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Riding versus Training

Old 06-18-15, 12:12 AM
  #26  
Gyrine
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You might take a look at Carmichael's "The Time Crunched Cyclist." He offers very detailed training plans that have no other purpose than to improve your stamina and pace. Just a mix of hard training and regular rides. His program lasts 11 weeks with hard training 2, sometimes 3, times during the week and just rides on the weekend (occausionally with some short intervals).
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Old 06-18-15, 06:05 AM
  #27  
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My goal for each ride is to have fun and not to get kill on the road .
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Old 06-18-15, 07:27 AM
  #28  
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Thanks for the tip!

I'm still working my way through Friel's Training Bible, but I'll add your recommendation to my list.
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Old 06-18-15, 08:07 AM
  #29  
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I think it's all relative to your goals and motivation. I just started riding (my 1st ride in about 20yrs) this month. Decided I needed to do something to improve my fitness and selected biking.

I'm a data-driven guy and agree with the idea that to improve (and motivate) you must measure. So after about a week of pedaling back and forth aimlessly around the neighborhood I added the DuoTraps and Trip300 to my bike. And, on a whim I signed up for the 100 mile goal challenge over on the Clydesdale forum (told you I needed to improve fitness).

All of a sudden I'm looking at speed and distance. Not surprisingly my average speed started to increase as did my distance. Today I'm up to 119 miles so far this month. And to improve my form I started to observe and focus on my cadence. That's improving too.

All of this is good, but most of it only relates tangentially to my underlying goal of improving fitness and losing a few pounds. So I decided earlier this week to get more focused by getting an actual training plan.

I looked around and settled on an 8 week plan designed to help improve fitness and get a leaner body. This particular plan uses heart rate zones. That worked for me since I believe in the benefits of HR monitoring and already have a HR monitor from my running days.

One thing's for sure...it's easier for me to stick to a hard structured workout based on a predesigned plan rather than winging it. It's way too easy to rationalize when I'm making it up on the fly. So for me, a training plan works. Maybe not so much for you. Good luck.
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Old 06-18-15, 08:29 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by MidLife50 View Post
I think it's all relative to your goals and motivation. I just started riding (my 1st ride in about 20yrs) this month. Decided I needed to do something to improve my fitness and selected biking.

I'm a data-driven guy and agree with the idea that to improve (and motivate) you must measure. So after about a week of pedaling back and forth aimlessly around the neighborhood I added the DuoTraps and Trip300 to my bike. And, on a whim I signed up for the 100 mile goal challenge over on the Clydesdale forum (told you I needed to improve fitness).

All of a sudden I'm looking at speed and distance. Not surprisingly my average speed started to increase as did my distance. Today I'm up to 119 miles so far this month. And to improve my form I started to observe and focus on my cadence. That's improving too.

All of this is good, but most of it only relates tangentially to my underlying goal of improving fitness and losing a few pounds. So I decided earlier this week to get more focused by getting an actual training plan.

I looked around and settled on an 8 week plan designed to help improve fitness and get a leaner body. This particular plan uses heart rate zones. That worked for me since I believe in the benefits of HR monitoring and already have a HR monitor from my running days.

One thing's for sure...it's easier for me to stick to a hard structured workout based on a predesigned plan rather than winging it. It's way too easy to rationalize when I'm making it up on the fly. So for me, a training plan works. Maybe not so much for you. Good luck.
Hi MidLife50,

Awesome post! It sounds like you have it figured out and you're approaching things from multiple angles -

I'm probably not the: "It's all about the ride" guy. For me, it's all about mixing it up, introducing different goals and challenges, learning about new concepts such as HIIT, HR, LTHR and all of the other stuff that I'd basically never heard of before a year ago.

All of this, for me, makes it interesting on different levels, and adds to my motivation. Some people don't need any of this other 'fluff' to stay motivated, unfortunately, I do.

Also, I don't look upon anything I'm doing as being detrimental to the main goal - which is to ride my bike, outdoors, as often as possible. In fact it's all supportive of that goal in various ways.

And as I mentioned in an earlier post, if getting fitter/faster enables me to get to the chicken dinner on an organized Century ride, and not to arrive back in time to see the scraps as they're being cleared away, then so much the better....
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Old 06-18-15, 08:43 AM
  #31  
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Stop and celebrate your accomplishments. Completing those centuries is awesome.

Keep in mind that you're feeling bad about completing 100 miles in time for chicken dinner and I'm talking about doing 100 miles over a couple weeks.
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Old 06-22-15, 01:50 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by bruised View Post
I'm just over a year into riding a bike after many years as a couch potato. Progress has been good, I think …But I don't feel that my overall fitness is continuing to advance. At least not at any noticeable pace.

So I've thought about it and what I've come up with is this - there's a big difference between riding and training. I've been focused on the former and have given little thought over the months to the latter.

I guess it's the same in any sport, if you want to get better, fitter, you have to stop playing and start training. …I've been thinking about this transition for a while but I haven't been certain that I wanted to apply myself and make the extra effort. Now I'm thinking that it's the only way to advance.

So I'm wondering - have any of you over 50's been through this thought process? Sacrificing some of your recreational riding time and introducing more intense training methods, to try to boost your fitness? I'm not talking about tackling the occasional hill, I'm thinking of something more structured.

I don't want to race or do anything competitive, but I'd like to increase my riding distances and pace. …Thoughts…ideas….tips….feedback….suggestions....all would be appreciated!

Originally Posted by Mobile 155 View Post
In my experience if you train you have to train for a purpose.…

Originally Posted by MidLife50 View Post
…I'm a data-driven guy and agree with the idea that to improve (and motivate) you must measure…

One thing's for sure...it's easier for me to stick to a hard structured workout based on a predesigned plan rather than winging it. It's way too easy to rationalize when I'm making it up on the fly. So for me, a training plan works…
I’m a very busy rider with work and family duties, and need to optimize my cycling time for training. So I’m a very goal-oriented cyclist, be it for a destination, or particularly mileage. Fortunately I can often cycle commute, or make time in the late afternoon to ride. The training schedule that most appeals to me and yields good results is this:

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
I do a ten week century training program that I saw published in BICYCLING MAGAZINE years ago. There are two variations, called Easy Century Training, or With Strength to Spare. I do the latter one, and it is about the most time I can spare to train. Fortunately I cycle commute, so that's where I do it by lengthening my usual 14 mile one way distance (Commuter Rail home with bike). I find that the schedule motivates me to keep up, and it's very satisfying to plug the data into my Excel spreadsheet and watch the charts expand. My modification of the plan is to make Sunday my rest day, and Saturday is my long ride / Century day.

Code:
WITH  STRENGTH TO SPARE:
Mon.	Tues.	Wed.	Thurs.	Fri.	Sat.	Sun.	Weekly
Easy*	Pace*	Brisk*		Pace*	Pace*	Pace*	Mileage
10	12	14	Off	12	40	15	103
10	13	15	Off	13	44	17	112
10	15	15	Off	15	48	18	123
11	16	19	Off	16	53	20	135
12	18	20	Off	18	59	22	149
13	19	23	Off	19	64	24	162
14	20	25	Off	20	71	27	177
16	20	27	Off	20	75	27	177
17	20	30	Off	20	75	32	194
19	20	30	Off	10	5 Easy	Century	184
							
							1,516
Due to vagaries of New England weather, I usually begin in April, for the first Century in July…I usually retrench down to about week six through late July and August, and ramp up in September for a second late September CenturyThen I gradually taper down and by November I slog my way through winter with my minimal 14 mile commute (as daily as possible) until April again.
Even if I don’t ride a century, following that schedule motivates me to get out on the bike more than I ever would without it, and enjoy the nice weather part of the year.

Originally Posted by bruised View Post
…And yes, intervals do suck! I haven't got the program going yet but I've tried the concept a couple times here and there (just by counting down the seconds) and I didn't particularly enjoy it!

Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
…My suggestion would be to look up sweet spot training (SST) and incorporate those intervals into your riding. They are ridden at an intensity level a little below threshold and can be performed every day if you want without beating you up mentally. They are longer intervals in the 20+ min range.

Tabatas are fine if you have no time for training and want the most efficient training but they will quickly suck the joy out of riding and you'll end up giving them up.
Besides just mileage, I do try to intensify my riding, without destroying my enthusiasm, especially when I leave so early in the AM:

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
… I'm fortunate to be a daily year-round cycling commuter early in the morning, with a pleasant, minimal one-way distance of 14 miles, easily lengthened during the nice weather. My commute is really my only chance to train. I had long rejected the idea of intervals because getting on the Road early is a challenge itself, and I didn't want to lose my enthusiasm by punishing myself too much. That fairly simple regimen described above seemed tolerable, and for the first two days so far was tolerable and somewhat enjoyable.

Intervals on the road during a defined commute are more variable than what one can do on a trainer. I have quickly learned that I must watch out for traffic and not pay too much attention to the stopwatch on my cycle computer. Sometimes the stopwatch times out during an interval and I have to reset. Often the terrain is out of synch with the interval, e.g. downhills on the intensity interval, uphill on the rest interval, with stoplights interspersed.
So recently I decided to do intervals as the terrain calls for, i.e. efforts on hills, rests on flats and downhills.

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
… I just use “Rating of Perceived Exertion” (RPE) as my monitor (see subsequent post). I consider my usual happy-go-lucky pace is at an RPE of 50 (out of 100), and previously sometimes tried to ride most of the commute at a steady 60. So I ride about 6-8 miles at my usual pace (exertion) to totally warm up, then I estimate my RPE during the intense one-minute intervals to be about about 70-80. I then revert to my usual RPE of 50 for the remaining 2-3 miles.

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
RATING OF PERCEIVED EXERTION SCALE (see preceding post)
Code:
      RPE scale*                              Jim's scale
•	6 - resting                                   10-20 
•	7 - very, very light                            20-30
•	9 - very light                                  30-40  
•	11 - fairly light             50 (usual pace; my 60% Max HR)
•	13 - somewhat hard                              60   
•	15 - hard                                       70
•	17 - very hard (Lactate threshold;     80 (my Max HR)
      breakpoint between hard but steady 
      breathing and labored with gasping)       
•	19 - very, very hard                            90-100
* On RPE scale, 10 times the number is equivalent to heart rate. For cardiovascular effectiveness, one should exercise to ~ 60% of maximal heart rate: Max HR = 226 – age (for women), 220- age (men)
Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
Riding is my goal. If I am riding, I have achieved my goal. I don't need or want anything beyond that.

Originally Posted by TCR Rider View Post
If I just go out and ride aimlessly all the time I get bored pretty quickly

Originally Posted by tigat View Post
+1 I have a mileage and effort goal for pretty much every solo ride, even if it's a commute, and all of them have stretch options… Keeping track, keeping score is what racing is for. Feelings of strength, power and freedom, on the other hand, don't need to be benchmarked against anyone else's accomplishment, and being able to capture those feelings does not have to be age dependent...
I keep track of my actual mileage in comparison with my goal, and that gets me out on the bike more than I ever would without. It’s not to compare myself with others, just with me. Speed (and distance) is nice, but I’m satisfied with a paraphrased axiom I once read on BF, “ My 15 mph (or 50 miles) is to me as your 23 mph (or double century) is to you.”

One hindrance to keeping on the training schedule is familiarity, i.e, lack of novelty on the routes, since I have ridden them many times before. Fortunately I have access to some of the best around Boston, and I'm trying out mental techniques to make them interesting every time.

Finally, to those who disdain computers, to me that is like the old saying, “I’m not religious, but I am spiritual.” To each his own.

This post my be "tl;dr (too long; didn't read") but writing it does motivate me after summarizing my, "Thoughts…ideas….tips….feedback….suggestions...." as requested above.

PS: The formatting of the RPE scale got messed up. The RPE scale ranges from 6 to 17, with descriptions of the intensity. Jim's scale is the equivalent on a 0 to 100 scale, easier to think about:

6, resting...10 to 20
7, very, very light...20 to 30
9, very light...30 to 40
11, fairly light...50
13, somewhat hard...60
15, hard...70
17, very hard (lactate threshold; breakpoint between hard but steady
breathing and labored with gasping)...80 (my max HR)
19, very, very hard...90 to 100.

Addendum: See also posts #34 and 38.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 07-13-15 at 10:10 AM. Reason: Added Addendum (after PS)
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Old 06-22-15, 02:10 PM
  #33  
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I am not prepping for competition, I am riding for me and me alone.

I work hard at it, I do those lung and leg buster full blown point of failure workouts ON my bike because my body wants that type,, no needs that type of workout.
I have some free weights and the Total gym at home. I can ride year around so I am good to go without all the training time....

I see, for me no benefit from all this tech stuff, I see benefit In the ride Itself, what It does for my head and my body.

To each his own right !

So train hard biker
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Old 06-23-15, 06:00 AM
  #34  
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Riding versus Training

Originally Posted by bruised View Post
I'm just over a year into riding a bike after many years as a couch potato. Progress has been good…but…..I'm feeling like my fitness has hit a plateau. I'm sure it's a normal consequence of 'adaptation'….

So I've thought about it and what I've come up with is this - there's a big difference between riding and training. I've been focused on the former and have given little thought over the months to the latter.

I've been thinking about this transition for a while but I haven't been certain that I wanted to apply myself and make the extra effort. Now I'm thinking that it's the only way to advance.

So I'm wondering - have any of you over 50's been through this thought process? Sacrificing some of your recreational riding time and introducing more intense training methods, to try to boost your fitness? I'm not talking about tackling the occasional hill, I'm thinking of something more structured.

I don't want to race or do anything competitive …Thoughts…ideas….tips….feedback….suggestions....all would be appreciated.

Originally Posted by Gyrine View Post
You might take a look at Carmichael's "The Time Crunched Cyclist." He offers very detailed training plans that have no other purpose than to improve your stamina and pace. Just a mix of hard training and regular rides. His program lasts 11 weeks with hard training 2, sometimes 3, times during the week and just rides on the weekend (occausionally with some short intervals).

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
...writing [my preceding post] does motivate me after summarizing my, "Thoughts…ideas….tips….feedback….suggestions...." as requested above.

… The RPE (Rating of Perceived Exertion) scale ranges from 6 to 17, with descriptions of the intensity (10x the RPE is an approximation of the heart rate at that level of exertion). Jim's scale is the equivalent on a 0 to 100 scale, easier to think about:

6, resting...10 to 20
7, very, very light...20 to 30
9, very light...30 to 40
11, fairly light...50 (my usual happy-go-lucky pace / exertion)
13, somewhat hard...60
15, hard...70
17, very hard (lactate threshold; breakpoint between hard but steady breathing and labored with gasping)...80 (my max HR)
19, very, very hard...90 to 100.
So on my ride this morning, I formulated for myself my “Time-restricted, Personally Ambitious, but Non-competitive Cyclist Training Routine.”

Using the mileage goals in my aforementioned Ten Week Century Training Schedule, for weekday rides (of from 14 to 30 miles):
  • First mile at RPE about 30 -50

  • Next five miles at RPE 50 (one year I monitored the mileage at which I spontaneously felt completely warmed up, at about 6 miles)

  • Then at RPE 60 for usual terrain (increased RPE as a function of power and cadence)

  • RPE at 70 up hills

  • RPE of 50 to recover on downhlls for a minute or two

  • RPE of 50 for last 2-3 miles

  • For long (40 to 75 mile) week end rides, ride a comfortable pace

Addendum: See follow-up post #38.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 10-01-15 at 05:23 AM. Reason: Added Addendum
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Old 06-23-15, 08:29 AM
  #35  
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I made an interesting observation yesterday, it has really spotlighted something about the type of riding I do.

I started riding in May 2014, short rides were all I could manage, 10-20 miles or less for the first couple months.

By July I was able to throw in some longer rides, into the 35-45 mile range.

But my 'bread and butter' ride back then was a route from my front door that looped around the side-roads, took in two of the steepest hills in the county and measured exactly 19 miles. The loop would take about 1:20 on my 29er MTB. I rode this loop a lot as it was a comfortable distance and time-in-the-saddle. I could also go around 70% flat-out through much of it, as I knew the route, new the distance was quite short etc. It was a high-energy / high-intensity route for me, and a good cardio workout.

By August I'd all but abandoned my 19 mile route in favor of longer distances.

Now on the longer routes (35m and up) it was a different riding style. Now I was having to pace myself, keep my heart-rate in check etc. Slowly these longer rides have replaced all but a few of the shorter 20 mile rides that were my focus a year ago.

Wind the clock forward to June 2015.

I'm doing mostly longer rides and can easily spend 8 hours in the saddle, hauling camping gear around the State.

Everything's good, right? I must be fit and healthy!!

Not so fast.

Yesterday there was a storm moving into the area and the sky was darkening fast. I knew it would be a wash so I made a quick change and decided to ride the old 'bread-and-butter' route for a fast 19 miles, like the old days.

I'm 'super-fit' now so it should be a doddle.

It damn near killed me. I tried to run the near flat-out pace that I'd become accustomed to on this route and at the 10 mile point I was really feeling like toast.

Clearly there's a big difference in the impact on fitness between long-distance / endurance riding and shorter sprint riding.

I've let one slip in favor of the other, thinking that I was moving my fitness forwards with more time in the saddle, whereas I've actually gone backwards in some sense.

This has really struck home and reaffirmed the need for the Tabata style training that I've been contemplating but haven't yet begun. Or if not Tabata, then some other form of HIIT. Or even just throw in a daily bread-and-butter ride to get my HR back up.

I know...."ya gotta mix it up!". And I thought I was. I thought my longer rides and occasional slog up a steep hill was enough. But my body needs more of the shorter, high-intensity rides, as I was doing last year.

That's where I'm at with my thinking. Now I just need to get out and do it
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Old 06-23-15, 12:55 PM
  #36  
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If you want to get fitter, you're right to think you need to add intensity to build on the big base you've established through your endurance riding. And training systematically with HIIT is undoubtedly the answer. But I wouldn't recommend Carmichael's "Time-Crunched" program. It is really for those who need to get fit quick, and can't afford enough time to train more conventionally. As a result it is very top-heavy as far as intensity is concerned, and while you'd certainly see short-term gains you'd also risk burnout.

i went through exactly the process you're describing. Got back on the bike at 50, quickly became strong enough to ride long distances at a respectable pace, wanted more, bought Friel, entered my first race at 57 and found I could just about hang with the pack in non age-related Cat 3/4 races. Keeping up with the Masters in my age group was more difficult, those old guys have a gazillion miles in their legs and experience to match. I raced only for a couple of seasons - my aim was mainly to see whether I could be competitive - but I had a lot of fun and learned a lot. I recommend it. And I still incorporate an interval session of one sort or another into my weekly schedule to keep a bit of an edge.

Drop in on the Masters section of the racing forum. Lots of friendly advice on training available there.
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Old 06-23-15, 01:14 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by bruised View Post
I'm keen to try some Tabata training and I've downloaded a timer app for my iPhone which I plan to try out tomorrow.
I'm a fan of the 8x20 sec with 10sec rest Tabata intervals. I mostly do them on the Concept 2 rowing machine at the gym or (an this is really tough) the 25 meter swimming pool at my gym. I can start out and just barely get to one end in 20-22 seconds on the first interval. By the eighth set it takes me about 24 seconds. In any event, I take the 10 second rest regardless of time. It is the most intense four minute workout you can do, done properly. But in the last four months I have taken my 50 meter lap time from about a 1:05 average to mid-50secs.

The thing with Tabata intervals is intensity. You have to really hammer it and not let up on about the fourth or fifth rep.
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Old 07-13-15, 09:43 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by bruised View Post
I made an interesting observation yesterday, it has really spotlighted something about the type of riding I do…I'm doing mostly longer rides and can easily spend 8 hours in the saddle, hauling camping gear around the State.

Everything's good, right? I must be fit and healthy!!

Not so fast…

Clearly there's a big difference in the impact on fitness between long-distance / endurance riding and shorter sprint riding.

I've let one slip in favor of the other, thinking that I was moving my fitness forwards with more time in the saddle, whereas I've actually gone backwards in some sense.

This has really struck home and reaffirmed the need for the Tabata style training that I've been contemplating but haven't yet begun. Or if not Tabata, then some other form of HIIT. Or even just throw in a daily bread-and-butter ride to get my HR back up.

I know...."ya gotta mix it up!". And I thought I was. I thought my longer rides and occasional slog up a steep hill was enough. But my body needs more of the shorter, high-intensity rides, as I was doing last year.

That's where I'm at with my thinking. Now I just need to get out and do it
About two weeks ago I described a new training routine for myself combining a well-established Ten Week Century Training Schedule of daily mileage goals with a personalized intensity scale based on ”Relative Perceived Exertion (RPE).” My basic premise was that I wanted to get significantly fit, within a busy work/family time-crunched life, but not suffer so much that I would abandon the program.

I do have the advantages of a very nice minimum 14 mile one way commute that is easily extended; and a high end, very comfortable carbon fiber road bike that encourages riding.

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
So on my ride this morning, I formulated for myself my “Time-restricted, Personally Ambitious, but Non-competitive Cyclist Training Routine.”

Using the mileage goals in my aforementioned Ten Week Century Training Schedule, for weekday rides (of from 14 to 30 miles) [and the previously described RPE scale, post #34]:
  • First mile at RPE about 30 -50 (%)
  • Next five miles at RPE 50 (one year I monitored the mileage at which I spontaneously felt completely warmed up, at about 6 miles)
  • Then at RPE 60 for usual terrain (increased RPE as a function of power and cadence)
  • RPE at 70 up hills
  • RPE of 50 to recover on downhlls for a minute or two
  • RPE of 50 for last 2-3 miles
  • For long (40 to 75 mile) week end rides, ride a comfortable pace
EDIT: Soon afterwards, I modified the above scheme, just to ride the first six miles at RPE 50%, then cruise at 60%, and do hill intervals at about 70%, to climb the hills around Boston in about two minutes. I don’t do a hill recovery or end-of-ride cool down either.
After two weeks I’m very encouraged by the results. I have always found that the mileage goals are an incentive to at least get out and ride. The warm up period of 6 miles is a good length to prepare to rev up to 60% RPE. In fact I can’t wait to get there. That intensity after the warm up is pretty comfortable, and actually exhilarating to maintain as a noticeably faster pace. When I get to a hill, there’s no dread about accelerating to 70%. and maintain for the length of the upgrade, usually for about two minutes (as I might also work in as a two minute interval on the flats if the route has no hills).

I readily know I’m in the 70% phase because within about 30 seconds I’m automatically breathing hard, but not gasping.

Another unintended benefit is mental. I find that to honestly maintain my 60% RPE pace I must concentrate on keeping it up. At 50% RPE I don’t think about pace. One detraction from training for mileage is sometimes the lack of novelty (boredom) from riding well-trod routes. I find that the mental concentration and enjoyment of keeping on pace occupies my mind enough to displace any thoughts of boredom.

Finally, since I am so time-crunched, going beyond five hours for a long weekend ride of about 60 miles and greater as on the Schedule is too burdensome, so I have de-emphasized distance for the intensity effect. My long rides usually are out-and-back loops. I have started riding out for about 2.5 hours at my usual 50% RPE, then ride back at 60% with sporadic 70% intervals to see how long I can keep up that training pace. So far I have gone about 25 miles on the return route without burning out.

This past weekend I rode a 39 mile organized route at mostly a 50% RPE since I was riding with other companions. The approximately last 10 miles had gently rolling hills, so I notched up to 70% on the hills and 60% on the flats, and felt great, even after already riding about thirty miles. Even though my adherence to the Schedule is less than fully compliant, I’m at about week 7 and will go through to week 10, likely without a century, then retrench to week 6 or 7 for maintainence. I'll ramp up again for planned much longer organized rides in September and October.

For about November through March I just do my 14 mile commute but plan on enhancing it with increased RPE.

ADDENDUM:

One other thing I learned during my trial phase of this training program is not to underestimate hills when doing intervals. I once was riding up a hill in too high a gear, barely pedaling to stay upright, and my chain fell off the front cog and got wedged between the seat tube and pedal crank. I had to pull so hard to remove it that I bent a link, causing the chain to skip with each rotation.

Yesterday (7/14), I also posted:

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
…BTW, as I recently posted about my “Time-restricted, Personally Ambitious but not Competitive Training Schedule", here’s an example of the beneficial effect after about three weeks. I’m going to mask my overall speed, though I do adhere to the axiom I read on BF, ”My 15 mph is to me as your 23 mph is to you.”

My speed for the warm-up six miles was X mph, a typical average for a 20 mile ride, and my final speed for the entire ride of 20 miles, to include the last 13 miles at training pace was X+1.9 mph. I enjoyed the ride…not a sufferfest. In fact, I have been finding that I can maintain the training pace for the entire ride, and dispense with a cool-down pace for the last two miles or so. FWIW.
Today’s average speed for my entire 24 mile ride was X+2.5 mph, compared to my average speed of X during the six-mile warm-up.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 08-01-16 at 07:59 AM. Reason: Added ADDENDUM. later EDIT
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Old 07-13-15, 10:04 AM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
About two weeks ago I described a new training routine for myself combining a well-established Ten Week Century Training Schedule of daily mileage goals with a personalized intensity scale based on ”Relative Perceived Exertion (RPE).” My basic premise was that I wanted to get significantly fit, within a busy work/family time-crunched life, but not suffer so much that I would abandon the program.

I do have the advantages of a very nice minimum 14 mile one way commute that is easily extended; and a high end, very comfortable carbon fiber road bike that encourages riding.


After two weeks I’m very encouraged by the results. I have always found that the mileage goals are an incentive to at least get out and ride. The warm up period of 6 miles is a good length to prepare to rev up to 60% RPE. In fact I can’t wait to get there. That intensity after the warm up is pretty comfortable, and actually exhilarating to maintain as a noticeably faster pace. When I get to a hill, there’s no dread about accelerating to 70%. and maintain for the length of the upgrade, usually for about two minutes (as I might also work in as a two minute interval on the flats if the route has no hills).

I readily know I’m in the 70% phase because within about 30 seconds I’m automatically breathing hard, but not gasping.

Another unintended benefit is mental. I find that to honestly maintain my 60% RPE pace I must concentrate on keeping it up. At 50% RPE I don’t think about pace. One detraction from training for mileage is sometimes the lack of novelty (boredom) from riding well-trod routes. I find that the mental concentration and enjoyment of keeping on pace occupies my mind enough to displace any thoughts of boredom.

Finally, since I am so time-crunched, going beyond five hours for a long weekend ride of about 60 miles and greater as on the Schedule is too burdensome, so I have de-emphasized distance for the intensity effect. My long rides usually are out-and-back loops. I have started riding out for about 2.5 hours at my usual 50% RPE, then ride back at 60% with sporadic 70% intervals to see how long I can keep up that training pace. So far I have gone about 25 miles on the return route without burning out.

This past weekend I rode a 39 mile organized route at mostly a 50% RPE since I was riding with other companions. The approximately last 10 miles had gently rolling hills, so I notched up to 70% on the hills and 60% on the flats, and felt great, even after already riding about thirty miles. Even though my adherence to the Schedule is less than fully compliant, I’m at about week 7 and will go through to week 10, likely without a century, then retrench to week 6 or 7 for maintainence. I'll ramp up again for planned much longer organized rides in September and October.

For about November through March I just do my 14 mile commute but plan on enhancing it with increased RPE.
Great info/strategy, Jim.

I need to introduce this kind of structure into my riding but I'm struggling to do so - lack of real motivation / ambition and reluctance to endure significant pain in exchange for gain. I keep thinking about it and trying to talk myself into getting out and doing it, but other than the occasional brush with a Tabata session I keep defaulting back to my old habits of semi-recreational riding with higher intensity bursts here and there when the mood takes me.

Your comment about displacing the thoughts of boredom is something I'll need to ponder, as that might be the incentive I need, particularly on the shorter 20-30 mile sessions.... as these routes are very well trodden and have become very mundane.

On a slightly related note, I've been giving consideration to trying to manage all of the random/sporadic thought 'clutter' that floods into my head when I'm on the bike...it's very distracting and exhausting! I've been reading a book by Sam Harris which touches on 'mindlessness' and meditation and how to control the ingress of these random thoughts - perhaps a more structured training program would help focus on the locus..
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Old 07-13-15, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by bruised View Post
...Your comment about displacing the thoughts of boredom is something I'll need to ponder, as that might be the incentive I need, particularly on the shorter 20-30 mile sessions.... as these routes are very well trodden and have become very mundane.

On a slightly related note, I've been giving consideration to trying to manage all of the random/sporadic thought 'clutter' that floods into my head when I'm on the bike...it's very distracting and exhausting! I've been reading a book by Sam Harris which touches on 'mindlessness' and meditation and how to control the ingress of these random thoughts - perhaps a more structured training program would help focus on the locus..
I find that "random/sporadic thought 'clutter" (stream of consciousness) actually interesting, as long as it's not distressing thoughts. Perhaps you might find this previous thread helpful, ”Brain activity while commuting: zoned out or day dreaming?” I posted,

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
I too also think about composing posts, particularly on my long Saturday rides for the thread, "Metro Boston: Good ride today?," for example this most recent.

On routine commutes, it's often work related.

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
I'm very motivated by novelty, and stymied by boredom on a bike, but I do have the motivation of commuting to work. I have found that when I drive my frequent, decades-old routes I often notice things I had not seen before. I think it’s because I can look around at more than just the road surface when driving. So when the commute is getting too familiar, I just raise my head higher and look over a wider field of view...
Or course I won’t even mention about listening to devices for music, books on tape, podcasts, or talk shows.
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Old 07-13-15, 02:38 PM
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.......On a slightly related note, I've been giving consideration to trying to manage all of the random/sporadic thought 'clutter' that floods into my head when I'm on the bike...it's very distracting and exhausting! I've been reading a book by Sam Harris which touches on 'mindlessness' and meditation and how to control the ingress of these random thoughts - perhaps a more structured training program would help focus on the locus..

Without "random/sporadic thought 'clutter' that floods into my head when I'm on the bike," I would be lost during those wee hours of the AM, between 0200 and 0500, when I'm out by myself cranking out the miles before the sun rises and turns the day into a pizza oven. Same thing when out pounding the pavement getting into some sort of reasonable shape for a marathon. Something like this AM when I got out at 0405. Even thoughts of my mortality due to my cancer or being hit by a vehicle or a frozen turd falling from a plane causes no angst.

In my case.....low IQ = peace of mind
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Old 07-14-15, 07:35 AM
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Originally Posted by OldTryGuy View Post

Without "random/sporadic thought 'clutter' that floods into my head when I'm on the bike," I would be lost during those wee hours of the AM, between 0200 and 0500, when I'm out by myself cranking out the miles before the sun rises and turns the day into a pizza oven. Same thing when out pounding the pavement getting into some sort of reasonable shape for a marathon. Something like this AM when I got out at 0405. Even thoughts of my mortality due to my cancer or being hit by a vehicle or a frozen turd falling from a plane causes no angst.

In my case.....low IQ = peace of mind

You're fortunate if it doesn't bother you!


Don't get me wrong, I can be fairly productive in the head department on long rides - 'which socks would be better to pair with these cycling shoes....where could I bury the neighbors dog and not have it show up until after the holidays....surely Brett Favre was a better QB than Aaron Rodgers'...etc. That's one layer. Then there's ALWAYS a tune playing....ALWAYS. It's there every waking moment stuck on repeat. The tune changes periodically, say three or four times per day, but it's on a loop and I can never get it to shut down. I don't know who selects the tune but whoever it is should be fired from a cannon. Yesterday it was Max Bygraves' 'Tulips from Amsterdam'. Right now it's something by Barry Manilow. I hate Barry Manilow almost as much as the neighbor's dog.
I've read somewhere that at best my condition is related to OCCD, at worst it's an indicator of some deeper psychosis. I'm going with the latter and I blame Barack Obama, the Green Bay Packers and the neighbor's dog.
The third layer is me trying to control the bike, stay alert and avoid being turned into road-kill by an Illinois tourist.

And I'm trying to introduce structured training on top of all this - Tabata for cripe's sake.


Last edited by bruised; 07-14-15 at 08:27 AM.
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Old 07-14-15, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by bruised View Post
On a slightly related note, I've been giving consideration to trying to manage all of the random/sporadic thought 'clutter' that floods into my head when I'm on the bike...it's very distracting and exhausting! I've been reading a book by Sam Harris which touches on 'mindlessness' and meditation and how to control the ingress of these random thoughts - perhaps a more structured training program would help focus on the locus..

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
I find that "random/sporadic thought 'clutter" (stream of consciousness) actually interesting, as long as it's not distressing thoughts

Originally Posted by bruised View Post
You're fortunate if it doesn't bother you!

Don't get me wrong, I can be fairly productive in the head department on long rides… That's one layer.

Then there's ALWAYS a tune playing....ALWAYS.…

The third layer is me trying to control the bike, stay alert and avoid being turned into road-kill by an Illinois tourist.

And I'm trying to introduce structured training on top of all this - Tabata for cripe's sake.
Just today, I recalled a time when I was troubled by seemingly controlling thoughts. I had been hit from behind by a “distracted driver” and sustained a fractured sacrum, with about six weeks hospitalization. Afterwards recuperating at home, distressingly slow walks were my frequent rehab excercises, starting with about six blocks round trip. What bothered me I was compulsively counting steps, even while listening to the radio. That probably lasted for a couple months, until I went back to work.

I recalled that episode, because recently, including this morning while doing a training ride and concentrating on keeping up an advanced pace, I compulsively started counting; just numbers, not rpm’s. I could easily stop, but it occurred spontaneously on its own.

BTW, as I recently posted about my “Time-restricted, Personally Ambitious but not Competitive Training Schedule", here’s an example of the beneficial effect after about three weeks. I’m going to mask my overall speed, though I do adhere to the axiom I read on BF, ”My 15 mph is to me as your 23 mph is to you.”

My speed for the warm-up six miles was X mph, a typical average for a 20 mile ride, and my final speed for the entire ride of 20 miles, to include the last 13 miles at training pace was X+1.9 mph. I enjoyed the ride…not a sufferfest. In fact, I have been finding that I can maintain the training pace for the entire ride, and dispense with a cool-down pace for the last two miles or so. FWIW.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 07-14-15 at 12:24 PM.
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