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Former runner, just started cycling

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Former runner, just started cycling

Old 07-07-08, 06:52 PM
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Young
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Former runner, just started cycling

Hello all,

I am a former runner with a ok mediocre career in running... a personal best in the 5k of 15:01...

Essentially, I am trying to figure out (after taking 4 or so years off from running and gaining major weight i.e. 35 pounds), where I am as a novice cyclist.

I live in a very hilly region, and I train on the hardest 25 mile loop around. I have now been training for two weeks every other day... I recently did a 25 mile time trial in 1 hour and 26 minutes, although this may seem a little slow, mid ways through this course there is one flat area where I did two consistent 2'40" mile splits... so I know I can move on the flats!

I have no clue of where I stand to be a competitive cyclist, and I hope some of you can shine some light on this for me.

Thanks for the input!!!
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Old 07-07-08, 07:02 PM
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2:40 miles will give you a 40k flat tt of about 67 minutes. Assuming you can hold that pace. You probably won't come in last place in the cat 5s with a time like that. You've got a decent engine.

If you want to do mass start races, the question is more about how you can handle accelerations.
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Old 07-07-08, 07:04 PM
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Are there others that run the same circuit? Comparing your time to theirs might be the best way to try to figure this out. We have an 8.1 mile loop here in Austin where 70 - 90 riders show up twice a month for chip timing. By comparing my times to theirs, I'm able to confirm that I am very slow.
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Old 07-07-08, 07:05 PM
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That is a great time for starting out. You averaged about 17.5 mph, which is slower than your 15:01, but a good start. I'd say it relates to about a 20 minute 5K (This is a total guess). I am a similar story to you, I was a 15:30 5K runner and 32:00 10K runner in college, I quite for about 7 years, gained 20 pounds, and then got into cycling. The equivalent to your 15:01 might be to do the tt in just over one hour.

The main difference is that you need to worry much more about food intake. During a marathon, you're going to be running for 2 and a half hours, and you probably only drink water and gatorade. During a 100 mile bike ride it's more like 5-7 hours, and you burn 3000 to 6000 calories. My first century I did, I thought it was like a marathon, and I didn't bother to do anything but drink water. Man was that a mistake.

Just like your running, you need to build a base, then work in sustained efforts mixed in with recovery time (like fartleks). The only thing is that base building takes more time than running. Say you were running 70-80 miles per week, the biking equivalent is much higher, because it takes more time to warm up and more time is needed to get it so your heart rate stays up.

It's a fun sport, so get out and ride!
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Old 07-07-08, 07:08 PM
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Your lungs will be there, but your legs will not. You need to spend some time in the weight room building some muscle mass in your legs and getting those fast-twitch fibers firing.

Cycling is a very isometric activity compared to running. Train to be a strong cyclist and your running will suffer. Or, just be content sucking at both like me.
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Old 07-07-08, 07:22 PM
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Originally Posted by DrPete View Post
Or, just be content sucking at both like me.
You should do tris. You'd fit in pretty well.
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Old 07-07-08, 07:27 PM
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I think the biggest thing you'll find is that running rewards training in a very obvious and predictable manner.

Cycling is not quite so clear cut because of drafting and gearing. In fact I was just thinking of this stuff yesterday. My legs are short and I don't have a very big aerobic engine. I can barely run a 7:30 mile now, could barely run a 6:30 mile in high school. I train at 15-17 mph, 6-8 mph when it's really hilly. But come race day I can average 28 mph in a crit and feel pretty comfortable doing it and even go for the sprint. Again, drafting and gearing. They make up for my lack of aerobic ability and my short legs.

What I'm saying is that training better won't necessarily make you a better racer. It'll make you a fitter racer, and if you were running, you'd be better by a measurable amount (x seconds per mile or whatever). In cycling slightly better fitness means virtually nothing. Only substantial increases in fitness count.

The reason is that cycling, except for climbing and time trialing, is ALL about tactics. There are some very, very, very strong racers around here who went back to running because they couldn't get their head wrapped around the tactics. One local I think is a world champion triathlete in his age group and regularly gets top 3 in local 10ks, runs 6:00 miles or something like that. On a bike he was strong but never understood the etiquette, the close quarters stuff, etc. I went on one group ride with him and that was it, it was the most dangerous thing I'd ever done. He rode like he was alone and that's a big problem. Plus they flew up all the hills but that's another thing altogether.

I figure you'll know how to train, you'll be able to push yourself, etc etc. You won't be a wimp about training. I think you'll be able to climb pretty well, probably TT pretty well.

Then you have to get the tactics and stuff down. If you succeed in that, you'll be fine. If not it's very discouraging because a lot of less fit people will beat you.

cdr
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Old 07-07-08, 07:36 PM
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Originally Posted by DrPete View Post
Your lungs will be there, but your legs will not. You need to spend some time in the weight room building some muscle mass in your legs and getting those fast-twitch fibers firing.

Cycling is a very isometric activity compared to running. Train to be a strong cyclist and your running will suffer. Or, just be content sucking at both like me.
does this mean that running as cross training is counter productive (from a muscle building perspective)?
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Old 07-07-08, 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted by DrPete View Post
Your lungs will be there, but your legs will not. You need to spend some time in the weight room building some muscle mass in your legs and getting those fast-twitch fibers firing.

Cycling is a very isometric activity compared to running. Train to be a strong cyclist and your running will suffer. Or, just be content sucking at both like me.

First you don't suck, because you are not joined with the millions of others that sit on their assess, at least you do something, and hell i would choose you over the next man because I would trust you through the stressful times to do what is right!! So thank you to your dedication to this sport, and your profession!


however with my background in exercise physiology, I know that adopting fast-twitch muscle fibers is impossible, genetically you have what you have, and essentially we can only fine tune that genetic gift (and can have a mixture of muscle types - (type I, and then Type II a&b).

My power output in my legs have been my savior as of late, and I was a sub 4 1500 meter runner, and sub 2 in the 800.

So I have no doubt about my power output, and then after doing a hilly 60 mile ride today, my legs paid the price, and carried me through one hell of a course, where aerobically the primary perk was a very rapid recovery after hitting the crest..

I figure that if I hang around 5k's and 10k's in running I should be fine, as I have already noticed better plantar flexion, and much faster sprints (amazing hip flexion, which interests me in running a steeple chase or two before to long)... AND any upbeat 400 repeat work much more enjoyable.

I know this in the areas of running:

ATP-PC energy system last for approx 25 secs in sprinting (anaerobic)
Glycolysis (30 - 40 minutes) aerobic
Oxidative Phosphorylation -- fat buring.... thereafter aerobic

in the cycling sense I have no idea how these areas would carry over..., or if they are repeated. I know without a doubt when I hit a climb, I use that ATP-PC system A TON!!!

So I understand what you are saying (there is not perfect trade off, there is much give and take if you want to be dominate in one over the other) but since I am not looking at many century rides, maybe a few... ideally I want to go, and go fast....get it over with.


It's the science that I love about figuring out this correlation between running and cycling, as ultimately I am shedding weight with the bike, while also using it to recover from a fractured cuboid (gaining strength) -

Goal number 1- get into competition weight 160 - currently 175...
Goal number 2 - go under 1 hour and 15 minutes on 25 mile hilly course
Goal number 3 - start doing both cycling and running to carry me back to a sub 15 5k ( i got to run 14:30's in the 5k before I die.., and entertain a few triathlons

Goal number 4 - - Long Term - Ironmans


so I think you get a better idea, and THANKS TO ALL OF YOU FOR SUCH PROMPT FEEDBACK, IT'S VERY APPRECIATED, AND PLEASE IF YOU ARE EVER IN THE BOWLING GREEN, KY AREA LET ME KNOW!! BEERS AND WATER ON ME!!!
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