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When are my legs going to catch up?

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When are my legs going to catch up?

Old 03-04-07, 05:25 PM
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RoboCheme
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When are my legs going to catch up?

First some background.

Up until two years ago, I was a casual runner (~600-700 miles/yr). About two years ago I took up cycling and I cut my running mileage in half. I did 2200 miles of cycling last year, just about all of it on the weekends.

My question revolves around my HRM readouts. When I run I can easily reach and maintain a heart rate of around 160 (I'm 57). However, when I cycle, the only time my heart rate gets up in the 140-160 range is when I do hill work. When I'm on the flats or on rollers, I can barely get my heart rate up to 135 before my legs start to give out.

This situation hasn't changed in the past year and a half. Any suggestions on improving my cycling shape so that I can get the most out of my lung capacity? Maybe I should resign myself to the fact that at my age getting better at cycling isn't in the cards.

Thanks,

Cliff
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Old 03-04-07, 05:27 PM
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W.E.I.G.H.T. T.R.A.I.N.I.N.G.

Although it's a bit late in the season for weights, I will assume that as a runner, building up some muscle was not part of your regimen. However, in cycling, the extra power muscular legs more than makes up for their added weight because your weight is supported by the bike. Pump those quads with squats, leg presses, & leg extensions.
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Old 03-04-07, 05:31 PM
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A higher cadence will increase your HR without straining your legs as much as a lower cadence.
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Old 03-04-07, 06:46 PM
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+1, if I had to guess, you're pushing too big a gear

do you have any idea what your cadence is?
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Old 03-04-07, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by johnny99
A higher cadence will increase your HR without straining your legs as much as a lower cadence.
+1

You can also increase your capacity by working on 15s explosive 100% sprints, full recovery between them. That will build leg strength, so they'll be hungrier for your underworked aerobic system.
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Old 03-04-07, 09:36 PM
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Thanks, guys.

Now I have an excuse to buy the wireless cadence computer that I've contemplating!
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Old 03-04-07, 09:37 PM
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Also don't forget that when a person runs, they are moving their arms and torso much more than when cruising the flats or rollers on a bike.
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Old 03-05-07, 06:49 AM
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Originally Posted by RoboCheme
Thanks, guys.

Now I have an excuse to buy the wireless cadence computer that I've contemplating!
Who needs an excuse??

But yeah, I agree with everyone else, you're probably running too low of a cadence. Spin up to 120, you'll see your HR go up, I promise.
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Old 03-05-07, 09:24 AM
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I am guessing that you pretty much ride the same ride the same way every time you ride. Nothing wrong with that if you are happy with your legs performing the same way every time you ride.

Your legs are lazy, they would just as soon be at home in bed. Once you get them on the bike they are thinking ,Ok we know this routine ,we''ll do it as long as you don't ask for anything extra.

They are lazy and they have no reservations about lieing to you either. I am sure you have heard this before. Oh we're so tired ,couldnt possibly pedal one bit faster. Oh shift down this is too steep for us.

The trick is to train them. If you ususally stop for a break at the top of your big hill your legs are thinking, All right we'll get your big ass up there as long as we get that nice break at the top. Next time get up and sprint the last 100 meters, explode over the top and keep going hard into the descent. Legs will be shocked, horrified , but probabaly performed just fine. After doing that a couple of times they are thinking,Ok we have to get his big ass up this hill and be ready for the sprint at the end.

Start messing with your legs sense of security. Dont stop where you always stop. Throw in jump sprints randomly. Pretty soon your legs wil be thinking, Ok got to be ready for anything , never know what this guy is going to want to do next.
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Old 03-05-07, 09:31 AM
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So on the trainer, do these exercises to increase your cadence and power:
FastPedal - where you try to ride continuously in Zone 2 at a cadence of at least 115 for long periods, starting at 15' and working up to 45'. If you can't stay in Zone 2 at 115, then just pedal your top Z2 cadence. Low gears, like 42 X 25.

OLP - one legged pedalling. 2 minute intervals on each leg, then 2 minutes legs together, at one legged cadences of from 50 to 85, and never more than 85, and legs together at 90-95 cadence. Zone 2. Choose gearing that gives you serious difficulty in doing the last 15 seconds of the interval. If you can't do 2 minutes in any gear, then just go to exhaustion repeatedly in a low gear and try to increase a few seconds a week. Same length of time as for the FastPedal.

Do the gym work that others have suggested, also. I found, starting out, that 3 sets of 30, circuit style, on about 8 exercises was good to start with for at least the first 3 months of doing gym work. Leg press, seated rows, hyperextension machine, squats, bench press, situps, one legged calf raises, lat pulldowns. That will build core as well as legs. The 3X30 will also build energy systems that you'll need for cycling. If you want to do low reps and heavy weights after 3 months of this, your body will be ready for it. You may not be able to do 3X30 starting out. Just do what you can and work up to that over the weeks and months.

If you have trouble doing any of this, just take it as a challenge and don't be discouraged. It takes time. Seven years to reach the peak of your ability is about what it takes. So you'll be seriously fast at 64. Not too bad. I ride with a guy who's 68 who blows the socks off most guys in their 40's.

All this said, your running HRs will always be greater than your cycling HRs for the same apparent effort. That's just how it is.
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Old 03-05-07, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by curiouskid55
..words..
Your legs aren't thinking anything, it's all in your head.

But, yeah, OP, you seem to be getting lazy on that bike. If you want your HR to go up, you have to suffer a tad. Intervals, super spins, hammer hills.. All that will work your intensity up, there's nothing magical about this though.

A cadence computer will help, but wireless sucks.
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Old 03-05-07, 11:24 AM
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Was trying to be amusing. Sorry
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