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MultiSport Training - Transference to Bike Fitness

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MultiSport Training - Transference to Bike Fitness

Old 01-06-20, 11:57 AM
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TheRabbit
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MultiSport Training - Transference to Bike Fitness

Over the last 4 years, I have done very silo'ed cycling training. I ride 5-7 hours a week minimum with 10+ hour weeks in the summer when I'm injury-free.

After moving to Colorado and becoming more engaged in other outdoor pursuits, I'm exercising much more but biking less and less. I'm starting to become a multi-sport mountaineer cycling guy. A typical week in training for me consists of...

3-5 hours on the bike
2-4 hours of dog walking
1-2 hours of running/ jogging
4-6 hours of mountain hiking
2-3 hours of gym work focused on legs
3-5 hours of rock climbing indoors and outdoors

An average week might have 14 hours of activity, with only 4 or 5 of that being on the bike. Obviously, this kind of training is great for general fitness, but I do race crits and CX.

I love to do many activities and find that I can handle 15 hours or so of this a week, but I would only do 8 hours on the bike without going nuts or getting hurt.

I want your opinion: will I become faster on the bike if I stick to this multi-sport approach that means more aerobic activity? Or would I be better off just riding my bike for half of that time? Because you won't catch me dead training 15 hours a week on the bike.

I guess I will see the answer in power numbers over the next few months. My initial thought is that I will become fitter and faster this way, spending more time doing aerobic activity than just biking alone. So many people get locked into one sport and burn out; I'm trying to avoid that while still getting faster!

Last winter I had some severe achilles pain (solved) and spent 5 days a week rock climbing which is very aerobically demanding and rode a little at a time. With maybe 400 miles in my legs from Jan-March I lapped my 6 teammates who had been doing only bike workouts in an early season crit. Is fitness, fitness? Or is bike fitness, bike fitness?

Last edited by TheRabbit; 01-06-20 at 12:45 PM.
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Old 01-06-20, 12:25 PM
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opinion only, no you will not become faster on the bike by riding less
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Old 01-06-20, 01:39 PM
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I don't know how well rock climbing will carry over to the bike. I know indoor and outdoor climbing are worlds apart, and in particular the grades don't carry over at all. Read ANAM.

Multi sport is the spice of life. Even if you lose speed on the bike, it's worth doing, it'll keep you engaged.

If you can add Nordic skiing, it probably has the most benefit on the bike. Similar endurance demands. Also fun and beautiful.
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Old 01-06-20, 02:28 PM
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[QUOTE=Seattle Forrest;21272856]I don't know how well rock climbing will carry over to the bike. I know indoor and outdoor climbing are worlds apart, and in particular the grades don't carry over at all. Read ANAM.

Multi sport is the spice of life. Even if you lose speed on the bike, it's worth doing, it'll keep you engaged.

If you can add Nordic skiing, it probably has the most benefit on the bike. Similar endurance demands. Also fun and beautiful.[/QUOTE

1. I've been heart rate tracking my indoor climbing sessions and they sometimes average a higher hrTSS than my easy bike rides. Cardio transfers no matter the sport in my opinion, but obviously there is no benefit to my leg muscles in rock climbing other than flexibility. The core strengthing helps as well.

2. I'd love to get into nordic skiing and have my eyes peeled on the local marketplace for a good deal on some used gear!
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Old 01-06-20, 02:35 PM
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Fitness is fitness, but the question is, fitness of what? If it's the exact muscles using in cycling and in the same range of motion and you're working them as hard as you would on the bike, yes, IME it'll benefit cycling. Do an FTP test once a month and see what happens. Yeah, so you rode less and did get faster. I think that rather answers the question. One of my little secrets of summer bike fitness is hiking with plenty of elevation gain one day/week, 4-5 hours. Adding that in and subtracting one 1-hour bike workout and one gym workout makes a positive difference for me. OTOH, I have not found lift-served DH skiing to be helpful, though cycling is very helpful for the skiing, just not the reverse. Maybe too much concentric work and not enough eccentric or maybe too much anaerobic and not enough aerobic. IDK. I'll try it again this winter just because it's so much fun.
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Old 01-06-20, 02:45 PM
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In my experience bike fitness is bike fitness and within that crit and CX racing require a kind of fitness that I have not been able to replicate off the bike. It's all about redlining and recovering, over and over and over again. Maybe soccer or basketball. Or biathlon.
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Old 01-06-20, 07:56 PM
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I used to be a heavy weightlifter/powerlifer. As I got more into biking, I found most my lifting quite dentermental to my riding. Also did cross-fit type stuff for a while and found the same...

The number one thing now I find that compliments my biking is...Yoga. I still do light weightlifting.

i do some other stuff like basketball, hiking, and hunting. I find biking actually makes me better physically at those activities. I thinking it’s the cardio, legs, and core strengthening biking provides.
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Old 01-07-20, 04:47 AM
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Speed on a bike is irrelevant unless you are a pro who makes a living out of it and gets paid to ride....The most important thing is to focus on what you enjoy doing. If multi-sport training makes your life more interesting and enjoyable then continue doing it...For me personally I find that kettlebell training has most carry over to cycling or any other physical activities I don't have any science behind it but all I know is that if kettlebell training is done correctly, it works and helps me to perform better in other activities such as singlespeed mountain biking. Deadlifting also seems to have a beneficial effect... Doing only one activity usually ends up in overuse injuries , so a variety of different activities is best.
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Old 01-07-20, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
Speed on a bike is irrelevant unless you are a pro who makes a living out of it and gets paid to ride....The most important thing is to focus on what you enjoy doing. If multi-sport training makes your life more interesting and enjoyable then continue doing it...For me personally I find that kettlebell training has most carry over to cycling or any other physical activities I don't have any science behind it but all I know is that if kettlebell training is done correctly, it works and helps me to perform better in other activities such as singlespeed mountain biking. Deadlifting also seems to have a beneficial effect... Doing only one activity usually ends up in overuse injuries , so a variety of different activities is best.
And what if “what you enjoy doing” is going fast?
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Old 01-07-20, 07:11 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
And what if “what you enjoy doing” is going fast?
I understand that some people get enjoyment from chasing numbers, nothing wrong with that...do what you enjoy....My beef is mostly with people who think that you have to reach certain numbers in order to have a productive ride and anything less than that is junk miles...Sorry but I just can't maintain a 25-30 MPH average speed when riding gravel or singletrack and even when I am riding on pavement I still won't be able to maintain those speeds, not because I am weak or unfit but because my bikes are not build and optimized for maximum speed. Speed has never been my thing, what I really like is rough terrain and challenging hills.
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Old 01-07-20, 07:16 PM
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Going fast is fun. That's not about chasing numbers.
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Old 01-07-20, 07:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
Going fast is fun. That's not about chasing numbers.
Agreed.

And for some of us, racing is fun. (It's even more fun when you're fast.)
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Old 01-09-20, 02:09 PM
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IMO, you may get incrementally faster on the bike doing a multi sport approach. I attended a cycling camp a few years ago that was attended by several triathletes.

One of the triathletes was a very strong rider with a very solid aerobic engine. The camp was in Tucson and the day we climbed Mount Lemon, he followed the climb with a 10K run. I was cooked after the Mount Lemon climb. He was putting in 22 hours a week getting ready for a full Ironman in Hawaii. His one minute and two minute power and sprint power were non existent. And this aerobic power, although very solid would not be enough to do well in a 40k ITT against 40k ITT specialists.

I switch between sprint training and endurance training every other season. This year is going to be more about sprinting. I am okay at both and better at sprinting. Endurance is a speed killer. As you migrate away from specificity, one loses an aspect of human performance. To say it another way, if I want to excel at sprinting, I cannot ride too much. Sprinting is about leg freshness and strength versus having enough chronic training stress.

TL/DR If you are love multi sports, which I do as well, knock yourself out. If you want to be competitive in one of the sports, then you need specificity of training to improve. I would not be concerned with will you improve on the bike or not. It is what it is unless you want to focus to make it better.
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Old 01-09-20, 03:42 PM
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Thanks, everyone for your responses!

I think the plan is to follow the multisport approach during the non-primary racing seasons, then get more specific in my training when I want to target a race season. I will also be testing the effect of my multisport approach on FTP - through ramp tests, as well as my mile run time.

Rock climbing progress is easy to monitor due to the grading of the climbs.
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