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  1. #1
    Senior Member SH27's Avatar
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    A runner new to cycling

    I would consider myself a runner if anybody asked me what sports I was into, however after a series of injuries mostly relating to ramping up distances and inadequate cross training I went out and bought a bike for the first time in years. I had a shock when I first went into a store and asked the salesperson how much a decent entry level road bike cost, and after adding on the hospital fees once my wife found out I opted for a second hand option (this has I admit resulted in me developing a new found passion for classic bikes but that's another story). the bike I bought was an 80's carbolite Peugeot, it is only a ten speed but seems fairly quick, my question is would I get a better endurance/aerobic workout with a higher geared bike or is this completely misguided thinking? Also whilst I know I am making my body (especially legs) work up hills and on the flats when I'm increasing cadence, I cannot seem to get the same level of cardiovascular exercise, am I just comparing chalk and cheese with riding and running or am I doing something wrong?

  2. #2
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Did you ever do 400m or 800m repeats? That's interval training. Cyclists do the same thing, although they tend to do them by time (1', 3', 20', etc.) rather than by distance as runners tend to do. Also, a lot of cyclists have fancier gauges, like power meters and power analysis software, but the principle is the same: go hard for the amount of time you have, recover, repeat.

    You could do Tabatas, which only require a watch. Warm up (at least 10', I would prefer 20'). Interval set is 20" on, 10" off. The "on" is all out: the absolutely hardest you can go for the full twenty seconds. The "off" is softpedaling for ten seconds. Repeat 8 times. That's 4 minutes of hell. Then cool down by easy riding for at least ten minutes.

    This is just one example. I'm sure others will chime in with their favorites.

    And no, having more gear options doesn't matter. I do Tabatas and 15"/15" on my SSCX all the time.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  3. #3
    Senior Member SH27's Avatar
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    Thanks Caloso, I'll give it a try, I do sometimes include what has been described to me as fartlek training in my running but nothing more complicated than increasing pace between reference points such as a tree or bridge etc. So you warm up for at least ten minutes before hitting the intervals?

  4. #4
    Senior Member longbeachgary's Avatar
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    Here's my take on having more gears. More gears increase the likelihood that you will be in the perfect gear to get the cadence that you want.

  5. #5
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    For me 10 minutes is a bare minimum, but then I'm old. A lot of us have certain routes we like to use for intervals so that warm up time is usually just riding to that place. There are whole books and websites that get into the deep minutia of interval training but the basics are all the same.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  6. #6
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    You certainly warm up, yes. Typically I'll ride for a half-hour or so at moderate pace before starting an interval session.

    As for comparing chalk and cheese between running and cycling, well, they are certainly markedly different. If you are very CV fit from running, you might initially find that when cycling your legs, rather than your CV system, are the limiting factor. Cycling uses the leg muscles, especially the quads, in a very different way than running and it'll take them a while to adapt, I guess.

    If you look in "the 33" in the racer's forum there's a sticky which gives a huge range of interval workouts. I like "over-unders" - 2minutes above my lactate threshold, 2 minutes just under, repeated three times for a 12 minute interval. Repeat three times with 8 minutes rest between intervals for a pretty challenging 52 minutes.

    Or, more simply, find yourself a hill that takes you five minutes to climb. This should be pretty easy in Cumbria. Ride up it as hard as you can, then coast down it for recovery. Rinse and repeat. On the fourth or fifth ascent your heart will jump out of your mouth and lie flapping on the road.

    And the bike doesn't really matter.
    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.

  7. #7
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by longbeachgary View Post
    Here's my take on having more gears. More gears increase the likelihood that you will be in the perfect gear to get the cadence that you want.
    Yes, that's true.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  8. #8
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Oh, an afterthought. If you want to get your heartrate up while riding on the flat, don't change into a higher gear, change into a lower one - maybe your lowest. Then do seated sprints, pedalling as hard as you can for maybe 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off. The very high-cadence, low resistance workout will maximise the stress on your CV system rather than your legs, and the discipline of pedalling so fast will improve the efficiency of your pedalling stroke.
    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.

  9. #9
    Senior Member SH27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    You certainly warm up, yes. Typically I'll ride for a half-hour or so at moderate pace before starting an interval session.

    As for comparing chalk and cheese between running and cycling, well, they are certainly markedly different. If you are very CV fit from running, you might initially find that when cycling your legs, rather than your CV system, are the limiting factor. Cycling uses the leg muscles, especially the quads, in a very different way than running and it'll take them a while to adapt, I guess.

    If you look in "the 33" in the racer's forum there's a sticky which gives a huge range of interval workouts. I like "over-unders" - 2minutes above my lactate threshold, 2 minutes just under, repeated three times for a 12 minute interval. Repeat three times with 8 minutes rest between intervals for a pretty challenging 52 minutes.

    Or, more simply, find yourself a hill that takes you five minutes to climb. This should be pretty easy in Cumbria. Ride up it as hard as you can, then coast down it for recovery. Rinse and repeat. On the fourth or fifth ascent your heart will jump out of your mouth and lie flapping on the road.

    And the bike doesn't really matter.
    You are completely right, I have found my legs to ache quite early on in the ride although I told myself this was normal at the time, and yes I have absolutely any amount of good climbs to choose from but thankfully I also have a nice long straight ctc path to open up on!

  10. #10
    Senior Member SH27's Avatar
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    I have been doing total opposite, i'll give it a try (I must seem really dumb sometimes, why didn't I work that one out?).

  11. #11
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SH27 View Post
    I have been doing total opposite, i'll give it a try (I must seem really dumb sometimes, why didn't I work that one out?).
    You are not dumb, it's counter-intuitive. In general, pedalling fast (high cadence, spinning) in a lowish gear will stress your CV system and save your legs. Pedalling slow in a high gear (low cadence, mashing) will stress your legs, and build strength, but spare your CV system. You'll see experienced cyclists who, like you, are fit, pedalling much faster for a given speed than novices, because their CV systems can take it and it conserves their strength.
    Last edited by chasm54; 06-25-14 at 02:26 PM.
    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.

  12. #12
    Senior Member SH27's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing the wisdom, I'll be early to rise and spinning on the morrow!

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