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One for the diehards...

Old 12-12-06, 07:58 AM
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Mordecai
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One for the diehards...

I'm looking for some advice from you fellas who commute 26mi(roundtrip) or more, daily. Does anyone have trouble recovering? When I try to knock out multiple days in a row I start to get burned out physically. Though I do spend the day on my feet..... hmmmmm.... Can anyone relate?

-mordecai
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Old 12-12-06, 08:16 AM
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thats about what i do commute wise, but all i do all day for work is sit in a cube and watch my ass grow.

so after 8 hours it is real nice to get onto the homeward leg of the journey.

even still it was tough for me to get used to in the beginning. lots of sleep and lots of food were the ticket; along with just pushing as hard as necessary and not trying to set speed records coming and going to work while building up to doing it comfortably.

if your tired and your legs hurt it is working

eventually they wont as much and you'll wonder if you should start riding more to supplement your commuting. now i ride it on a fixed gear for the extra legwork it gives me.


don't give up, most anything is possible with proper conditioning.

hell i hope to paertcipate in a hundred mile mountainbike race this summer. i am still severly undertrained for that. but this long commute sure does help!
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Old 12-12-06, 08:18 AM
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I do 24mi roundtrip 5 days a week and at first it really had me beat. After a few months of riding it got easier as my strength and endurance picked up. There are still some weeks that by Friday I am hurting. I don't spend all day on my feet so I can see how that would make it worse.

Best bet is to try to take it easy and build up slowly. I alternated days when I took it easy with days when I pushed harder. Slowly I built up better strength and endurance. You might also play around with the gear you ride in on hills. At first I rode in too high a gear and that made the trip more difficult and recovery tougher. Dropping down a gear and spinning a little faster was better for legs and knees -- not to mention recovery.

I think there have been several times when training has been discussed on the Very Long/Extreme Commuter Club threads. (You should join the XCC if you're riding this winter). You can check those out or search for postings from TiBike who offers some very good training advice. Just hang in there and it will get better.
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Old 12-12-06, 08:21 AM
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Thanks max. Yeah, I'm thinking maybe I should kick back the intensity a bit. And like you said, stick with it.
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Old 12-12-06, 08:25 AM
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yeah man it ain't a race at first. just work on getting back and forth enjoyably.

especially in the afternoon, when it's all nice out, take the time to relax and enjoy the sights! makes you forget that your legs hurt
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Old 12-12-06, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Mordecai
Does anyone have trouble recovering? When I try to knock out multiple days in a row I start to get burned out physically. Though I do spend the day on my feet..... hmmmmm.... Can anyone relate?

-mordecai
Definitely. My commute is 28 miles RT, and I've got 56 years on the bones. I can do two days in a row, but really feel a need for a break by Wednesday. It would probably be doable physically, but not enjoyable. I have a "suit job" that requires a fair amount of travel around town for various appointments, so I do my best just to schedule those appointments for the days I've decided not to ride. I also make use of those days to swap out the office wardrobe.

I suspect it would be easier if I had one of those jobs where people get off work when it's nice in the afternoon. Unfortuntely, the ride these days is in darkness both ways. That has a niceness all of its own, but it also seems to drain me more than riding in daylight.
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Old 12-12-06, 08:44 AM
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30 miles rt, four days a week here. I typically take either Tuesday (if a long ride taken on the weekend) or THursdays off. I find the one day break makes a difference both in my legs, and in my attitude. Another thing to keep an eye on is diet. Make sure you get some protein in your system after the morning ride. It's easy to get in the mode of a breakfast before the ride, and then not eat again until lunch. It can make for a dead thigh ride home. You need some protein in your system after arriving at work to help you muscles mend. Keep some nuts, yogurt etc at work if you can to help your body recover.

Previous posters also hit the nail - its not a race, ride hard when you feel good, allow the time to ride easy or take some breaks when you aren't in top form. I don't know your route, but I try to do other things to change it up, both for the legs and the brain. Try a day riding in one gear, or ride out of the saddle for some defined length of time/distance or extend the route when feeling good. Anything to mix up the muscle groups seems to help.
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Old 12-12-06, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by GCRyder
Definitely. My commute is 28 miles RT, and I've got 56 years on the bones. I can do two days in a row, but really feel a need for a break by Wednesday. It would probably be doable physically, but not enjoyable. I have a "suit job" that requires a fair amount of travel around town for various appointments, so I do my best just to schedule those appointments for the days I've decided not to ride. I also make use of those days to swap out the office wardrobe.

I suspect it would be easier if I had one of those jobs where people get off work when it's nice in the afternoon. Unfortuntely, the ride these days is in darkness both ways. That has a niceness all of its own, but it also seems to drain me more than riding in daylight.
I hear you on the lack of daylight. I work a 10pm to 6am. Especially at 6 when its downright chilly.
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Old 12-12-06, 09:17 AM
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I do 21 miles a day, 5 days a week, year-round. I'm always running right on the edge. If something knocks my health down a peg, I really start to feel it. Last Thursday, I gave blood, and my ride home from the donor center and my commute the next day I felt like I was riding through molasses. I actually checked my bike twice to make sure the brakes weren't dragging. It was just me.
Same thing happens if I start to catch a cold. Colds can't actually get much foothold on me, a ride on the bike takes it out pretty quickly, but for the day or so it's trying to scratch at me, I can get run down.
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Old 12-12-06, 09:19 AM
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When I was commuting 14+ miles one way at my last job, the best I could do was 3-4 days a week. But I was just a youngster of 56 at the time.
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Old 12-12-06, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Mordecai
Thanks max. Yeah, I'm thinking maybe I should kick back the intensity a bit. And like you said, stick with it.
Why be intense at all when commuting? What's the rush?

I am 59 YO and not in any great shape. I commute 24 miles R/T daily on a heavy city bike sitting bolt upright, and never need any recovery time. I work up a sweat but never breathe hard because I recognize I'm not in a race. If the wind blows in the wrong direction I just ride slower. Besides, riding fasterto get to my destination 10 minutes sooner probably would require 20 minutes extra cleanup/recovery time.
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Old 12-12-06, 09:23 AM
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I was actually wondering the same thing, right now my commute is only like 12 miles roundtrip, but next week, I am covering another store that is adding like 10 miles a day for me. And I work on my feet. I really worry that I am going to get my ass kicked by it. Any tips to minimize the asskicking would be fantastic.
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Old 12-12-06, 09:31 AM
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My commute used to be around 40 round trip and I needed rest days periodically. I got 25 one way now and get a ride home so I could do that everyday but work at home on Tuesday so it isn't a big deal. Working up to it is the key. With my commutes I find I get pretty good condition for ultra-distance cycling with a few long rides thrown in once in awhile.
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Old 12-12-06, 09:47 AM
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OK, this comes with nothing but my own recommendation.

When i have long utility rides to do (as in i have something that needs to be done at the other end) then i reduce my pedalling effort so that i am only pedalling for the first quarter of the stroke, from 12 o'clock to 3 o'clock if you viewed the chainset as a clock. For the rest of the stroke i only use enough effort so that the pedals keep turning. Make sure that the spin would appear to an outside viewer to remain constant (not fast for a quarter, slow for three quarters). I keep the cadance around 80rpm. I have found this very successful in enabling me to do rides of 3-4 times my regular distance and still have plenty of energy left at the other end.

Yours is an impressive distance, but there's lots of guys here who do around that or more, so it's very achieveable once your body has had time to adapt to this demand.
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Old 12-12-06, 09:58 AM
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Interesting bit on the quarter strokes...
Thanks for the input my brothers in arms.
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Old 12-12-06, 10:06 AM
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Mordecai

How long have you been doing your commute? - You will get stronger with time.
I have about a 30 mile RT commute, which I do 4 or 5 days per week. I tend not to push myself real hard - especially this time of year when all 30 miles are in the dark, and often wet or icy conditions.

Mark
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Old 12-12-06, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
I commute 24 miles R/T daily
Pretty "serious" commute. Are you a Serious Cyclist?
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Old 12-12-06, 10:13 AM
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When you first start out, you might need a little extra protein to help your muscles recover, sleep helps greatly too. I used to do just about 25 miles round trip everyday with a lot of sprinting in between, since it is the city, there is a lot of stop and go traffic. Its a little bit easier on your body if you can find a nice road and keep going. Now my commute is only 18 miles or so round trip and often I drop by the gym afterwards to run 3-4 miles and put in another half hour on the elliptical while I'm still warmed up from the ride home.

Full out and light days will help, it's like extended intervals. Go all out at least once a week then take it easy the next day riding in to recover. You'll find the difference in time is minimal compared to how much more you'll enjoy it on the light days. 26 miles RT is a pretty short distance each way, it's only about 45-50 minutes each way. Let's say for example it's a fairly nice section of road and you average 17 mph, that means you'll knock off 13 miles in 46 min. If you ramp it up to 20mph, you complete the trip in 6 minutes but it'll be a lot harder. 6 stinking minutes, is that worth all the heartache? Probably not. You reduce your speed by 10%, the effort goes down by almost 50%.
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Old 12-12-06, 10:19 AM
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what is your back ground? as slvoid says, it's about 45-50 mintues each way, which is doable, but not if you've spent the last 10 years on the couch. that's almost 2 hours of exercise each day with a full day of work in between. try to ramp up a bit and back off when you start to feel burnt out. after a while you'll know your body better and what it can handle.
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Old 12-12-06, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
Why be intense at all when commuting? What's the rush?
For those of us who ride in heavy traffic, speed is safety - well, in my mind at least. Lower closing speeds allow cars more time to prepare and react.

Regarding burn-out... yes I have the same issues - mostly because I do not get enough sleep during the week. If I'd choose to get another two hours of sleep I'd be fine.
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Old 12-12-06, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
Why be intense at all when commuting? What's the rush?

I am 59 YO and not in any great shape. I commute 24 miles R/T daily on a heavy city bike sitting bolt upright, and never need any recovery time. I work up a sweat but never breathe hard because I recognize I'm not in a race. If the wind blows in the wrong direction I just ride slower. Besides, riding fasterto get to my destination 10 minutes sooner probably would require 20 minutes extra cleanup/recovery time.
This is of course great advice if you are looking for a way to ride everyday.

What's the rush? I'm late, of course!

I do 30 r/t but not daily. If you want to do back-to-back days, week after week, take ILTB's advice and slow down. If you are like me and always end up pushing the speed a little (or a lot,) ride on alternate days. Also, learn to eat some protein ASAP after each trip, it stimulates more rapid muscle recovery.

Oh--I'm 47. Still a youngster.
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Old 12-12-06, 10:38 AM
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I do 30 miles round trip also. I don't commute the same way that I ride my road bike. I just ride at a nice pace so it doesn't wear me out the way a strong weekend ride would. Now saying that, I have ridden home in the face of a strong head wind that beat the crap out of me.
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Old 12-12-06, 10:39 AM
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Let me preface my response with the fact that I ride primarily for fitness.
I ride 45 mile rt with an option of 60 miles RT if I should choose. I can also decrease it to around 8 miles RT. More often than not, I ride the 45 mile version. When riding 5 days a week, no matter what around Wed I am dead tired. I have increased my sleeping, added supplements, increased my caloric intake, and tweaked my diet. While I am not nearly as tired, my energy level mid week is still sub par.
Additionally, I pick up my son from preschool once a week. While I can use the trailer to transport him home, recently I have started riding the light rail in to work and taking him home using a bus. This has provided me with a recovery day. Plus, I am curious to see if quality as opposed to quantity of miles helps my fitness. I am focusing on riding harder and seeing how that works out. So far so good. However, I have fridays off until the end of the year.
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Old 12-12-06, 10:43 AM
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Just take it easy, it ain't a race. You can also change things up by driving some days (I do when I need to 'refresh' clothing, munchies and stuff...longer rides seem easier when you ain't hauling everything but the kitchen sink and/or can ride your 'fast' bike), or driving part way and riding the remainder.
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Old 12-12-06, 10:47 AM
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At my previous job, I rode 38 miles rt, but it was almost flat. I commuted nearly everyday and never had any problems. Now I have a 45 mile rt and the extra miles aren't much of an issue. However, the ride is much more hilly and after wearing myself out a few weeks in a row, I decided to alternate days. Now I ride on Mon, Tues & Fri. The recovery days have helped a lot. I now ride stronger than I ever have before and don't wake up feeling like a truck ran over me.
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