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Feeling like I've Plateaued....

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Feeling like I've Plateaued....

Old 07-30-15, 02:19 PM
  #1  
jaymac10
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Feeling like I've Plateaued....

It's probably more in my head than anything but thought I'd post and see what you all think!

I'm 34, 5.10', 180lb's (was 210lb's in Jan 2014), desk job, and on either my mountain bike or road bike averaging 3 times per week. Been mountain biking for a long time but got into road riding in 2014.

I for sure like my alcohol, and food (meat eater), but all in all I'm pretty balanced (I think anyway). I try to focus on high protein, lower carbs, lower sugar diet. I love sushi and eat it sometimes twice a week. But it's mostly salad, chicken, steak, vegies, and fruit, with some rice/potatoes once and a while.

I usually try to go every second day but with a wife and two kids sometimes I'll go 3-4 days between rides but I try to limit that. Once and a while I'll ride back to back days.

When I do ride, I really try to push myself, as in, I'm not out for a Sunday stroll. My road rides are anywhere from shorter 25km with 850m of hard climbing or 40-60km's with maybe 300-500m of easier climbing. I've done two 100km ride with about 1,500m of climbing and another 125km ride with almost 2,000m of climbing in the past month or so. I'm doing a bunch of charity rides with the big one being the Ride to Conquer Cancer which goes from Vancouver, BC to Seattle, WA and covers 250km over two days.

My mountain bike rides are typically between 10-20km's and mostly XC with around 350-750m of climbing. I'll be doing three mountain bike 4-6 hour endurance (with a partner) races this year.

The one thing I've noticed the most is that after a gut busting climb, the recovery time in the legs is a lot quicker. Which certainly is nice.

However, I don't feel like my legs are actually getting stronger especially when climbing steep grades. I struggle keeping my cadence/speed up.

Is there anything I can do, other than to just ride more, to increase the strength in my legs?

Cheers guys,

Jay

Last edited by jaymac10; 07-30-15 at 02:27 PM.
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Old 07-30-15, 02:47 PM
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Darth Steele
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Originally Posted by jaymac10 View Post
It's probably more in my head than anything but thought I'd post and see what you all think!

I'm 34, 5.10', 180lb's (was 210lb's in Jan 2014), desk job, and on either my mountain bike or road bike averaging 3 times per week. Been mountain biking for a long time but got into road riding in 2014.

I for sure like my alcohol, and food (meat eater), but all in all I'm pretty balanced (I think anyway). I try to focus on high protein, lower carbs, lower sugar diet. I love sushi and eat it sometimes twice a week. But it's mostly salad, chicken, steak, vegies, and fruit, with some rice/potatoes once and a while.

I usually try to go every second day but with a wife and two kids sometimes I'll go 3-4 days between rides but I try to limit that. Once and a while I'll ride back to back days.

When I do ride, I really try to push myself, as in, I'm not out for a Sunday stroll. My road rides are anywhere from shorter 25km with 850m of hard climbing or 40-60km's with maybe 300-500m of easier climbing. I've done two 100km ride with about 1,500m of climbing and another 125km ride with almost 2,000m of climbing in the past month or so. I'm doing a bunch of charity rides with the big one being the Ride to Conquer Cancer which goes from Vancouver, BC to Seattle, WA and covers 250km over two days.

My mountain bike rides are typically between 10-20km's and mostly XC with around 350-750m of climbing. I'll be doing three mountain bike 4-6 hour endurance (with a partner) races this year.

The one thing I've noticed the most is that after a gut busting climb, the recovery time in the legs is a lot quicker. Which certainly is nice.

However, I don't feel like my legs are actually getting stronger especially when climbing steep grades. I struggle keeping my cadence/speed up.

Is there anything I can do, other than to just ride more, to increase the strength in my legs?

Cheers guys,

Jay
you need to change to a quality more than quantity way of thinking.

1. Get rollers with the resistance. I have these ( Wiggle | CycleOps Aluminium Rollers with Resistance Unit | Turbo Trainers)

when I compare my "outside" rides to my roller rides I see that I am able to spend more time in the "sweet spot" than while on the rollers. Rollers allow me to do specific/focused training. Getting rollers may also save your marriage and help your kids to recognize you more

2. You need a power meter (if you are not training with a power meter then you are not training).

3. Get an altitude mask (Elevation Training Mask | Simulate High Altitude Training). This will allow you in conjunction with the above items to take your training to the next level.
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Old 07-30-15, 02:54 PM
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You can't ride enough to outrun a bad diet. That said you could ride more.
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Old 07-30-15, 03:13 PM
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This year I've been doing heart rate training. I've done a mixture of hard and easy days, 2-3 days of high intensity (intervals, hill repeats, or fast club rides) and then 2-3 days of longer zone 2-3 rides. For the zone 2-3 rides I go as fast as I can without exceeding the zone I am shooting for. I've definitely seen improvement this year.
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Old 07-30-15, 03:38 PM
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Get a trainer or set of rollers so you can ride at home at times that are convenient for you and your family. That's what I've been doing that last 5 years or so. Job, wife, 2 kids, I ride early in the morning 4-5am or in the evening depending on everyone's schedule.

So ride more and hills are easier the lighter you are.
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Old 07-30-15, 04:58 PM
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You are exactly where I am at, except in metric. I'm also 10 years older. If you want to go faster, you should get a power meter, lose some weight, and have a better training plan. Some people believe that the type of riding you do, irregular and always at WOT, is prone to plateaus. It could be caused by overtraining because you're doing it improperly.
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Old 07-30-15, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Darth Steele View Post
2. You need a power meter (if you are not training with a power meter then you are not training).
That is horse****.

If you or your coach are capable of analyzing the data, and developing a training regimen around it, a power meter is a great tool.

You can effectively train without a power meter, but it may not be the most effective way to get stronger/faster.
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Old 07-30-15, 06:28 PM
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Just how strong do you need to be?
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Old 07-30-15, 08:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Darth Steele View Post

2. You need a power meter (if you are not training with a power meter then you are not training).
I sure hope that is purely a joke.
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Old 07-30-15, 08:32 PM
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you can probably lose quite a few pounds, and eat less meat, more veggies.
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Old 07-30-15, 08:51 PM
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What about incorporating weight training like squats on my non riding days?

For My body type, ideal/realistic weight is probably 175 which I was at before my week long Alaska cruise!
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Old 07-30-15, 08:59 PM
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Originally Posted by jaymac10 View Post
What about incorporating weight training like squats on my non riding days?

For My body type, ideal/realistic weight is probably 175 which I was at before my week long Alaska cruise!
That might help during the off season, but during training or heavy riding it will most likely not do much. If any it will hurt your time on the bike.

I picked up pretty heavy weight training this summer, to help with swimming for next season. I still ride when I can, but its really hard to do. When I specialize on legs, it takes 3 days to fully recover. The next day is really hard to ride, and it most definitely recovery. It kills about half a week of training for each leg session. It just makes riding really hard when your legs are sore, lower back is sore and arms.

I think most people put the time that they would of spent in the gym and recovering on the bike, the weight room and can take an easy 6 hours off the bike each week.
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Old 07-30-15, 09:11 PM
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Originally Posted by jaymac10 View Post
It's probably more in my head than anything but thought I'd post and see what you all think!
It's probably in your training plan or lack thereof.

When I do ride, I really try to push myself, as in, I'm not out for a Sunday stroll. My road rides are anywhere from shorter 25km with 850m of hard climbing or 40-60km's with maybe 300-500m of easier climbing.
Many (if not most) recreational cyclists ride too hard to raise their aerobic threshold but too easy to raise their anaerobic threshold and neglect the reset weeks needed to allow adaptation to occur.

Is there anything I can do, other than to just ride more, to increase the strength in my legs?
Your leg strength is fine. You have other problems, like having a low aerobic threshold so you start accumulating waste products early and problems clearing them out so your anaerobic threshold is also low.
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Old 07-30-15, 09:33 PM
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Originally Posted by jaymac10 View Post
What about incorporating weight training like squats on my non riding days?
I wouldn't recommend that unless you are a sprinter and then only in the off season. From your first post, it seems what you need is a well structured training program. You'll need to define some realistic goals and train in such a way that you can accomplish them. "Just getting stronger" is not specific enough.

I see intervals and a trainer (or set of rollers) in your future.

Last edited by Doctor Morbius; 07-30-15 at 09:37 PM.
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Old 07-30-15, 09:45 PM
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It's quite simple. If you want to be a better athlete - take better care of yourself. I was almost exactly like you five years ago. Same age, similar weight, slightly taller. Made the same excuses about drinking/eating.

Finally had enough. I cut out alcohol for 3 months, and then resumed drinking only two or three days a week, and only 2 drinks at that (3 if I was really cutting loose). Increased my workouts from 3-4 days a week to 6 (rest day is important). I run, swim and bike, but have the luxury of doing it mid-day on my lunch hour - I mostly work from home.

that may not work for you, so as some have said, look into indoor riding on rollers. Or maybe run twice a week to supplement your off days of riding, even a 2-3 mile jog after the kids go to bed is helpful (or before they wake up). Drink less, move more. Cross train. You'll be off your plateau in no time.

For the record - I'm now weeks away from birthday #39 , down to 167 lbs, 5'11". Best shape I've been in since high school. Swim anywhere from 1 1/2 to 2 miles, bike 20-25 miles and run 3-6 miles - each twice per week. It's hard work but if it's important to you and your family supports your healthy pursuit you'll find time. Once you pass 35 or 40 years of age it takes serious commitment to keep your body in top form.
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Old 07-30-15, 10:44 PM
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Do some more structured training - plenty of discussions on this forum about them - so see if you can find one here (or on the WWW) that suits you. You can ride around HARD three to four times a week for short(ish) distances, but there is no development in simply doing that - you need to mix it up and increase load - either intensity or distance - in a structured manner.

disclaimer - I am not a sports physician / trainer.

cheers
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Old 07-30-15, 10:56 PM
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Drew is spot on about aerobic (ride easier) and anaerobic (ride harder) training.

Alcohol hampers recovery, so I skip it unless I'll be off the bike a couple days.

Get more consecutive days of riding at an easier pace if necessary. Rollers or commuting by bike is ideal.
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Old 07-31-15, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Bunyanderman View Post
I sure hope that is purely a joke.


Originally Posted by BoSoxYacht View Post
That is horse****.

If you or your coach are capable of analyzing the data, and developing a training regimen around it, a power meter is a great tool.

You can effectively train without a power meter, but it may not be the most effective way to get stronger/faster.
yes Joking, and my statement is a hyperbole. With that said, he mentioned family obligation (time) and hitting a plateau. This means that he can't spend more time on the bike, and it also means that he needs to focus more his training performance. A power meter allows him to train in a repeatable manner effective and efficiently.
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Old 07-31-15, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by jaymac10 View Post
It's probably more in my head than anything but thought I'd post and see what you all think!


Jay
I agree.

Why are you stressed about getting stronger legs?

Are you planning on racing, or do you get dropped a lot in group rides?

Cycling is fun, but like anything, you can lose focus on the fact it helps your fitness and is a source of enjoyment in a hurry.
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Old 07-31-15, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Darth Steele View Post
3. Get an altitude mask (Elevation Training Mask | Simulate High Altitude Training). This will allow you in conjunction with the above items to take your training to the next level.
Any Snake Oil Brand supplements you'd like to rec too?
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Old 07-31-15, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Drew Eckhardt View Post
It's probably in your training plan or lack thereof.



Many (if not most) recreational cyclists ride too hard to raise their aerobic threshold but too easy to raise their anaerobic threshold and neglect the reset weeks needed to allow adaptation to occur.



Your leg strength is fine. You have other problems, like having a low aerobic threshold so you start accumulating waste products early and problems clearing them out so your anaerobic threshold is also low.
Thank you very much for this! I'll be sure to research aerobic and anaerobic training and go from there...

Cheers,

Jay
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Old 07-31-15, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by therhodeo View Post
Any Snake Oil Brand supplements you'd like to rec too?
ok ok, perhaps the mask is a bit over the top and with debatable results.
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Old 07-31-15, 12:50 PM
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One cheap, easy, and time-tested way to get faster is to ride with faster people.
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Old 07-31-15, 02:47 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by Darth Steele View Post
yes Joking, and my statement is a hyperbole. With that said, he mentioned family obligation (time) and hitting a plateau. This means that he can't spend more time on the bike, and it also means that he needs to focus more his training performance. A power meter allows him to train in a repeatable manner effective and efficiently.
My bad. I missed the hyperbole.

If used properly a PM can certainly help to maximize your training, but a better training regimen will get similar results and doesn't cost $1k.

If the OP has no problem spending the money, a PM is a great training tool(if used properly), but it's hardly a necessity.
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