Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Road Cycling
Reload this Page >

Better to ride for distance or time?

Notices
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

Better to ride for distance or time?

Old 10-15-12, 03:20 PM
  #1  
FPSDavid
1337
Thread Starter
 
FPSDavid's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Monterey, CA
Posts: 858

Bikes: CAAD10

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Better to ride for distance or time?

Is it better to ride for:

For Example:
Time: ride 2 hours every ride, and go further as you get faster
or
Distance: ride 20 miles every ride, and take less time as you get faster
FPSDavid is offline  
Old 10-15-12, 03:26 PM
  #2  
MegaTom
Senior Member
 
MegaTom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 2,012

Bikes: Specialized Roubaix SL3, Lynskey Cooper CX

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
It s.
MegaTom is offline  
Old 10-15-12, 03:37 PM
  #3  
Cookiemonsta
Senior Member
 
Cookiemonsta's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 533
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
You just pick a route/intensity/length based on the kind of exercise you want to do, and how much time you have to do it. I think that is the most practical approach.

I don't really see why distance or time should be held constant.
Cookiemonsta is offline  
Old 10-15-12, 03:40 PM
  #4  
PatrickGSR94
Senior Member
 
PatrickGSR94's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Memphis TN area
Posts: 7,391

Bikes: 2011 Felt Z85 (road/commuter), 2006 Marin Pine Mountain (utility/commuter E-bike), 1995 KHS Alite 1000 (gravel grinder)

Mentioned: 25 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 674 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 13 Times in 13 Posts
I think time is better, if you're riding for fitness. You get a better cardio workout by keeping your heart rate elevated for a certain amount of time. Your heart doesn't know how fast you're going on the bike. But if you can keep it elevated for a certain amount of time (I always hear 60 minutes at least) then distance doesn't really matter.

For me, though, it depends on if I'm making a loop route, or an out-back route. If a loop, then the loop is the distance and I usually go for speed and best time. If it's out-back then I might go as far as I want to go (like half the time available) and then come back. But then again if the out-back is more of a set distance (like the 7-mile length of the MUP) then I'll treat it the same as the loop route.
PatrickGSR94 is offline  
Old 10-15-12, 03:45 PM
  #5  
Andy Somnifac 
Shut up legs.
 
Andy Somnifac's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 1,290

Bikes: Too many.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 88 Post(s)
Liked 171 Times in 84 Posts
Ride long distances, for a long time. Problem solved.
__________________


Andy Somnifac is offline  
Old 10-15-12, 03:50 PM
  #6  
jester666
Banned
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Pitt Meadows, BC
Posts: 8
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I think both styles are important.
I used to really enjoy riding a commute to work and trying to beat my own time every time.
But long sustained effort I think is also important for overall health etc.
jester666 is offline  
Old 10-15-12, 03:55 PM
  #7  
Rekless1
Nobody Special
 
Rekless1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 108
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Time. Pick a reasonable amount of time to be on the bike and then make the most of it.

Distance is a variable, not a constant.
Rekless1 is offline  
Old 10-15-12, 04:00 PM
  #8  
hammy56
coffee-stained punk
 
hammy56's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 6,630
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
your body recognizes elapsed time and effort. Not miles.
hammy56 is offline  
Old 10-15-12, 06:25 PM
  #9  
cccorlew
Erect member since 1953
 
cccorlew's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Antioch, CA (SF Bay Area)
Posts: 6,990

Bikes: Trek 520 Grando, Roubaix Expert, Motobecane Ti Century Elite turned commuter, Some old French thing gone fixie

Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 107 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 27 Times in 14 Posts
This is like "is it better to spin fast in a low gear, or pedal slower in a high gear" question.
And the master responded:
It is better to spin faster in a higher gear.

Take the mileage from my hand, grasshopper.
cccorlew is offline  
Old 10-15-12, 06:31 PM
  #10  
Homebrew01
Super Moderator
 
Homebrew01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Ffld Cnty Connecticut
Posts: 21,717

Bikes: Old Steelies I made, Old Cannondales

Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1103 Post(s)
Liked 636 Times in 436 Posts
Originally Posted by Rekless1 View Post
Time. Pick a reasonable amount of time to be on the bike and then make the most of it.

Distance is a variable, not a constant.
Originally Posted by hammy56 View Post
your body recognizes elapsed time and effort. Not miles.
These
__________________
Bikes: Old steel race bikes, old Cannondale race bikes, less old Cannondale race bike, crappy old mtn bike.

FYI: https://www.bikeforums.net/forum-sugg...ad-please.html
Homebrew01 is offline  
Old 10-15-12, 07:21 PM
  #11  
jgrosser
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 141

Bikes: 2013 Cannondale Supersix Evo; 2013 Soma Smoothie; 2010 Cannondale Supersix; 2008 Cervelo RS; 2008 Surly Long Haul Trucker

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Time. Distance is only a proxy for time.
jgrosser is offline  
Old 10-15-12, 07:55 PM
  #12  
SlimRider
Banned
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Northern California
Posts: 5,804

Bikes: Raleigh Grand Prix, Giant Innova, Nishiki Sebring, Trek 7.5FX

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I say, set a definite distance. Like to some kinda landmark (perhaps a McDonald's restaurant) or something, and watch your time decrease with increased skill and practice.

Last edited by SlimRider; 10-15-12 at 07:59 PM.
SlimRider is offline  
Old 10-15-12, 08:17 PM
  #13  
gregf83 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 9,201
Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1186 Post(s)
Liked 288 Times in 176 Posts
Pretty sure you could search the archives and find 5,000 answers to this very same question. Pick the answer you like.
gregf83 is offline  
Old 10-15-12, 08:26 PM
  #14  
pdedes
ka maté ka maté ka ora
 
pdedes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: wessex
Posts: 4,423

Bikes: breezer venturi - red novo bosberg - red, pedal force cg1 - red, neuvation f-100 - da, devinci phantom - xt, miele piste - miche/campy, bianchi reparto corse sbx, concorde squadra tsx - da, miele team issue sl - ultegra

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 25 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Why are you riding?
pdedes is offline  
Old 10-15-12, 08:39 PM
  #15  
fogrider
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: fogtown...san francisco
Posts: 2,276

Bikes: Ron Cooper, Time VXSR, rock lobster, rock lobster, serotta, ritchey, kestrel, paramount

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
build a base, ride lots of miles. I mean two water bottles with two energy bars and start at dawn and don't come home until the sunsets! when you've recovered, do short hard rides during the week. repeat. the first week you will feel like crap. by the 3rd week, you will kick a$$!
fogrider is offline  
Old 10-15-12, 08:42 PM
  #16  
bigbadwullf
Senior Member
 
bigbadwullf's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: West, Tn.
Posts: 1,761
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Whichever YOU like to do.
bigbadwullf is offline  
Old 10-15-12, 08:53 PM
  #17  
Commodus
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Burnaby, BC
Posts: 4,144
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
If you're training...time

If you're going somewhere...distance

Why don't you let us all in on the big secret - why are you asking this question.
Commodus is offline  
Old 10-15-12, 08:56 PM
  #18  
hhnngg1
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 3,456
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 50 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
It depends. (As usual.)

For steady state efforts, either are good.

If you're notorious about not 'going the distance' and slacking off when it gets hard (like, bailing out at mile 60 out of a planned 80 mile ride), go by distance if you need to push yourself to stay honest about the miles.

If you're good about pacing and aren't feeling beaten down and slower than usual, time is great.

The elevation profile does screw with the distance somewhat but I find that for the 5-7 regular rides I do around here, you get enough repetitions that you can tell how hard you were going on that day just by looking at the time.

This is the moment where all the Powermeter owners start screaming about how everything else including HR is totally, utterly useless and that the only way to train is by power and TSS scores, despite the fact that professional cycling was around well before powermeters ever existed, and a surprising number of up and coming pros and triathletes don't use them.
hhnngg1 is offline  
Old 10-15-12, 09:06 PM
  #19  
bikerjp
Beer >> Sanity
 
bikerjp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Colorado
Posts: 3,449

Bikes: 2014 Evo DA2, 2010 Caad9-4, 2011 Synapse-4, 2013 CaadX-disc

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by FPSDavid View Post
Is it better to ride for:

For Example:
Time: ride 2 hours every ride, and go further as you get faster
or
Distance: ride 20 miles every ride, and take less time as you get faster
If it takes you 2 hours to ride 20 miles spend less time on the internet and more time on the bike.


EDIT: Oh, guess that means the answer is "time"

Last edited by bikerjp; 10-15-12 at 09:07 PM. Reason: add more useless content
bikerjp is offline  
Old 10-15-12, 10:18 PM
  #20  
tnvol123
Senior Member
 
tnvol123's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 62
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I like to ride fast but it's not the most important thing to me. I just like to get a good workout and enjoy myself.
tnvol123 is offline  
Old 10-15-12, 11:58 PM
  #21  
FPSDavid
1337
Thread Starter
 
FPSDavid's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Monterey, CA
Posts: 858

Bikes: CAAD10

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Commodus View Post
If you're training...time

If you're going somewhere...distance

Why don't you let us all in on the big secret - why are you asking this question.
Just curious what people do/think.

Originally Posted by bikerjp View Post
If it takes you 2 hours to ride 20 miles spend less time on the internet and more time on the bike.


EDIT: Oh, guess that means the answer is "time"
Numbers not realistic, just used them to keep the question simple.
FPSDavid is offline  
Old 10-16-12, 06:38 AM
  #22  
HBxRider
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 331
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
I ride more for time, because for me, cycling is equally about recreation, and enjoying myself, as it is for fitness and improvement.
HBxRider is offline  
Old 10-16-12, 06:52 AM
  #23  
rogerstg
Fred-ish
 
rogerstg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Rhode Island
Posts: 1,800
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by pdedes View Post
Why are you riding?
Originally Posted by bigbadwullf View Post
Whichever YOU like to do.
+1. It depends on what a person is trying to accomplish, and based on that, the answer becomes self evident. Doing intervals? group training ride? Touring?

Originally Posted by FPSDavid View Post
Just curious what people do/think.
I understand. This is another, "what color should I like?" type of thread.
rogerstg is offline  
Old 10-16-12, 07:57 AM
  #24  
big john
Senior Member
 
big john's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: In the foothills of Los Angeles County
Posts: 19,016
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4258 Post(s)
Liked 3,661 Times in 1,982 Posts
When I do a group ride, I ride whatever distance the group is riding, and it takes whatever time it takes.
When I ride alone after work I try to get in an hour of semi-hard effort.
big john is offline  
Old 10-16-12, 08:21 AM
  #25  
curiouskid55
Senior Member
 
curiouskid55's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: SoCal Baby
Posts: 2,137

Bikes: o5 Specilized roubaix Comp, 06 Tequilo

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
It is very difficult to acheive goals that dont exist. If you wish to have improved performance ,determine in what aspect, (speed, endurance, climbing) then do drills designed to improve that aspect. Riding this way or that way is the least effective use of time or distance.
curiouskid55 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.