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Old 06-01-14, 01:07 PM   #1
brianipmh
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Never been out of breath cycling...

You know the feeling when you get out of breath from running/playing sports in general? Well that hasn't really happened to me on a bike, ever...

I can ride for two hours (mainly flat surface) with 90rpm and have really sore legs afterwards, but never do I feel the need to walk around to catch a breath.

Initially I thought it's because I was using a gear too high so that my legs tire out before my cardio did, but after lowering my gear and spinning at a faster cadence I'm still not

feeling a cardio fatigue. Can anyone help/explain to me what I'm experiencing? Thanks.

*I do notice I can't stay in my target heart rate zone when riding. I'm only in my zone when climbing but my legs give out before I can climb for a good amount of time and I end up only being in the zone for ~15 minutes.

Last edited by brianipmh; 06-01-14 at 01:11 PM.
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Old 06-01-14, 04:03 PM   #2
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Your lungs generally have extra capacity. They can typically handle 30% more than your body - or cardio system can use (gaseous exchange). You shouldn't run out of breath if you're breathing properly - and suitably warmed up.
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Old 06-01-14, 04:24 PM   #3
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Attack some hills or do some interval work as hard as you can, see if that can make you short of breath.
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Old 06-01-14, 04:35 PM   #4
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Attack some hills or do some interval work as hard as you can, see if that can make you short of breath.
That sounds about right to me! I can spin along on flat ground with no problems as well. Bicycling is about 5 times more efficient than running... so it can seem easy if your not pushing. But trying to maintain speed on the mile and a half of winding hill I face near daily.... makes me gasp for breath.
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Old 06-01-14, 05:22 PM   #5
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Your lungs generally have extra capacity. They can typically handle 30% more than your body - or cardio system can use (gaseous exchange). You shouldn't run out of breath if you're breathing properly - and suitably warmed up.
Or you could climb hills and do intervals to the point of exhaustion.
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Old 06-01-14, 06:35 PM   #6
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We have some 20+% gradient hills within a few miles of my house I would love to ride up with you on one of our humid Ozarks summer days... There are a few rolling hills you will be lucky to find your breath going down before it's time to climb the next :-)
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Old 06-01-14, 07:07 PM   #7
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If you can't climb hard enough to start panting, you need to strengthen your legs. Weights mostly, but a lot of hill climbing will do it, too. It's rare, but some folks' lungs are bigger than their legs when they start riding.
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Old 06-01-14, 10:49 PM   #8
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Yes, the obvious question is: are you riding hard enough, even for short bursts? However.....

Unless the recent research has changed, cycling is slightly less aerobic than running, simply because the upper body isn't really used.

extra 'however'....
I've never, EVER found cycling has hard (painful) or breathtaking as running. It's always been more about the legs than the lungs for me; like my lungs always have some ceiling room. The only time I get breathless is doing full-on sprints and some short intervals, and even then, I get my breath back pretty quickly.

When I compare this to the 'old days' when I used to run, then played Aussie Rules football before that: ugh! Pain! For memory, 400s and 800s were the worst.

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Old 06-01-14, 11:45 PM   #9
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Well, the thing is that potential ability is tied to VO2max. I would hope that we all know that. And VO2max is reached when you are at your breathing limit and cannot get any more oxygen into your body. So if you're not there with your lungs, you need to improve your muscles' ability to use oxygen, i.e. get stronger and more efficient, i.e. more mitochondria, more capilarization, more muscle mass, more neuromuscular conditioning, all that stuff, which translates as hill intervals, flat intervals, gym work, and in general, learning how to train. It's a big subject.

Or forget the whole thing and just have fun riding your bike.
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Old 06-02-14, 05:35 AM   #10
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Never been out of breath cycling
I have the opposite problem. So what is your secret?
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