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bhelton 09-06-13 10:56 AM

Riding Schedule/Program
Newbie here looking for advice on a riding program. I have been cycling for the last year with general health, weight loss and exercise being my goals. Currently I am using a schedule found online that calls for a long ride on Sat or Sunday and two shorter rides during the week. I have been doing this the last 5 weeks riding 40 miles last Sat and two additional rides this week (Monday and Wednesday) for a total of 84 miles. This is mostly on a flat riding/walking path averaging ~13MPH. This schedule calls for a 5 mile increase on each long ride and 5 additional miles through the week. So this upcoming week will call for a 45 mile long ride along with 45 miles during the week. My schedule is tight but this appears to be working for now. I have a goal to ride 100 miles (one ride) by Dec 1. My question; is this a sensible program or totally out of line. Should I devote time to hills, shorter more intense rides, longer rides etc.

A little about me I am 51 yrs old, 245 lbs and recently (within the last 6 months) had a total hip replacement. I ride a new Focus Black Forest Mtn. bike with smooth tires and an upgraded straight bar.

Sorry for the long post!

genejockey 09-06-13 11:34 AM

Can't comment on the hip replacement, but your schedule is similar to what I do, though you're a bit ahead of me! I'm getting back in after a layoff, but I've been riding on and off for 19 years. Some years >3500 miles, some years zero.:rolleyes:

Everything I say should be taken with the caveat that you should be leery of advice from strangers on the internet!

Your source seems to follow the rule of increasing no more than 10% in a week. I think that's very sensible, especially if you're starting from zero. Depending on how your weather is, building up to a 100 miler over the next 3 months seems doable.

What I found worked for me, building up, was a combination of things works best. I have always made my weekend rides about distance, so I go at a relaxed pace. Once I'm comfortable at a particular distance, I throw in climbs while keeping the distance the same, so for instance I started off doing a fairly flat 20-25 miles, then changed to a hillier route of the same distance. Now I'm almost up to 40 miles, and when I'm good with that, I'll add a serious climb. Once I'm comfortable with that, I'll add on to that.

Nothing but climbing can train you for climbing, but climbing will build your strength for other facets of riding.

For the midweek rides, I go harder. I'm trying to wear myself out in an hour, rather than keep going for 3. If you have some short climbs separated by flats, you can do hill intervals - push it hard up the hill, hard enough that you're gasping at the top, then ride the flat part gently to recover, then push it hard at the next hill. The hills should be no more than a 2-3 minutes really hard work.

Other rides, I'll do 'tempo', riding at a pace just below Lactate Threshold - so you don't have to pant, but nearly - on a mostly flat course for increasing lengths of time.

Then sometimes, especially if you worked hard on the weekend ride, you want at least one of your midweek rides to just be a gentle spin at low effort and a nice high cadence. Listen to your body, and it will often tell you what it wants, needs, and can do.

So, the answer to "Should I devote time to hills, shorter more intense rides, longer rides etc" is YES! all of that!

WonderMonkey 09-06-13 10:48 PM

At the very beginning for a rider you have to be very careful about adding miles. You are beyond that and your body is used to riding. In addition to the other posters suggestions I offer the following as I have a 100 miler scheduled in a month with my previous long being 65 (or so) in July:

- Work on making use of all parts of your spin and don't just mash your pedals. I used to do that and still work on improving.
- You mentioned doing a 40 mile ride. How did you feel after that? I suggest riding in one direction 25 miles so you have to ride back 25 miles. Stop every 15 miles or so and make sure you eat a little something. Practice your long distance nutrition. This will help you ride longer NOW and get you ready for what you have to do on your 100 miler. By going 25 miles in one direction you are forcing yourself out of your comfort zone.
- Don't turn it into a chore. Sure you may have to force yourself out here and there to get to your goal but don't do it too much else you will dread getting on the bike.

bhelton 09-07-13 06:37 PM

I agree that I need to work on some hills and intensity. I think I will still with my current program for the next few weeks to see if I can get to the 100 mark then plan on changing around and planing some more intense rides to help build my strength and stamia. To answer the question the 40 last weekend was good averaging 13mph over flat ground. I plan to do 45 tomorrow.

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