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Newbie training question on getting faster

Old 04-16-20, 08:19 PM
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CyclingBK
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Newbie training question on getting faster

Iím finding that 45 minutes to an hour is what I have time for and enjoy, just started cycling in August and trying to ride about every other day.

My question is around the idea of increasing performance by basically increasing my gears as I try to ramp my cadence into the same tempo as I was riding in lower gears previously.

Like, thereís a stretch of about a mile and it goes from flat, to slight incline, to a more severe incline.
So, right now, I have been trying to increase my cadence while I do the flat part in 6th gear, the slight incline in 5th, and the steeper part in 4rth.

It seems to be working and so I was thinking in a couple of more rides, Iíd just increase the gear on each section to 7th, 6th, and 5th. And then just push to increase my cadence to the tempo I have now in the lower gears.

Is this too obvious? Lol

Just curious if it makes sense.
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Old 04-16-20, 11:11 PM
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Your body gets stronger through the process of overloading and recovering. If you can go faster for the same perceived effort, then you're getting stronger. However, you may not be doing so optimally. There's something called the grey zone that most people fall into without better training tools, which is not pushing hard enough nor going easy enough.

It sounds like your approach could either be a sweetspot block or a long grey zone ride. I don't think most people intuitively find their sweetspot zone, so... you're probably better off reading up on and doing structured intervals instead.
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Old 04-17-20, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by surak View Post
Your body gets stronger through the process of overloading and recovering. If you can go faster for the same perceived effort, then you're getting stronger. However, you may not be doing so optimally. There's something called the grey zone that most people fall into without better training tools, which is not pushing hard enough nor going easy enough.

It sounds like your approach could either be a sweetspot block or a long grey zone ride. I don't think most people intuitively find their sweetspot zone, so... you're probably better off reading up on and doing structured intervals instead.
Thanks, This piece was on target with what you mentioned and Iíll be sure to keep in mind and in practice


https://www.active.com/running/artic...yndrome?page=2

Training With the Zone 3 Syndrome

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Old 04-17-20, 09:52 AM
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Essentially by going hard on that one spot of the ride, you are partially doing interval training. You might look into it if you are wanting to really get faster.

Gearing is dynamic and depending on the power your legs can put out and the speed you enter that segment from one day to the next. You might need to learn to select your gears by the feed back your legs are giving you as opposed to using the same gear combo for every attempt.

If an hours ride is all you can do or want to do then that is what you do. However my legs don't get fully loosened up in the first hour of riding. Except for times I overreach during the first hour, I have my better times in the second hour and my legs also feel like they can go forever, even after thinking my legs felt like crap during the first hour.
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Old 04-17-20, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Essentially by going hard on that one spot of the ride, you are partially doing interval training. You might look into it if you are wanting to really get faster.

Gearing is dynamic and depending on the power your legs can put out and the speed you enter that segment from one day to the next. You might need to learn to select your gears by the feed back your legs are giving you as opposed to using the same gear combo for every attempt.

If an hours ride is all you can do or want to do then that is what you do. However my legs don't get fully loosened up in the first hour of riding. Except for times I overreach during the first hour, I have my better times in the second hour and my legs also feel like they can go forever, even after thinking my legs felt like crap during the first hour.
Yeah, thatís the thing. You guys are on a different level. Well, I should say you *worked to that level with countless hours of training.

I think Iím in a phase of being a new cyclist who is just starting to feel some power and speed coming and maybe will get addicted and push to more training time.

I definitely see it takes time to feel warmed up and have been pleased at finding that you really can push hard, then recover, then push hard again, and your legs will ďstep upĒ so to speak.

But Iím just starting to see how to structure my rides, incorporate intervals to make ďgainsĒ and am looking forward to the spring and more riding time.

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Old 04-17-20, 03:53 PM
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Your body takes a lot of time to adjust. And the more you ride the more it will adjust. If I could ride more, even at 62 I think my body will adjust even more.

Make certain you do your intervals or max efforts where there are no others that you might endanger or violate their right-of-way. I walk on the trails sometimes and it is annoying to have someone suddenly speed by from behind at 25 mph or better, never calling out that they were passing.

Some MUP have a speed limit, ours doesn't. When I ride, I try to pass others at a safe speed and always announce my presence well behind them so they have time to react. I hope we never get a speed limit imposed, but if other bikers are going to only think of their workout plan, then we'll probably have one one day.

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Old 04-17-20, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Your body takes a lot of time to adjust. And the more you ride the more it will adjust. If I could ride more, even at 62 I think my body will adjust even more.

Make certain you do your intervals or max efforts where there are no others that you might endanger or violate their right-of-way. I walk on the trails sometimes and it is annoying to have someone suddenly speed by from behind at 25 mph or better, never calling out that they were passing.

Some MUP have a speed limit, ours doesn't. When I ride, I try to pass others at a safe speed and always announce my presence well behind them so they have time to react. I hope we never get a speed limit imposed, but if other bikers are going to only think of their workout plan, then we'll probably have one one day.
Yes, thank you. Fortunately, the loop I ride is very wide. Plus...Iím very slow, lol.

But point well taken, I try to be as safe and courteous as Iíd like to be treated. And Iíd say that given that thereís quite a few strong cyclists riding in my park, they know itís a public place with lots of kids and leisure riders.

I think the really serious guys must come out early morning. Iíll have to go check it one of these days.
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Old 04-20-20, 07:50 PM
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Well, now Iím hooked on this interval training. Itís absolutely what a Iíve been looking for to increase speed but also provides a very satisfying workout.


And this loop I ride is perfect for it,


Iím pretty much going to do stuff like this. Now, I just need to build up how many sets I can do.


https://www.bicycling.com/training/g...and-endurance/
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Old 04-29-20, 04:45 AM
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There is a great book called "The Time Crunched Cyclist" that explains lots of the science behind training and has some very realistic workouts for new and experienced cyclists.

If you don't want to buy the book, the GranFondo site has a good short hand write-up that is in line with it - here.
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Old 04-29-20, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by jpescatore View Post
There is a great book called "The Time Crunched Cyclist" that explains lots of the science behind training and has some very realistic workouts for new and experienced cyclists.

If you don't want to buy the book, the GranFondo site has a good short hand write-up that is in line with it - here.
Hey, thanks for this,I looked at the write up and, for now, I going to try to focus on the anaerobic training.

Im just starting plus Iím 51 years old so Iím not very strong but this is already yielding gains and giving me focus and itís great because you can do it in 45 minutes to an hour.

Im pretty much trying to do this (workout below) for now but I need to rest more than a minute between 30 second ďburstsĒ and canít do 4 in a row yet. So, I do 2 in a row then ride for about 10 minutes, then do another 2. And then maybe another set 10 minutes later if Iím ďfeeling itĒ

There is an advanced one too in the link below and I canít imagine being able to do anything close to that, lol

Start with easy 10 min warm-up
ē 3 x 1 min Ė cadence 120
ē 15 min active ride Ė 70% of FTP
ē 4 x 30s Ė 121% Ė 150% of FTP with 1 min easy between
ē 15 min active ride Ė 70% of FTP
ē 15 min recovery

https://cyklopedia.cc/cycling-tips/anaerobic-training/
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Old 04-29-20, 07:14 PM
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Good luck. Do you know your FTP? If not and no power meter, how do you know how hard to go? Good for you for being able to pedal 120.

I'm more in the Eddy Merckx camp: "Ride lots." If one rides say 100-150 miles/week with about 50' of elevation gain/mile, you're a fit cyclist, good enough to do anything you want. I don't ride a MUP unless it's the only way to get from A to B. But then I don't live in a big city, just 100,000 people. In winter I do more intervals on my resistance rollers, almost all aerobic, and more like 100 miles/week total. I never really enjoyed intervals until I got a power meter. I do a lot more of that type of thing now.

An hour/day like you're doing is great. Doing something much longer on the weekends is a very good thing, a totally different experience.
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Old 04-29-20, 08:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Good luck. Do you know your FTP? If not and no power meter, how do you know how hard to go? Good for you for being able to pedal 120.

I'm more in the Eddy Merckx camp: "Ride lots." If one rides say 100-150 miles/week with about 50' of elevation gain/mile, you're a fit cyclist, good enough to do anything you want. I don't ride a MUP unless it's the only way to get from A to B. But then I don't live in a big city, just 100,000 people. In winter I do more intervals on my resistance rollers, almost all aerobic, and more like 100 miles/week total. I never really enjoyed intervals until I got a power meter. I do a lot more of that type of thing now.

An hour/day like you're doing is great. Doing something much longer on the weekends is a very good thing, a totally different experience.
Thank you! And....Great question, and I know it will sound absurd, but I just deliberately get my speed up then go full-bore, *alls to the wall, as hard as I can. Where my effort is so complete Iím fading hard at 30 seconds. It took me a few tries to realize the difference between going as hard as I can for one one or 2 minutes vs for 30 seconds. Itís a big difference and a cool experience.


I do realize that, especially in this day and age, I sound ridiculous, but I did see a YouTube vid with a guy, I think his name is The Vegan Cyclist, and he stresses that you really need a power meter/metrics for intervals *but, if you donít have one, you can do ďsuper high intensity intervalsĒ of 40 or 30 seconds and itís legit.

Here it is, he says it at 1:40


Now, I know that to do this right, Ill need the right gear and it would be cool to see the numbers. But, at my stage, Iím definitely seeing the gains since my baseline was so low. Especially relative to the way I was cycling before.

And, yes, I am looking forward to doing some nice longer rides this year as well. Got the cycling bug for sure now ; )
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Old 04-30-20, 04:38 AM
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For sure you can still do intervals with a HRM and a little experience. Once you are warmed up properly, unless your intervals are very short, you will be within the right HR zone for them pretty quickly I find and it will feel right, you will know roughly if you will be able to hold that effort for the intended duration. What is much harder is say going very long intervals. Say you want to do 2 x 20 minutes probably without a power meter you would go too hard the first 20 and not hit the intended effort on the second. At least for me I think this, because doing this with a powermeter I always feel a little slow, but towards the end I am thinking, ok had I gone harder at the start then I would really be suffering now.
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Old 04-30-20, 09:04 AM
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Oh absolutely, anything you can do on the bike will produce results. The main thing is that, whatever it is, you enjoy it. If you enjoy it, you'll do it. The 20-bananas-a-day guy is fun, in a sort of weird way. He is however, correct in his assertion. To do very short intervals, all you have to do is to pedal as hard as possible. For going really hard like that, a cadence of say 95 works well or even higher if that works better. Experiment. But probably don't eat nothing but 20 bananas a day. "Carb the F* up!" is his motto.

There are many workouts based on this idea:
https://www.bicycling.com/training/a...-for-cyclists/
Try the different prescriptions, see what you like.

https://fascatcoaching.com/tips/tabata-intervals/
Doing multiple intervals with very short rest periods, like Tabatas, is tricky because you can't go all-out and not blow up on about the 4th rep. They're still doable by feel, just takes a few times of doing them.
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Old 04-30-20, 09:46 AM
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Varying your training is a must but do it in a planned manner to allow your body to build on each segment. Given the 45-60 minute time restriction, I suggest you look at cadence rather than just time. Teaching your muscles, heart, and lungs to pedal faster is part of the training process
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Old 04-30-20, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Tony P. View Post
Varying your training is a must but do it in a planned manner to allow your body to build on each segment. Given the 45-60 minute time restriction, I suggest you look at cadence rather than just time. Teaching your muscles, heart, and lungs to pedal faster is part of the training process
Great point. Cadence has been a big part of the learning process on cycling in general as well as the intervals.

I think like many beginners, I was loping around at 70 rpm. You just feel like itís fast enough and you feel the resistance and figure your building because you donít know better. And 90 rpm feels too fast and youíre in lower gear and think youíre not really accomplishing much.

But, over time, and spending some hours on this pretty techy stationary bike they had in my gym, I was able to see the rpm and watts and what 90 feels like, get used to it, and push to maintain that cadence with higher resistance.

It translated to my outdoor riding and I could see I was just naturally upping my cadence without thinking about it.

With the intervals, cadence is the big factor in progressing. My goal for cadence for a 30 second interval is basically to get to spinning as fast as you can in a gear for 30 seconds and go as fast as I possible can and be ďbrokeĒ as far as my lung capacity and you fade to basically not even being able to pedal for a little bit.

Now, Iím trying to see if Iím ready to go higher gear on these. Itís going to be brutal at first to build cadence back to what it is now in the lower gear but I guess thatís what makes it fun and a challenge; )

Btw, I know Iím being a dumb@ss and need to get a power meter already, lol

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Old 04-30-20, 01:27 PM
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Cadence can have it's pitfalls just like concentrating on a particular HR profile does. It can make you forget to try.

I've experienced both the HR and cadence pitfalls. Certainly power must have some equivalent, but I can't say. Still waiting to get one.
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Old 04-30-20, 04:53 PM
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No, you are definitely not being a dumbass. You're doing it right. There are two limiters in cycling, breathing rate and leg exhaustion. Cadence increases breathing rate and decreases leg effort. Because air is a free resource and leg effort is limited, cyclists favor a higher cadence than seems logical when one is starting out. Even when your legs are completely beat, you can still breathe fast, get plenty of air, if you see what I mean. High cadence saves your legs. But right now, not so much, because you can't spin almost effortlessly. That takes a lot of practice.

You don't really need a power meter to do any of this. I got quite fast, did and still do a lot of long distance cycling, all without a PM. I did use a heart rate monitor to help me limit my efforts, which is the key to long distance cycling, a PM being almost useless for that. Anyway, drills are how you get good at pedaling.

Gym bikes, that is spin bikes, are all what cyclists call "fixed." There's no freewheel, i.e. ratchet in the rear hub. Thus in a way, the gym bike's flywheel pushes your feet around the circle, which is a big difference. Nonetheless, since you have access to a spin bike, do some high cadence drills on it. Try to pedal at a steady 120 cadence for 15 minutes or so, without bouncing on the saddle. The resistance should be as low as necessary to be able to do that and keep your breathing rate reasonable so that you don't blow up. The secret to not bouncing in the saddle is to work very hard mentally to put force on the pedals only tangent to the pedal circle, IOW, don't push down except at that instant when the crank is level, rather follow the pedal around the circle. Pretend your cranks are turbine blades and make them go around by spinning the blades.

So . . .when you can do that on the gym bike, try it on your road bike. Try to do 1/2 hour of pedaling at a 100 cadence, just enough effort that you are breathing deeply and a bit fast, but definitely not panting. That will absolutely fry your legs, but that's the whole idea. Try that once a week until you can do it no problem. Then do 2 X 25' with a 5 minute rest between, also once a week for maybe 2 weeks. Then you'll have legs and pedaling and can really train. Cycling is a pedaling sport.
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Old 04-30-20, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
No, you are definitely not being a dumbass. You're doing it right. There are two limiters in cycling, breathing rate and leg exhaustion. Cadence increases breathing rate and decreases leg effort. Because air is a free resource and leg effort is limited, cyclists favor a higher cadence than seems logical when one is starting out. Even when your legs are completely beat, you can still breathe fast, get plenty of air, if you see what I mean. High cadence saves your legs. But right now, not so much, because you can't spin almost effortlessly. That takes a lot of practice.

You don't really need a power meter to do any of this. I got quite fast, did and still do a lot of long distance cycling, all without a PM. I did use a heart rate monitor to help me limit my efforts, which is the key to long distance cycling, a PM being almost useless for that. Anyway, drills are how you get good at pedaling.

Gym bikes, that is spin bikes, are all what cyclists call "fixed." There's no freewheel, i.e. ratchet in the rear hub. Thus in a way, the gym bike's flywheel pushes your feet around the circle, which is a big difference. Nonetheless, since you have access to a spin bike, do some high cadence drills on it. Try to pedal at a steady 120 cadence for 15 minutes or so, without bouncing on the saddle. The resistance should be as low as necessary to be able to do that and keep your breathing rate reasonable so that you don't blow up. The secret to not bouncing in the saddle is to work very hard mentally to put force on the pedals only tangent to the pedal circle, IOW, don't push down except at that instant when the crank is level, rather follow the pedal around the circle. Pretend your cranks are turbine blades and make them go around by spinning the blades.

So . . .when you can do that on the gym bike, try it on your road bike. Try to do 1/2 hour of pedaling at a 100 cadence, just enough effort that you are breathing deeply and a bit fast, but definitely not panting. That will absolutely fry your legs, but that's the whole idea. Try that once a week until you can do it no problem. Then do 2 X 25' with a 5 minute rest between, also once a week for maybe 2 weeks. Then you'll have legs and pedaling and can really train. Cycling is a pedaling sport.
CFB, youíre writing checks my body canít cash! 😂


Kidding and thank you for all of the valuable insight. This is the stuff I want to learn to condense the time frame to improve and I appreciate it.

Happy to be getting some focus going and good stuff to work on.
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Old 04-30-20, 08:59 PM
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Originally Posted by CyclingBK View Post
CFB, youíre writing checks my body canít cash! 😂


Kidding and thank you for all of the valuable insight. This is the stuff I want to learn to condense the time frame to improve and I appreciate it.

Happy to be getting some focus going and good stuff to work on.
As it is said, "experience starts when you begin." Just start trying to do the above and do what you can do. In that way, what you can do will increase. Maybe a year to be able to do the above. Don't worry, be happy.
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