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Commuting as viable training?

Old 02-27-07, 09:59 AM
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kponds
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Commuting as viable training?

Is commuting viable as training?

Considering that I am riding in a conservative manner so as not to build up sweat before getting to work, dealing with several stoplights and the rigors of rush hour traffic. I am not sure that it is structured enough to consider as training.

Can I expect to be a successful randonneur (by sucessful, I mean, complete the distances in comfort, not "first place" (in quotes because I know there is no actual first place)) by commuting 24 miles round trip 5 days per week, and long rides on the weekends?

Or would it be best to take one day off of commuting per week, and make that a speed interval day?
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Old 02-27-07, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by kponds
Is commuting viable as training?

Can I expect to be a successful randonneur (by sucessful, I mean, complete the distances in comfort, not "first place" (in quotes because I know there is no actual first place)) by commuting 24 miles round trip 5 days per week, and long rides on the weekends?

Or would it be best to take one day off of commuting per week, and make that a speed interval day?
my training last year was pretty much 4 days of commuting (28 miles round trip) and a long steady distance day (80-100 miles) on Saturday or Sunday. So 5 days on, 2 days off and that was sufficient to see me through a series.

however, I would also incorporate interval/climbing rides into my commute with steady and recovery rides sometimes in the same day. (ie. do a fast pace or pick a climbing route on the way to work and a flat/easy on the way home) My work had showers and lockers, so I wasn't concerned about sweating or being conservative in my riding. I also had the benefit of having a route where only the first four of the 14 miles from home had a dense collection of lights, and there are many days where I can put away 10 miles with only occasional coasting/slow downs for intersections.

I suspect that if you ride slow, you'll only train yourself for long slow distances and, if possible, you should try to setup your work environment so that sweat isn't a factor. Stage work clothes at work. Get in a little earlier to do a sink sponge bath if showers are unavailable, etc.
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Old 02-27-07, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by kponds
Is commuting viable as training?

Considering that I am riding in a conservative manner so as not to build up sweat before getting to work, dealing with several stoplights and the rigors of rush hour traffic. I am not sure that it is structured enough to consider as training.

Can I expect to be a successful randonneur (by sucessful, I mean, complete the distances in comfort, not "first place" (in quotes because I know there is no actual first place)) by commuting 24 miles round trip 5 days per week, and long rides on the weekends?

Or would it be best to take one day off of commuting per week, and make that a speed interval day?
It's OK to work up a sweat on the way home. Maybe take a longer route home that allows you to get in some more miles.

Nonetheless, doing 24 miles per day will do more for you than doing no miles per day.
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Old 02-27-07, 11:58 AM
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I think it depends partly on the terrain on your commute. But even if it's flat, you can still sprint the lights on the way home, thereby doing a bit of interval training.

My round-trip commute is about 20 miles and moderately hilly, with about 1000 feet of climbing. The combination of commuting and going for moderate (40-50 mile) rides on weekends was enough to maintain fitness for riding a brevet a month from August to Jan. Now that the brevet schedule has picked up again, I've ridden a century and three brevets so far this year, but with the snow and ice on the ground I haven't been doing the moderate rides in between. (In the winter, I drive part way to work, but I think the total work is about the same on average, given that I'm pushing mountain bike tires, sometimes studded tires, and sometimes riding on snow and ice.) On brevets, I haven't noticed much of a change in how fast I'm riding or in how sore I am afterwards. As the brevet season picks up, I'll be doing more long rides, so in combination with commuting, that'll be my only training for the really long rides.

As to whether any of this lets you or me finish a brevet "in comfort", well, I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for a brevet that is comfortable all the way through :-) (Or maybe you meant a comfortable time margin.)

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Old 02-27-07, 04:50 PM
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I commute 3-4 days a week, 25 miles one way. At least one 100 mile ride a month on a Saturday and that has done me pretty good so far. I have a shower at work though so I get a good hour and a half workout in on the way to work usually.
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Old 02-27-07, 07:51 PM
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Yes, definitely.

That's exactly how I trained for the PBP in 2003 (in dead flat Manitoba). My commute was 13.7 kms round trip. I rode easy on the way there, and I "raced" home in the evening ... sprinting between lights, and going up and over anything that remotely resembled a hill (overpasses). Some days that was all I did. Other days, I would go out for a shortish (usually 22 kms) evening ride to make a total for the day of about 35 kms). Then I did my long rides on Saturdays and Sundays. That method seemed to work quite well.

This year my commute will be 65 kms round trip ... I'll see how that goes.
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Old 03-01-07, 06:46 PM
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I remember reading a story a while back about a guy in San Diego who set out to become the world champion single speed racer (or some such thing) and fit in his training sessions during his commute to work. In the end he succeeded in becoming world champ (that may help you google him) a few years back.
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Old 03-02-07, 07:42 PM
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Is commuting viable as training?
What do you mean by viable?

Commuting can be beneficial to your overall health and cycling fitness without being disciplined enough to be called "training." Who knows what "viable-training" is?
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Old 03-03-07, 02:50 PM
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My work commute is 17 miles one way. There are days in which I will vary my commute home to take in a hill. I ride in a rough neighborhood so I also pratice my speed during the commutes. My the weekends the long distance rides are for the purpose of touring the rest of Michigan.

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Old 04-04-07, 03:53 AM
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I comfortably rode a 300k brevet this past weekend without training other than my commute to work (usually 9 1/2 miles round trip 3 times a week) and running errands (5 to 6 miles 2 or 3 times a week). Until the snow in mid January, I would take a ride up to 40 miles once or twice a week.

I started riding brevets a year ago, with no prior long distance cycling, so my experience is limited, but it seems to me at this point that one need not duplicate brevet distances in ones training. Of course that can depend on ones goal: my goal is to complete the ride with a good margin of time; if your goal is to arrive at the controles as they open then more organized training is necessary.

Spokenword's advice is right on: you should stress yourself on your commutes to maximize the benefit.
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Old 04-04-07, 04:57 AM
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Henry Kingman rode a very fast '99 PBP with little riding other than brevets and a short intense commute.
https://www.milly.org/hkingman/henry_pbp.html
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Old 04-07-07, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by kponds
Is commuting viable as training?

Considering that I am riding in a conservative manner so as not to build up sweat before getting to work, dealing with several stoplights and the rigors of rush hour traffic. I am not sure that it is structured enough to consider as training.

Can I expect to be a successful randonneur (by sucessful, I mean, complete the distances in comfort, not "first place" (in quotes because I know there is no actual first place)) by commuting 24 miles round trip 5 days per week, and long rides on the weekends?

Or would it be best to take one day off of commuting per week, and make that a speed interval day?

The short answer is yes and no. If you want to get fit enough to do the races then it is a resounding yes. If you are trying to compete with the best racers then no.

Try doing cruise intervals, sprints, and a long time trial on the way home three days a week. Then your usual long slow weekend ride. You can get very fit by utilizing shorter high intensity rides on the way home three days a week. Slow recovery rides on the way home on the days in between and on the weekends. On the way to work just ride fast enough to get some cardio benefit and fat buring. Slow cardio works best for this.

Here are some ideas. Where you have a lot of lights to stop at. Sprint between the lights and then rest at the lights. Race the cars off the line up to whatever speed you can hold for about one minute then cruise at a faster than normal pace until you have to stop again.

Last edited by Hezz; 04-07-07 at 11:17 AM.
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Old 04-07-07, 12:30 PM
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I'd like some comments on my situation - I'm entered in the Assault on Mt. Mitchell on June 11th. I've been riding all winter (on the trainer for 3 weeks in Feb when it was too icy for me to ride outdoors). I've upped my work commute to 2X a week (43 miles RT), and I have a long weekend ride. Today I only did 30, but Sunday I did 86, and the previous 2 weeks I did 60.

My plan is to keep the work commute at 2X, and get at least 2 100 milers in in April, with May focusing on riding more hills. (Weekend ride will likely be 50 miles w/climbing, then 75, then an 88 miler). That pretty much takes me up to June 11th. My goal is to finish. Period. If I finish in under 10 hours, that's a bonus. I'm riding a 53X39X30 triple with a 12X25 cassette, too. Even with up to 3600 ft. of climbing, I've not had to use my small chain ring. On Mitchell, I'll have no shame. If I need the small ring, I'm using it.


Do I need to add another session during the week, or is my mileage OK to get me through the ride?

FYI - I average 16-17.5 for my commute, 15-16 for a 60 miler, and 15 for the 86 miler. The work commute has 1700 feet of climbing, the 60 miler has 1800, and the 86 had 3600. The hill workouts have 3000, 4500, and the 88 miler has 6000. Will that be enough to get to the top of Mitchell?
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Old 04-08-07, 05:44 AM
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commutin' is not only "viable training", it's just the right thing to do!!! and if your commute is far enough you can pretty much eat as much as you want. folks trip about how much i eat and weigh only 130. it's from ridin' EVERYwhere!!!!
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Old 04-08-07, 07:45 PM
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I did my first century last fall in a comfortable 7.5 hours. 90% of my riding is commuting (28 miles round trip). Other than commuting, I probably did, in the 3 months prior to the event, one or two 60+ rides, a few 40+ and some rides that were in the mid thirties. But on a lot of weekends, I didn't ride at all. So the benefits of the long rides were at most psychological and educational.

The simple fact about cycling is this. If you are comfortable on your bike, in decent shape, and have a good grasp of your hydration and nutritional needs, you can ride forever.
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