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Discouraged Beginner - Any tips?

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Discouraged Beginner - Any tips?

Old 04-19-16, 07:36 PM
  #51  
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Keep at it! You'll be younger next year! Fitness wise that is.
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Old 04-19-16, 08:18 PM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by Doge View Post
Has anyone seen or heard from OP since day one?
I mean I can understand being discouraged about power, but not posting on BF multiple times a day?? @
Eekthecat Riding does not help your BF post count.

Oh - wait - we are day 1. 48 responses to a question without hearing back. Maybe advice was taken.

Hey, still day one! Just got back from work and rode a leisurely 10mi on the trainer, best I could do in the 45min the wife alotted. Thanks everyone for the advice - I've been discouraged, but will keep at it.

To address a few of the questions/points:
1) Several people pointed out that I should ignore the numbers - I completely get that, but knowing myself, the numbers are what would keep me going. Seeing some sort of quantifiable improvement, no matter how small, would keep me motivated. Yes, they can also be discouraging, but I need to keep going because...
2) Although I'm not a smoker/drinker, I have a serious family history of heart disease. Close relatives who didn't grow up on a diet of pizza and hamburgers keeled over dead from heart attacks not too far from my age. That, and I look/feel like a blob. No, I'm not seriously overweight, but I don't recognize the guy in the mirror. So yeah - I don't need to become a racer, and genetics wouldn't allow me to be that athletic anyway.
3) I get it: I will keep at it, I will ride more, and I will ride more outside. It's tough to get the time to do so on weekdays, but I'll work to get out at least once on the weekends, while spending at least 45-60min per weekday on the indoor trainer. I just don't have the attention span to hit the trainer without Zwift and Netflix, at least not right now.

Thanks everyone for taking the time to pick this beginner off the ground. I'm hoping that my whiny butt will contribute to this community as I improve.
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Old 04-19-16, 08:24 PM
  #53  
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Old 04-19-16, 08:25 PM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by Eekthecat View Post
Hey, still day one! Just got back from work and rode a leisurely 10mi on the trainer, best I could do in the 45min the wife alotted. Thanks everyone for the advice - I've been discouraged, but will keep at it.

To address a few of the questions/points:
1) Several people pointed out that I should ignore the numbers - I completely get that, but knowing myself, the numbers are what would keep me going. Seeing some sort of quantifiable improvement, no matter how small, would keep me motivated. Yes, they can also be discouraging, but I need to keep going because...
2) Although I'm not a smoker/drinker, I have a serious family history of heart disease. Close relatives who didn't grow up on a diet of pizza and hamburgers keeled over dead from heart attacks not too far from my age. That, and I look/feel like a blob. No, I'm not seriously overweight, but I don't recognize the guy in the mirror. So yeah - I don't need to become a racer, and genetics wouldn't allow me to be that athletic anyway.
3) I get it: I will keep at it, I will ride more, and I will ride more outside. It's tough to get the time to do so on weekdays, but I'll work to get out at least once on the weekends, while spending at least 45-60min per weekday on the indoor trainer. I just don't have the attention span to hit the trainer without Zwift and Netflix, at least not right now.

Thanks everyone for taking the time to pick this beginner off the ground. I'm hoping that my whiny butt will contribute to this community as I improve.

I say enjoy the numbers, then. You're at the part of this where you will see big improvements very quickly. You wouldn't notice that if you weren't looking at numbers.

At this point in the game, it's a huge motivation factor.
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Old 04-19-16, 08:32 PM
  #55  
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There is some good advice here. I was in the same boat when I started. I kept having setbacks, like 7 foot surgeries in 13 years, my most recent being 8 weeks ago, having my bike stolen by a friend, Canadian winters and I sometimes become discouraged a bit as well. I did not, however, allow myself to lose sight of the fact that cycling at this level is supposed to be fun. I also let my cycling become my therapy when things got stressful. I am not much faster but, at my age (55) I am not out to set any speed records and do not care how fast I am. I think your first "goal" should just be to ride more and leave the number crunching alone. Numbers can be discouraging and belie the hard work you're doing.

Just ride more and enjoy the rides.

Cheers,

Brian J.
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Old 04-19-16, 08:38 PM
  #56  
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Once you start riding more on the road, you'll see pretty rapid improvement. The first few months are the best as you improve just by riding. After that, improvement takes more work.
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Old 04-19-16, 10:42 PM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by UmneyDurak View Post
I love that poster and accompanying long form comic on a very deep level
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Old 04-19-16, 10:50 PM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by baj32161 View Post
T I kept having setbacks, ..., having my bike stolen by a friend,
@baj32161

Brian, you have to fill us in on that.

How did you find out it was your friend?
What did he say?
Do you still exchange Christmas cards?
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Old 04-20-16, 04:07 AM
  #59  
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If he steals your bike, is a he a friend?
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Old 04-20-16, 04:46 AM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by calamarichris View Post
Don't expect so much, so fast. And don't worry about your FTP, average speed, or any other numbers until you've been riding for at least a year.
Maybe the friend who dropped you has been riding for years? He didn't just buy a bike the same time you did and suddenly become fast, he's had time to work at it.
I think it might have even been a mistake to buy a power meter this soon--just go out an fart around on your bike and have fun. Remember how much fun it was to screw around on BMX bikes with your friends? I'd opt toward that end of the spectrum right now, over focusing on your Watts (which is based on a unit of work).
This. Just go ride your bike and enjoy the fresh air.

The obsession over "numbers" is getting silly
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Old 04-20-16, 05:01 AM
  #61  
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back in the 90s some famous cyclist said he used a three step training plan:
1. ride the bike
2. ride the bike
3. ride the bike
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Old 04-20-16, 05:03 AM
  #62  
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I'll chime in with a couple of things that go against the general grain here.

You have a starting point. 96W for a 20-minute FTP. You have a program, even if it is a virtual trainer one, but at least it will give you some discipline (which hopefully you will accept). You have a bike, and you have a friend willing to ride with you.

Therefore, you also have the tools to map your improvement in fitness and power output. While I don't subscribe to people becoming slaves to numbers, there is some merit in tracking what you do so you can see the improvement.

As others have said, your improvements are likely to be rapid for a while, then things will start to plateau. That will then perhaps lead you to investigate and research what you have to do to improve more. The improvements will become smaller and more incremental as you go along. However, there is no denying that you need to ride to achieve a base.

You also might have to decide what sort of riding you want to do. Do you really want to become a racer? Do you just want to improve your fitness levels so you ride with your friend on more even terms? Do you want to do centuries and longer rides than them? Once you have built a base level of fitness, you can then pick and choose the question(s) you want to answer.
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Old 04-20-16, 05:42 AM
  #63  
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OP, we get that you are very anal with numbers... but if you are feeling discouraged when the going should be easy (starting), what are you going to do when the going gets hard (actual training)?

Here's a litmus test: Do you feel like a kid when you get on your bike? Yes? Then you are doing it right. Otherwise, you are pulling the train by the caboose my friend.

Many people have said it and I will say it again: forget the numbers!!! Let the added pep on your step, the diminishing waistline, and the better outlook on life as you get fitter be your guiding "numbers" for now.

Get out there! Go!!!
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Old 04-20-16, 06:23 AM
  #64  
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Lots of good advice on here already. Let me add that it seems to me (and i admit this could be nonscientific despite my profession) that there is also a long-term buildup of cycling-specific endurance or performance. By that I mean that guys who raced when young or did serious miles, even when they are old and fat and may have been off the bike for a while, can often still do some fairly impressive riding. I think it may have to do with muscle development and blood supply to the muscles as I don't think the guys I am thinking of are fit enough or doing off season training enough to maintain a real aerobic advantage. I just see differences between someone who has done a lot of cycling before who goes off it and returns to it, versus someone who hasn't done it, even if they seem similar for general fitness. Which is to say you will improve over time and I think more than by just aerobic training.
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Old 04-20-16, 06:48 AM
  #65  
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Originally Posted by Inpd View Post
@baj32161

How did you find out it was your friend?
Do you still exchange Christmas cards?
He sent last year's cards, not the new ones.

And the Christmas cookies totally stopped.
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Old 04-20-16, 07:00 AM
  #66  
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Fitness is improved over years, keep riding. Compare your results with yourself. Do an FTP Test each next weak or month, and aim for a better result. Next time, 100+W, then 103, then 105, then 107... Training is hard and it takes a long time to get good.

It's been 4 years I'm cycling now, and just hit 200W FTP. I was probably around 98 too when I started, but I kept on going, doing hill repeats outdoor, and sufferfests inside. You can do it too, but it won't happen in the next month. Keep on riding.
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Old 04-20-16, 07:07 AM
  #67  
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forget about exercising. Just ride in places you want to see and travel or tour. Way back when I was riding with a friend who was heavy into club rides and racing . Finally I bought a road bike and tried the club ride thing. AHHH what a pain . Getting up at 5 am to try and beat each other up. Fast forward after we went on some touring and just road for fun and touring gradually built up some lungs and legs. On one ride we went from Chicago to Wisconsin. It may have been 100 plus miles. He kind of was in front going, and we would take turns drafting . On the way back he pretty much drafted off me,, and was clippin along over 20mph. So moral of story for me Is, enjoy it or it is just no fun, and u may get turned off to it like I did.. I am recently getting back into cycling and have to remind myself why I kind of hated it in the beginning. PS the comment about check you brakes is tru. I had a lower line Bianchi and found out what ever cheap bottom bracket it had had all the cups that were peeling on the inside, also later found out head set was bad, so some thing on the bike can be slowing u down.

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Old 04-20-16, 08:01 AM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by Eekthecat View Post
1) Several people pointed out that I should ignore the numbers - I completely get that, but knowing myself, the numbers are what would keep me going. Seeing some sort of quantifiable improvement, no matter how small, would keep me motivated.
Most people who think this way fail. Fitness (whether you achieve it through cycling or any other form of exercise) is a lifestyle change, not a job. Most people can't just set a performance goal and work towards it because the short term positive feedback loop is missing or unreliable. You don't control the numbers you're currently interested in, and using something you don't control as your source of positive feedback is problematic. If you like numbers, track something you can control like saddle time and/or distance. Set a mileage or time goal each week and try to beat it. Next week, increase it slightly. You can still plateau, but in this case "rode as many miles as last week" is easy to view as an accomplishment, while "kept the same FTP as last month" is not.

So yeah - I don't need to become a racer, and genetics wouldn't allow me to be that athletic anyway.
BZZZZT! Wrong answer. Blaming genetics is a total cop out. Does it take certain genetic gifts to be an elite racer? Yes. But what your body is capable of with proper training (regardless of genetics) is far beyond what you can currently imagine. Look at how much time/effort "genetically gifted" athletes dedicate to training and then ask yourself if genetics or commitment is the key limiting factor. Maybe you don't wan't to become a racer, and that's totally fine. But you need to ditch those preconceived performance limits immediately.

A couple other pieces of advice:

1. Don't underestimate the importance of recovery. Early on you can train every day but as you start pushing harder, you will have to give your body some recovery time. Two to three days a week is typical.

2. Don't underestimate the importance of diet. You can't expect your body to perform well if you feed it crap fuel. And you can't out ride a bad diet. Not saying you need to eat 100% clean all the time, but reducing heavily processed foods in favor of more whole foods and limiting food high in refined sugar content will make you feel better and perform better.

3. Think like a fit person. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. If you must drive somewhere, park in the far corner of the lot so you have an excuse to walk more. Use your bike (or walk) for short trips instead of the car. Put up a doorway pullup bar at home and do a set whenever you walk by. Set your alarm 5 minutes earlier and do a couple planks when you wake up. Do some stretching exercises before bed. Don't judge the value of these things by how much they actually improve your fitness but by how they reprogram your mind. You've spent years learning to think like an unfit person, it takes some time and effort to undo that.
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Old 04-20-16, 08:08 AM
  #69  
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I'm going to echo the same things, to keep this broken record going... just ride. Indoors, or out, get on the saddle and spin those legs.

1) The only training plan you should worry about 3 weeks in is time. You need time on the saddle, and time on the legs. Get determined to hit a realistic weekly mileage, or hour goal (and try to do it by getting in 3, or more rides per week).

2) Have some fun, and push yourself. Each ride, try to push yourself hard enough that you're panting for a short time. Do that a few times per ride. If you're indoors try to make it a goal to get a puddle of sweat on the floor (hopefully you're using a mat and a fan).

3) Stretch and recover. Make sure you stretch your muscles after a ride, eat clean food, and allow yourself some time off to rest, sleep, and recover. You only get stronger when you're not on the bike.

4) Keep riding with your faster friend if you enjoy it.

5) Once you have a solid 12 weeks on your legs (riding every week, a few times per week), do another FTP test. Then you can worry about training plans, and what areas you'd like to improve. I've found that Zwift's workout plans aren't my cup of tea, but many people find great benefits from those plans, and I think their individual workouts are great.

6) Set a goal. I've never been fond of the "get faster", or "lose weight" goals. Pick an event like a local metric century that's a few months out and prepare your body. Use a structured training plan, or at least structure a plan for progression for yourself. Finish that, and set a new goal. Always make sure that you keep it fun.

7) Shameless plug for GCN (Global Cycling Network) on youtube. Well produced, informative videos, with tons of cycling-related humor and motivation.
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Old 04-20-16, 11:38 AM
  #70  
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Originally Posted by UmneyDurak View Post
Originally Posted by CafeVelo View Post
I love that poster and accompanying long form comic on a very deep level
For some reason it made me think of this:

Super Stupor!
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Old 04-20-16, 02:12 PM
  #71  
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OP, Dude, lemme tell you my story:

When I decided to start cycling, I was 53, and a smoker. Not overweight, but that was thanks to having a chronic illness for 9 years at that point. My upper body was in great shape, but my legs, lungs and heart were pretty sad. The first time I rode my new bike--home from the LBS--which was two miles, I had to lie down afterward I was so tired. but I just kept cycling. A month later I did 9 miles...and had to lie down again, and was sore for three days. This went on for the summer, slowly building up miles. I bought the gear to keep riding thought the Northeast winter. And was psyched that to me, now, I thought nothing of 10 miles...but 20 miles was still daunting. Following spring, 2015, I fell in love with, and bought, a Domane 4.5 disc. Riding it was such a joy that 20 miles felt like nothing, and I started doubling my miles, until I was close to 200 per week. (It's about time. If I had the damned time I'd be doing nothing but riding!) I did my first half century in August, and went to a cocktail party and made dinner for 6 afterward. I wasn't sore! I wasn't tired! As a matter of fact, I felt like a million bucks! And suddenly 50 miles felt like nothing, and how far I rode was ONLY about how much time I had.

So it took a little more than a year for an out of shape middle-aged man with a chronic illness, and a (now an ex) smoker to start putting on real miles. JUST GIVE YOURSELF TIME. As everyone says above, you have to build up over time, riding longer distances. (and taking breaks between long rides to give your body time to recover.) In a year? You'll be tearing down the road like a madman, I GUARANTEE IT, and ready for a real training program so as to reach your full potential!

Patience, grasshopper! Just go ride and have fun, and all else will come!
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Old 04-20-16, 02:28 PM
  #72  
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my 2 cents - put away the stats, don't ride with your friend. find your "self". you gotta be happy & have fun on your bike
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Old 04-20-16, 04:53 PM
  #73  
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Did you calibrate the power meter?

I thought my FTP was 375 on my new PM until I remembered. Lol
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Old 04-20-16, 06:27 PM
  #74  
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Originally Posted by therhodeo View Post
Or maybe not. Never too early to accept that this is a sport where having the right parents determines alot of your potential.
For most of us it's not a sport so much as it is an activity.
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Old 04-20-16, 06:42 PM
  #75  
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Originally Posted by mrv View Post
back in the 90s some famous cyclist said he used a three step training plan:
1. ride the bike
2. ride the bike
3. ride the bike
So famous that you can't even remember his name? Yeah, good one.
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