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Commuting and training

Old 07-27-11, 09:39 PM
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kiltedcelt
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Commuting and training

I'm about to take the plunge into full-on commuting to work, mostly because as I try to work in rides after work I find it ends up leaving me little time to do anything else afterwards. I've commuted a couple times and it's no biggie - about 11+ miles each way and I can do it easily in about 40 minutes or less. Mind you there is some pedestrian traffic in some areas of the path I use so that accounts for a slow-ish seeming time. Anyway, I'd still like to get my training in somewhere, but I don't know if it's necessarily a good idea to be hammering intervals on the ride into work. I am on my feet all day and I my job can be quite strenuous sometimes, so I don't really want to get myself all tired out before the day has even begun. I've been wondering if maybe I should just commute and save the training rides for the weekend, but I don't want to over train in that I'm in the saddle seven days a week. Finally, I say "train" but what I really mean is just trying to do some riding that helps build my fitness levels back up. I'm hoping to get into doing some long distance riding such as semi-regular centuries and I'd also like to try a bit of cyclocross racing this Fall and Winter. So, by all means, not a hardcore pro-racer, but an avid cyclist with aspirations of more than simply the daily commute. Suggestions or sage advice?
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Old 07-27-11, 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted by kiltedcelt View Post
I'm about to take the plunge into full-on commuting to work, mostly because as I try to work in rides after work I find it ends up leaving me little time to do anything else afterwards. I've commuted a couple times and it's no biggie - about 11+ miles each way and I can do it easily in about 40 minutes or less. Mind you there is some pedestrian traffic in some areas of the path I use so that accounts for a slow-ish seeming time. Anyway, I'd still like to get my training in somewhere, but I don't know if it's necessarily a good idea to be hammering intervals on the ride into work.
It's a fine idea and even better on the way home when traffic tends to be lower.

Except on rest weeks I like to ride 2x10 intervals a bit past my lactate threshold on Monday and Thursday evenings, sprint intervals tuesday mornings, and 40 minutes at a tempo pace Tuesday evening.

You're free to detour a bit longer when what you want to do doesn't quite mesh.
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Old 07-29-11, 11:50 AM
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Agree. My commute is about the same distance, but I'm a desk worker so being a bit wrung out after the AM ride is OK for me. It's typically easier to do shorter intervals and use the lights for recovery time. And traffic is more condusive for me in the morning. If time in the morning permits, I will do a longer more TT-like interval on the loop road through the office park as I get into work. Do the longer rides on weekends.
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Old 07-29-11, 03:58 PM
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I work at the front desk (Circulation) of the public library. I'm on my feet all day long, and trust me, the patrons keep me jumping.

Even so, I find doing my "training" commute on the way to work is best for me. In the three seasons I have a choice of route, although mainly I use a long and hilly one or a longer and flatter one. I take a direct, mainly flat route home. But don't be fooled. With 15 turns, 12 stoplights and six stop signs in 4.5 miles, that flat direct route home gives me plenty of "stoplight intervals" and sprints.

That's the nice thing about combining "training" with commuting. It's that my route isn't the same old boring thing, day in and day out. I can take a long ride along the canal path (which is generally into the headwinds too), do hill training through the parks and cemetery, or race the cars in downtown traffic. If I'm not in the mood for any of that, I can just do slow and easy through some side streets.

What's happened is that instead of doing "training" rides on the weekend, my weekend riding is recreational. I'll take a nice long ride along the lake, or join a club ride. (My club is mainly recreational cyclists, and most rides include ice-cream stops.) That's made my weekend rides much more enjoyable, and weekday training makes them my easiest rides of the week.

Last edited by tsl; 07-29-11 at 04:07 PM. Reason: comma splice
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Old 08-01-11, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by kiltedcelt View Post
I've been wondering if maybe I should just commute and save the training rides for the weekend, but I don't want to over train in that I'm in the saddle seven days a week.
I wouldn't worry about overtraining. Just take a day off here and there as needed.
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Old 08-01-11, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by kiltedcelt View Post
Anyway, I'd still like to get my training in somewhere, but I don't know if it's necessarily a good idea to be hammering intervals on the ride into work. I am on my feet all day and I my job can be quite strenuous sometimes, so I don't really want to get myself all tired out before the day has even begun.
I've fallen into the habit of taking it easy in the morning, more or less the same distance as yours in about the same time frame, and then doing what I want on the way home. It's a pretty good compromise between a relaxing commute and training.
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Old 08-01-11, 08:59 AM
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What about the effect of splitting the daily miles in two? Does a 30 mile round trip commuting equal 30 miles in one go?

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Old 08-01-11, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by tabriz View Post
What about the effect of splitting the daily miles in two? Does a 30 mile round trip commuting equal 30 miles in one go?

Tabriz
No. A 30 miler continuous would build endurance far better.

I dont't really like arriving a sweating mess either. But life isn't always perfect. My commute is a nice warm up. I run around 5 miles later in the day, so my bike commute gets everything warmed up. I can do stretches after the commute.
When I do my run, I can just jump into it. So my commute fits into my training schedule as an important component.
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Old 08-01-11, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by NYCJohn170 View Post
No. A 30 miler continuous would build endurance far better.
15 miles at threshold pace will do more for endurance than 30 miles at an endurance or recovery pace whether or not you pair it with another 15 miles at some other time during the day (although it won't tell you as much about fit problems that become uncomfortable after the first hour).

There's a lot of latitude interchanging time and intensity both gaining fitness and spending it. I felt great riding my first century in 5:45 at an all-day pace with just a couple 40-50 mile rides before that and a hard 20-25 miles on my lunch hour three days a week.
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Old 08-01-11, 05:16 PM
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I also have an 11 mile ride. Going to work, I don't kill myself, but I do keep the pace. I reckon that I have to get to work, after all....
And I have the luxury of a shower where I work.

On the ride home, though, I change things up. I'll extend the distance some times, or sprint through certain sections, or climb a few extra hills - you name it. I started commuting to get the exercise. I've since started looking for ways to stretch out and improve my results. 11 miles in and 20 miles home has become a norm.

I also find that my weekend riding is now more for fun. I ride my older Hard Rock MTB-City bike and just tool around as the wind takes me. I stop to talk to people, just kind of explore and usually end up downtown for the early crowd at the muffin house. Yesterday I rode 21 miles this way and greatly enjoyed myself.

So, should you use your commute to train? I say, "What are you waiting for?"

Last edited by dahut; 08-01-11 at 05:22 PM.
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Old 08-01-11, 09:24 PM
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Using it for training is wonderful. Make the ride into office just kind of warm up/recovery ride. On the way back to home, do what you think need to get done. Do TT back, take extra loop somewhere, put some intervals... No one said way back to home had to be 11 miles...
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Old 08-02-11, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Drew Eckhardt View Post
15 miles at threshold pace will do more for endurance than 30 miles at an endurance or recovery pace whether or not you pair it with another 15 miles at some other time during the day (although it won't tell you as much about fit problems that become uncomfortable after the first hour).

There's a lot of latitude interchanging time and intensity both gaining fitness and spending it. I felt great riding my first century in 5:45 at an all-day pace with just a couple 40-50 mile rides before that and a hard 20-25 miles on my lunch hour three days a week.
I find this encouraging as I'm going to attempt my first-ever century on September 18 and have thus far been unable to get the time to put in rides of longer length than 36+ miles. However, I can easily work in intervals or much harder pace shorter distance rides.
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