriage License Driver's License and Residency Permit all say I'm a Fred. I guess there's no denying it.

  5. #5
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    I''m not training for anything specific but I ride 1 1/2 hours every morning at a rate that causes me to be uncomfortable at the end and then ride 6-10 hours one day in a weekend. I also commute 1-2 hours every day on my bike as well. In terms of conditioning its great. Not in terms of speed as such but I can ride all day and not even feel it. As for its value? Pure fun.

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    I'm not training for anything just love riding. I find anything over 220km and I start to see downward affects in my riding. The past two season myself and riding partner have done double centuries this year was 380k. Not really back to normal for about a month after.
    Best thing about cycling is when I'm at work I'm thinking of cycling, when I'm cycling I'm thinking about cycling.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by leonardmp92 View Post
    Thanks. Wow...5-6 hrs - that's like a doing a century almost every weekend for me. I'm riding about 6 days/wk, about 12-15 hrs.
    I'll admit I haven't done that yet although I'm considering it this season. The 5-6 hour recommendation came from Hunter Allen's "The next level"

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    Thanks everybody. Have not done a stage race/road race yet, but if I anticipate doing 6 hrs, would defininitely train for that. There might also be a benefit to just fatiguing your body for that long, although most of my events now are only 2-3 hrs.

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    Gregf82,

    Great article from Hunter! Thanks for including. Wow...much different perspective from Joe Friel (do only the minimum trng you need to achieve the max performance gains...or something like that).

    Wow...3 x 30's at FTP, that's a hard session. 5-6 hr rides 3 x a month...long days.

    Others have said just do a FTP (1 hr) workout every week of 2x20's to improve FTP.

    I think I'll give it a try for 3 months like he states, although slipping in 2 hr rides is tough during the workweek.

  10. #10
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    Thanks. I think 8 hr rides turn into more of an "adventure" than a hard training ride. Not sure how many folks can push a decent tempo/wattage/HR for 8 hrs (maybe some though).

    I'm still not completely convinced that riding 6 hrs 3xmonth benefits you more than HIT if most of your events are no longer than 3-4 hrs. I know w/ marathon runners though, they do high mileage b/c there are indirect benefits physiologically (mitochondria, oxygen uptake, etc), but they rarely do long runs more than about 2-3 hrs (maybe more b/c of the recovery aspects are harder).

    Appreciate everybody's input on this - I'll try Hunter's points for his "Next Level" article.

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    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leonardmp92 View Post
    Thanks. I think 8 hr rides turn into more of an "adventure" than a hard training ride. Not sure how many folks can push a decent tempo/wattage/HR for 8 hrs (maybe some though).

    I'm still not completely convinced that riding 6 hrs 3xmonth benefits you more than HIT if most of your events are no longer than 3-4 hrs. I know w/ marathon runners though, they do high mileage b/c there are indirect benefits physiologically (mitochondria, oxygen uptake, etc), but they rarely do long runs more than about 2-3 hrs (maybe more b/c of the recovery aspects are harder).

    Appreciate everybody's input on this - I'll try Hunter's points for his "Next Level" article.
    You might think about 1 long ride/month. I think that's really all that's necessary when combined with normal training. Randonneurs usually ride about 1 brevet per month when progressing through a Super Randonee series. A decently trained 41 poster should be able to complete a hilly 200k in about 8 hours. The idea to to ride for time, thus inevitably doing some deep digging, which is the point. Depending on where you are, you might be able to find a local randonneuring club and thus have people to suffer with.

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    I have no info on for power as I don't have a power meter and don't understand the numbers but the long ride I did this year was the 380 I mentioned above, we managed a 32.4kph average. I also stated recovery time was long. The biggest benifit though is finding out how many times you can push the pain away and keep the legs churning out the k's, I have learned for me I have two spots that I have to get over, 130k I hit my first little hard time that I easily work through. My next hurdle is the 250k range I really suffer from 250-285k, it takes a lot to get the body to agree with the brain but once I get past this distance it seems the legs just sorta go into cruise control, it's actually a pretty cool feeling and hard to discribe.
    Best thing about cycling is when I'm at work I'm thinking of cycling, when I'm cycling I'm thinking about cycling.

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    Thanks...understand the pain in the long 100K+ and/or 5-6 hr+ rides...just trying to figure out how this equates to better form/fitness/performance in crits, TTs, sprints, etc and also if there is a direct relationship to FTP increase. Besides Hunter's article and some other input from posters here, I think that's all I'll get, which is OK. I'll do it and give it a try.

    For runners, anecdotal and empirical evidence shows that high mileage builds physio systems that benefit them, but marathoners typically dont run over their 25-26 miles in one training run (maybe b/c of the recovery issues) and dont have to deal w/ doing anaerobic, then aerobic, then LT, then NP efforts, etc all in one race.

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