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Training (not competitively)

Old 03-19-12, 03:13 PM
  #1  
Barnabas
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Training (not competitively)

I love to ride, I can go for miles cruising at around 17mph. I want to improve my speed/endurance for holding it down at 20mph. What is the best way to improve my average speed and endurance. I know the obvious going out there and riding faster, but i want to be as efficient as possible.

I am not looking to race or cycle competitively. Though i would like to join a group ride on the weekends that averages about 20 and not fall desperately behind.

insiders info on me; im 24, and have left knee problems (replaced an ACL; and 2 years after that microfracture surgery; meniscus is shotty). Was a hardcore athlete before the knee problems.
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Old 03-19-12, 03:48 PM
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I started cycling about 18 months ago and my time-crunched plan has been:
- 2x weekday 75 minute workouts at 90-95% FTP, with a day off after each. You should be sore the next day each and every time. I usually try and have 2 good 10-15 minute efforts within that 75 minute workout.
- 1x weekend 3-5 hour ride at 75% FTP, with full efforts for hill climbs.
Note1: do another 1-2 hours on the 2nd weekend day at 60-70% effort, if the weather is nice and you feel like it'd be enjoyable.
Note2: Make your long ride longer than usual once a month (for me, this might be a monthly 100mi ride)

The more traditional approach is to do 2x20min @ 95-100% FTP a couple times a week and a long ride (or two) on the weekend, which isn't really that far off from what I listed above. On the trainer, I do keep things very structured and stick with 2x20@98% FTP, but I'm not on a trainer very often.

I've gone from 17mph average for my 75 minute days to 20.0mph in about 8 months, and the progression from 20.0 to 21.0mph is looking to take me about 12 months (which I'm 11 months into). I'm assuming developing the power to go from 21->22mph will take me years. Endurance has developed enough to allow me to do a solo double century at 17mph, and a solo single century around 18.5-19mph.

Others will say ride in groups, but if you're a very self motivated person who doesn't plan on joining a cycling group it is certainly not a requirement.

Last edited by jmX; 03-20-12 at 04:01 PM.
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Old 03-20-12, 03:26 AM
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Average speeds don't tell you much, there's too much variation in conditions and terrain. But if you can ride for extended periods at 17 mph on your own, there's no need to be intimidated by a group ride that goes 20mph over a similar course. You're much faster in a bunch once you learn how to ride in the bunch, instead of in the wind.

For the rest, there's really little to say beyond what the great Merckx said. "Ride lots". If you want to get systematic, buy a heart rate monitor and and read some of the voluminous on-line guidance about how to use it. Do lots of miles at a pace at which you can feel the effort but still readily carry on a conversation. Do an hour or so, one day a week, at the hardest level of effort you can sustain for the full hour. On another day, do intervals or hill repeats that have you maxed out. Give yourself time to recover, with at least one day a week off the bike, preferably after one of your hard days. In general, make the hard days very hard and the easy days very easy.
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Old 03-25-12, 10:50 PM
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Originally Posted by jmX View Post
I started cycling about 18 months ago and my time-crunched plan has been:
- 2x weekday 75 minute workouts at 90-95% FTP, with a day off after each. You should be sore the next day each and every time. I usually try and have 2 good 10-15 minute efforts within that 75 minute workout.
- 1x weekend 3-5 hour ride at 75% FTP, with full efforts for hill climbs.
What is FTP and how do i calculate it?

Thanks for the info jmx and chasm54. very helpful.
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Old 03-25-12, 10:53 PM
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oh also forgot to ask. Do i want to go as hard as i can go for however long my workout is? or Go as hard as i can maintaining a constant speed the whole workout time?


in short? Blast as hard as i can non stop, or keep a consistent faster than normal pace the whole time.
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Old 03-26-12, 12:20 PM
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Maybe more reading than you were planning on doing, but I found this really helpful:



Somebody had to mention the "bible".
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Old 03-26-12, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Barnabas View Post
I love to ride, I can go for miles cruising at around 17mph. I want to improve my speed/endurance for holding it down at 20mph. What is the best way to improve my average speed and endurance. I know the obvious going out there and riding faster, but i want to be as efficient as possible.

I am not looking to race or cycle competitively. Though i would like to join a group ride on the weekends that averages about 20 and not fall desperately behind.

insiders info on me; im 24, and have left knee problems (replaced an ACL; and 2 years after that microfracture surgery; meniscus is shotty). Was a hardcore athlete before the knee problems.
Is this 20 mph group ride a steady 20mph or is it a 15mph neutral roll out, then 28mph hammerfest with 36mph sprint points, then a 15mph neutral roll in? If it's the former, you're probably already fit enough. If the latter, start doing intervals.
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Old 03-29-12, 09:25 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
Is this 20 mph group ride a steady 20mph or is it a 15mph neutral roll out, then 28mph hammerfest with 36mph sprint points, then a 15mph neutral roll in? If it's the former, you're probably already fit enough. If the latter, start doing intervals.
i've talked with a few people and they said when a group says they are averaging around 20mph. they are usually cycling a little more and around 25 on flat/straight a ways. I did interval training when i was running, but i am sure there is a different way to doing it than biking. How do you do intervals? like 2 mi sprints and 2 1/2 cruise?
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Old 04-02-12, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Wesley36 View Post
Maybe more reading than you were planning on doing, but I found this really helpful:



Somebody had to mention the "bible".
Dude with the name "Wesley" of course you had to mention "Bible"! John or Charles?
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Old 04-02-12, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Barnabas View Post
i've talked with a few people and they said when a group says they are averaging around 20mph. they are usually cycling a little more and around 25 on flat/straight a ways. I did interval training when i was running, but i am sure there is a different way to doing it than biking. How do you do intervals? like 2 mi sprints and 2 1/2 cruise?
One thing that seems to differ between running and cycling is the use of distance vs. time.

In cycling, you almost never talk about distance when doing intervals - you talk about time. My theory is that this is because the bicycle is so efficient - small inclines or declines can make a significant difference in distance traveled for the same effort.

As stated before, the "bread and butter" for getting fast in cycling is longer intervals. As stated before in this thread a standard workout is 2 20 minute intervals at a high percentage of your FTP with 5-10 minutes of rest in between intervals.

FTP (Functional Threshold Power) is defined as the maximal power you can maintain for one hour (when motivated and fresh). The power is the amount of power that you put through the cranks - the speed and/or distance you generate will vary based on many factors, so without a power measurement device it can be difficult to measure this accurately.

Group rides are also often characterized by surges - and because of the benefits of drafting, you really want to be able to stay with the group when it surges. To train for this, you should also mix in some shorter-duration intervals. 5 minute intervals are a good duration to help with this.

You should mix this in with at least one longer ride (ideally 3+ hours) on the weekends to help build your endurance.

If you're just starting out, then pretty much anything you do should make you stronger.

Note that riding in a group (particularly a faster group) is also a non-trivial skill. You may want to find some slower groups to ride with first to build comfort riding around other people (and learning key skills, like protecting your front wheel and drafting).
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Old 04-07-12, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Barnabas View Post
I love to ride, I can go for miles cruising at around 17mph. I want to improve my speed/endurance for holding it down at 20mph. What is the best way to improve my average speed and endurance. I know the obvious going out there and riding faster, but i want to be as efficient as possible.

I am not looking to race or cycle competitively. Though i would like to join a group ride on the weekends that averages about 20 and not fall desperately behind.

insiders info on me; im 24, and have left knee problems (replaced an ACL; and 2 years after that microfracture surgery; meniscus is shotty). Was a hardcore athlete before the knee problems.
Which group are you looking to ride with?

I live in the PHX area too. I did a group ride once, it was a beginner group and way too boring for me, I think the avg speed was 15, and some people were complaining. There doesn't seem to be a good mix, you have beginner groups, then those who hold 20+, and not much in between.

What part of town are you in? Was gonna ask if you're doing El Tour de Mesa on Saturday, but you said you don't want to race... A tour or century ride would be a good place to meet people to ride with, as well as give some opportunities to ride with some fast guys.
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