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  1. #1
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    Starting to ride, building up for touring and staying in shape?

    This may be a really wide open discussion topic but I am curious as to how I should plan my rides. I am looking to get in to some touring this year (multi-day trips, mostly camping at night). I don't have any target mileage/day to build up to, but I want to get in good shape to tackle a good trip and not have the stamina to keep going.

    Right now my plan is to ride between 5 and 10 miles every night. At 5 miles I don't feel that I am worked too much. At 10 miles I can really feel the ride and feel that I am exercising. So I guess I'm not sure where I should balance the miles? I don't think I can hold 10 miles every night yet. Would it be best to break up the miles? A long day, short day, long day etc, or find a mileage in between?

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    Senior Member Ursa Minor's Avatar
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    For me two things have worked: consistency and sustainability.

    I ride for mood control since I suffer from depression. A major concern for me is to avoid overuse injury.

    When I started riding at 352 pounds I was so out of shape that walking 10 feet to go to the bathroom left me breathless.
    So I only exercised every other day with short walks. Little by little I'm up to 20 miles a day on my bike and weigh 215.
    No more blood pressure meds and no diabetes meds. It was a diabetes diagnosis that go me started on the recovery lifestyle (blood sugar is now normal through diet and exercise).

    Anyway good luck = I'm rooting for you to have many happy long rides!

    Charlie
    Grimly determined to have fun.

  3. #3
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    I guess I should have put this in my first post too. I am a backpacker also and one aspect of hiking I have come to realize is when I get the chance to go I go for some good miles in rough terrain - upwards of 10 miles/day. Not being in shape when I go means I over-work myself and when I get back I am in real rough shape. The last big trip I went on we did 13 miles in one day and dropped 3000ft in elevation. We ended up hitch-hiking out the next day because I tore up both legs and couldn't walk any more.

    My point is - in riding it is my goal to build my legs up and stay there. I know biking and hiking are two vastly different activities, but working my legs routinely is better than not and I find riding is a lot easier, and enjoyable, for me to do and stay focused on than walking around the neighborhoods. I haven't over-worked myself on the bike like I have on a hike yet, and I hope I don't, but I want to find a balance and progression of time/miles and amount of exercise to get where I need to be, I guess I can't quite define it other than that.

    As to the touring - the guy I'm wanting to ride with will do anywhere from 50 to 125+ miles a day, depending on terrain. So I suppose that is a good goal to hit too.

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    You don't really have to do the same workout every day. In fact, it's often better to do one or two easy days between the hard days to let your body recover / build up. So start off with a 10 mile ride every other day, with a 5 mile day in between. Add a mile or two to your long rides every week, and pretty soon you'll ride 10 miles for your recovery day!

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    Senior Member WonderMonkey's Avatar
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    You and I have some commonality in that I have a backpacking background, and I like to go out too far/fast too early.

    Here are a few things, some of which has already been addressed.
    - Different types of rides really keeps things interesting. Do a 5 miler but make it full of all-out 20 second intervals. These are great for many many reasons and among them is the fat burning you get long after the ride is finished.

    - Can you commute? How far away from work do you live and do you have facilities to clean up when you get there?

    - As mentioned above consistency and sustainability is key.
    http://www.280dude.com/
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    Thanks for the info. OK on switching up the rides. I am lucky here and have a good choice of rides to pick - flat rides to some good hills, though I am sure those of you that ride in the mountains or other hilly areas would tell me it is all "flat" here.

    Commuting by bike is out of the question. My ride in to work takes an hour by vehicle and all the routes by bike are way too congested. I want to ride out in the country away from everyone

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    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Use weekly total mileage as your metric. Build that up slowly, no more than 10%/week, which will get out of hand fairly quickly, so dial the increase back when it does.

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    Last weekend I had the opportunity to go on a ride with my riding buddy - first one yet, of many we hope. Our trek took us 27.5 miles. Those aren't big miles, but it was more than double the mileage I have done in one day to date.

    I had 4 days of rest between that ride and the one prior. I handled the ride OK, I thought. The first few miles my calves were cramping up a bit but I worked out the cramps and after our food stop half way through I was in good shape come the second half of the ride.

    Two days later I rode 12 miles and had a lot of trouble. The last couple miles my calves were cramped up so bad I couldn't petal when sitting down or my legs would lock up. I ate and drank water before I left and had more water about 4-5 miles in.

    Any ideas?

    Now my claves are sore and it has been 2 days now. When would be a safe time to hit the bike again? Tomorrow is an easy work day (don't have to go to the office). I'd like to ride some when I get a break, but I don't know if I am in OK shape now or not. My goal is to keep working my muscles and get in shape, but I do not want to damage something and end up slowing down my building up process.

  9. #9
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KC8QVO View Post
    Last weekend I had the opportunity to go on a ride with my riding buddy - first one yet, of many we hope. Our trek took us 27.5 miles. Those aren't big miles, but it was more than double the mileage I have done in one day to date.

    I had 4 days of rest between that ride and the one prior. I handled the ride OK, I thought. The first few miles my calves were cramping up a bit but I worked out the cramps and after our food stop half way through I was in good shape come the second half of the ride.

    Two days later I rode 12 miles and had a lot of trouble. The last couple miles my calves were cramped up so bad I couldn't petal when sitting down or my legs would lock up. I ate and drank water before I left and had more water about 4-5 miles in.

    Any ideas?

    Now my claves are sore and it has been 2 days now. When would be a safe time to hit the bike again? Tomorrow is an easy work day (don't have to go to the office). I'd like to ride some when I get a break, but I don't know if I am in OK shape now or not. My goal is to keep working my muscles and get in shape, but I do not want to damage something and end up slowing down my building up process.
    Do you have a water bottle on your bicycle? A drink before you leave home, and then another drink at 4 or 5 miles may not be enough. Sip frequently throughout your ride.

    Another reason you might be cramping is simply because "it was more than double the mileage I have done in one day to date". Go for a ride tomorrow, but take it easy ... don't push the speed or intensity too much.

    And you might want to consider electrolytes. Are you on a salt-limited diet?

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    Thanks for the info. Electrolytes may help.

    I have two water bottles on racks if i need them, was set up that way on the ride last weekend. Though, I only drank about 2/3 of one of the bottles. We stopped at the half way point each half, so 1/4 intervals (1/4 water break, 1/2 food/drink, 3/4 water break). I didn't have any trouble with that at all.

    I don't pay too close of attention to my diet. I try not to eat junk much, no soda except for some tonic water occasionally. Aside from that, I'm not picky about what I eat.

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    As Machka suggested, you probably need to drink more. If you're going to be touring long days, you'll want to learn how to drink while riding. Practice on wide, empty roads, and then practice keeping water in your stomach -- drink a swig every 10-15 minutes, and you should be running on empty bottles after 25-30 miles.

    Four days off, a long ride, and two days off: sounds like a weekend warrior. That's not a good way to train. Instead, try to get out every day or at least every other day. Go for a 5 mile ride where you're barely pushing on the pedals, and then 10-15 miles on alternate days if possible. You have to make your body believe cycling is normal and sustainable, instead of some irregular and painful activity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
    You have to make your body believe cycling is normal and sustainable, instead of some irregular and painful activity.
    That is what I am working towards - both on the biking side and backpacking. As I said in my first post in this thread - the times I get to go backpacking are few and far between, so I need to do something to keep my legs working so when I get the chance to go, although a totally different activity, I am in a lot better shape to handle it because my legs are used to being worked a lot.

    Here is my chart so far this season:

    The separation line is between bikes, everything after is on my my disk LHT. The whole chart I am still working on to get a better format. As long as the data is there I can work on the rest later.
    Last edited by KC8QVO; 04-04-14 at 10:19 AM.

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    I decided to do a warm up ride tonight just to see how it went. I got some gatorade and MiO FIT electrolyte concentrate at the store. I drank one med. gatorade on the way home from the store and mixed in the proper amount of the electrolyte in a 24oz bottle for the ride.

    After about 3-4 miles I was feeling pretty good so instead of taking my planned route I added another 4 miles for just a hair shy of 11 miles total. I went through 2/3 of my water bottle in that time (54 min). No cramps at all. I started feeling my quads on the extra 4 miles, but I was in a head wind for 1.75 of it and a cross-wind for another 1.5 so was cranknig a bit harder than I would have otherwise.

    Depending on what the weather is tomorrow and how I feel I may do another ride.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KC8QVO View Post
    This may be a really wide open discussion topic but I am curious as to how I should plan my rides. I am looking to get in to some touring this year (multi-day trips, mostly camping at night). I don't have any target mileage/day to build up to, but I want to get in good shape to tackle a good trip and not have the stamina to keep going.

    Right now my plan is to ride between 5 and 10 miles every night. At 5 miles I don't feel that I am worked too much. At 10 miles I can really feel the ride and feel that I am exercising. So I guess I'm not sure where I should balance the miles? I don't think I can hold 10 miles every night yet. Would it be best to break up the miles? A long day, short day, long day etc, or find a mileage in between?
    from a diabetic as well

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    I did another 22 miles last saturday and packed up for a day trip sunday - 46 miles round trip. So with my 11 friday that is close to 79 miles in 3 days. I think I'm in OK shape. The electrolytes seem to have really helped. Now if I can keep the pace going. I have a trip I want to do that is 120 miles round trip with an overnight half way in between. We'll see how things go, not sure when that will happen.

  16. #16
    Senior Member hermanchauw's Avatar
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    At 5 miles I don't feel that I am worked too much.
    -> 5 miles is too little(?).

    At 10 miles I can really feel the ride and feel that I am exercising. So I guess I'm not sure where I should balance the miles? I don't think I can hold 10 miles every night yet.
    Try something between 5 and 10 that you can recover from to do again the next day. Start low. Or as they say in strength training: start light.

    Would it be best to break up the miles? A long day, short day, long day etc, or find a mileage in between?
    This is intermediate programming. Look up Texas Method. The basic idea is you want Volume (build mileage) then Recovery then Intensity (event)

    Herman Chauw
    Movement coach, strength & conditioning coach, rehab therapist

  17. #17
    Senior Member bikemig's Avatar
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    I try to get one long ride a week (a 50 miler in my case). I also shoot for 4-5 shorter rides (20 to 25 miles). If I find I'm not sleeping well at night, I immediately slack off since that is usually a sign of overwork. I've been doing LSD (long steady distance) miles with no concern for intensity as I don't have a lot of miles on my legs (I've done around 500 miles this year thanks to the late spring). I try to get in as many "garbage" miles as possible (commuting mainly); I call them garbage but all miles are good.

    Once I get enough miles on my legs (say a 1000 or so), then I'll start worrying about intensity and the like.

    I like a base before tackling some of the harder stuff. If 10 miles is a work out for you, I'd suggest simply building up the mileage with LSD miles and watching out for signs of overwork. Once you do enough miles, your legs will come around and you'll be able to do other sorts of training.

    Edit: the most important part of training is to enjoy what you are doing. Don't let this become a drag or you'll start to slack off. Sometimes training hard is a drag.

  18. #18
    DBA
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    I would just ride for the first year or two.....building your CV system.
    2 or 3 rides during the week and a "long" ride on the weekend. Rest days in between....or alternative exercise if you can stand it. A little weightlifting shouldn't cause too much concern I'd think.
    Each week, try to increase your total time in the saddle or mileage (one or the other), by about 5-10%, but try not to increase too fast.
    I would allow a rest week every 4th or 5th week. This would not mean being off the bike completely, just some short, very easy rides during that week....active recovery generally works better than inactive recovery time, in my experience.

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    Thanks for all the replies. For right now I have my riding figured out well enough. In terms of mileage and what I can do without over-do'ing it - the only thing that is holding me back is time now. I have done 110 miles in a week with no trouble. One of those rides was 62 miles. If I planned right I bet I could do a century in a day. Then it all comes back to time and not always having it.

    Back on the "training/nutrition" side of the topic - before I ride I eat a peanut butter & jelly sandwich. Usually I'll come home from work and eat, change clothes, get my water bottles filled up (I have been using some electrolyte powder packets and gatorade powder recently with good results), then hit the bike. That way I am not eating and immediately hitting the bike - I give myself about 20-30 minutes to digest a bit.

    This method has held me out to an hour and a half ride OK, even 2 hours, but if I know I am going to be out that long I like to eat a little bit in between just to preserve my energy towards the end so I don't deplete myself too much then eat. My day trips start out the same way, though I generally have the water bottles ready to go the day before. I have a snack at about the 1.5-2hr mark, lunch in between, and another snack half way through the second half. My day trips so far have been out/back on the same route - I am trying to get further and further out on a long distance trail here so that is about the only way to do it without hitting roads and weaving my way home.

    Mileage for the season now is 667. The past few weeks I have dropped off - I didn't quite hit 50 miles last week.

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