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Best Way to Improve With Only 25 Minutes Riding Time Per Day

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

Best Way to Improve With Only 25 Minutes Riding Time Per Day

Old 07-24-13, 04:03 PM
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TommyBing
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Best Way to Improve With Only 25 Minutes Riding Time Per Day

Hey guys, I'm working two jobs but I'm also trying for a license upgrade this Fall.

Really looking to add the power I need for Fall road races and CX season.

Problem is, I only have a very limited amount of time to ride, roughly 25-30 minutes per day, very early in the morning.

What power meter or computer would best utilize my time, I'm choosing between an SRM Campy unit and a Sigma 1009 STS.

Thanks!!
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Old 07-24-13, 04:12 PM
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Forget the powermeter. Get a good trainer (budget $300 and go with a fluid trainer) so there is no overhead for dressing and riding on the road. 5-10min warmup, 20min for intervals of various types (straight 20 minute time trial to Tabita over/under type intervals), a few minutes for cooldown. A trainer is really the way to go on this for such a little space of time.
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Old 07-24-13, 04:18 PM
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Best way to improve is to take a few of those days and get in the gym with some resistance training.
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Old 07-24-13, 04:27 PM
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Get a copy of Chris Carmichael's "The Time Crunched Cyclist" but it's going to be hard with your time constraints. If you have a VERY sold base you might be able to just do focused intervals but even that might be a stretch.
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Old 07-24-13, 04:46 PM
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Best way by FAR:

- Get a good trainer, like Kurt Kinetic.
- Get a Garmin speed/cadence sensor for the rear wheel so you can use it with TrainerRoad ($50)
- Join Trainerroad ($10/month) and do the FTP test as they recommend, using virtualpower (will give you calculated power based on your rear wheel speed)
- Pick one of their many FTP or FTP+ paced rides at the appropriate length of 45-60mins. They even have a workout editor for you to make your own or modify their workouts.

If you do this, you will do true high quality hammerfest rides (if that's what you want) every time, and you will even get tracking metrics to follow your progress (or lack of). Doesn't make riding on a trainer that much funner, but for limited time, it's the best bang for the buck.

I'd actually skip the Carmichael book (if you don't have a powermeter, you should def skip it since it's much harder to do the workouts with a HRM.) Trainerroad is essentially Carmichael equivalent, with more training options and tracking. You don't need some fancy long-term plan - you just need more training stimulus (TSS) and intensity (IF) progressively, which TR will track for you automatically. It's really neat.
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Old 07-24-13, 05:01 PM
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I would think that running would help as well.
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Old 07-24-13, 05:10 PM
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Originally Posted by rearviewbeer View Post
I would think that running would help as well.
Actually, it won't if you're substituting running for biking.

If you add running on top of the cycling, yes it will help, but not as fast as if you only do cycling.

Specificity is key. (I've done countless experiments and mixes of bike + run volume as mainly a triathlete, so I'm very, very experienced with this, and my experience is echoed by countless triathletes on triforums.)
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Old 07-24-13, 07:22 PM
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25 min of hard interval work is what I use for maintenance on days when I have very little time. It is pretty hard to make significant improvements in power with that time frame. You certainly don't need more tools to do it other than an indoor trainer. Then just go all out for a variety of shorter intervals 1-15 minutes. You don't have time for anything more complicated.
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Old 07-24-13, 07:25 PM
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1. Get a trainer
2. Hammer your ass off on it for 25 min every day
3. Don't expect too much
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Old 07-24-13, 07:26 PM
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Ride balls to the walls for the whole 25 mins.
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Old 07-24-13, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by License2Ill View Post
Best way to improve is to take a few of those days and get in the gym with some resistance training.
Please stop repeating that utter crap.

Lifting weights is NOT the best way to get faster riding a bicycle.

NO IT'S NOT!

Ex-college football player and competitive powerlifter here.
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Old 07-24-13, 08:10 PM
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Originally Posted by achoo View Post
1. Get a trainer
2. Hammer your ass off on it for 25 min every day
3. Don't expect too much
As accurate as this advice is, I think it's near impossible to actually do in practical terms. Mentally, without the variation, you'll lose all interest in hammering as soon as 2 weeks in. I'm pretty die-hard about mental fortitude but after 2 weeks of trainer hammering without a plan or metrics to track if I was improving, I didn't even last 2 weeks.
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Old 07-24-13, 08:22 PM
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It's not so fun, but I have to agree that the best use of your time would be a trainer and intervals.
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Old 07-24-13, 08:25 PM
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With only 25min to train you're pretty much stuck with high intensity intervals. I would mix it up and see what works for you. Tabatas take very little time and have been proven to be effective but might be tough to do on a continual basis.

Ignore the 'going to the gym' comments. That might help if you were already riding 15-20 hrs/wk and wanted to improve your sprinting but it's not going to help your cycling fitness with limited time availability.
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Old 07-24-13, 09:13 PM
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What everyone else said about a trainer and intervals, especially Tabatas, but also maybe focus more on the CX than the road racing. Those are two very different disciplines and CX may be more amenable to the work you do in short interval sessions.
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Old 07-24-13, 10:24 PM
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Make more time?..maybe I'm not in the stage of life yet, but surely you can shave off minutes here and there off your multiple activities in a day and add it all together so you have 45 minutes instead of 25.
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Old 07-25-13, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by hhnngg1 View Post
As accurate as this advice is, I think it's near impossible to actually do in practical terms. Mentally, without the variation, you'll lose all interest in hammering as soon as 2 weeks in. I'm pretty die-hard about mental fortitude but after 2 weeks of trainer hammering without a plan or metrics to track if I was improving, I didn't even last 2 weeks.
Well, there's more than one way to "hammer your ass off".
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Old 07-25-13, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by halfspeed View Post
What everyone else said about a trainer and intervals, especially Tabatas, but also maybe focus more on the CX than the road racing. Those are two very different disciplines and CX may be more amenable to the work you do in short interval sessions.
It should work OK for short crits, too.
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Old 07-25-13, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by achoo View Post
Well, there's more than one way to "hammer your ass off".
All of which are really, really (I'd say close to impossible, actually) to do day in day out on a trainer as a not as experienced cyclist with no plan and no metrics to track your progress for all that work.

A rear wheel bike cadence speed sensor to get your rear wheel speed and trainer distance is one fairly cheap way of at least having a gauge of your effort on the trainer if you're going to go this route.
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Old 07-25-13, 11:29 AM
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You can actually get a lot of work done in 35 minutes. The interval program I'm doing this week is doable in 35 minutes. 20 minute steady state (at FTP) immediately followed by 30 second maximum effort with 30 sceonds rest, repeating the 30 second efforts 5 times.

5 minute warmup, 25 minutes to complete the set, and 5 minute cool down. This workout is intended to raise FTP by both pushing and pulling, and is very time efficient.

Lots of other intrvals you can do, but most of them will be more focused on Vo2 max. So you need to mix it up with some short intervals, and some steady state work.

You also need to build in some rest, and just endurance paced effort, or all the high intensity is likely to burn you out.

2-3 focused trainer sessions in the week, race or long ride on the weekend, and you can be competitive in anything below a Cat 2 road race ( where the distance is going to be an issue.)
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Old 07-25-13, 09:54 PM
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Heck, I take 25 minutes to warm up
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Old 07-25-13, 09:58 PM
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Headcase intervals. http://blog.trainingpeaks.com/posts/...intervals.html
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Old 07-25-13, 10:06 PM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
You can actually get a lot of work done in 35 minutes. The interval program I'm doing this week is doable in 35 minutes. 20 minute steady state (at FTP) immediately followed by 30 second maximum effort with 30 sceonds rest, repeating the 30 second efforts 5 times.

5 minute warmup, 25 minutes to complete the set, and 5 minute cool down. This workout is intended to raise FTP by both pushing and pulling, and is very time efficient.

Lots of other intrvals you can do, but most of them will be more focused on Vo2 max. So you need to mix it up with some short intervals, and some steady state work.

You also need to build in some rest, and just endurance paced effort, or all the high intensity is likely to burn you out.

2-3 focused trainer sessions in the week, race or long ride on the weekend, and you can be competitive in anything below a Cat 2 road race ( where the distance is going to be an issue.)
That sounds evil.

I'm going to cook it up for my next trainer session.
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