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Commuting as Training

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Commuting as Training

Old 04-29-19, 11:52 AM
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mojojojo
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Commuting as Training

I commute 8 hilly miles each way on my commute and sometimes get out for a few miles at lunch. I don't train long distances at all. I just went on a bike weekend (BRAG Spring Tune Up if you are from Georgia) and rode 60 miles on Saturday and 40 miles on Sunday. This was the best I have ever felt on this distance. Consistent shorter distances are my new solution for training. I have a triathlon coming up and I think all my training will be commuter training.
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Old 04-29-19, 12:03 PM
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I literally started commuting because I was training for a triathlon. I was frustrated because I was blowing off a lot of my bike workouts that I had scheduled for the evening. I'd ride the bus home and sit on the couch and never make it back outside. I had this genius idea that if I had my bike with me at the end of the work day I'd be forced to ride it and I might as well do the workout I had planned.

I started bike racing about 10 years ago and most of my training is still either on the way to or from work. My suggestion though is not to do the same route every day. Even if you don't do regimented interval training, you'll have better results if you switch things up. I've got routes that add 10 to 30 miles to the direct path between home and the office. Some days those might be highly structured and some days are just riding the ride and listening to a ball game in one ear bud.
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Old 04-29-19, 03:08 PM
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That is great. For most people that work, any seat time is beneficial. I'm sure the hills are giving you a variety in your workout (my commute is flat). I have a couple of Strava segments on my route that I use to see how I am doing at various points in the season.

Keep up the good work!
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Old 04-29-19, 03:17 PM
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I commute during summer though not consistently as I'd like; its really helps with the volume but I tend to leave the actual training til I get home. A lot of others use it for training; for example Charon Smith only trains during his commute and he's one of the best crit racers in the US. Volume is important as well and 8 mile trips should probably be added on at least 1-2 times a week if that's where you are getting all your cycling from.

A huge benefit to commuted is its easy to ride fasted. I take my breakfast with me and eat after a 40 minute ride. Weight drops fast that way.
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Old 04-29-19, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
I literally started commuting because I was training for a triathlon. I was frustrated because I was blowing off a lot of my bike workouts that I had scheduled for the evening. I'd ride the bus home and sit on the couch and never make it back outside. I had this genius idea that if I had my bike with me at the end of the work day I'd be forced to ride it and I might as well do the workout I had planned.

I started bike racing about 10 years ago and most of my training is still either on the way to or from work. My suggestion though is not to do the same route every day. Even if you don't do regimented interval training, you'll have better results if you switch things up. I've got routes that add 10 to 30 miles to the direct path between home and the office. Some days those might be highly structured and some days are just riding the ride and listening to a ball game in one ear bud.
Same, I commute ~9 months of the year and vary the distance between 15-40 miles each way with a variety of terrain. I also run an 34/36 as a low gear so I can keep some rides Z2 even in hilly Seattle. During the winter months when I bus, my training volume drops significantly because I can't will myself to get on the trainer after an hour bus ride whereas the rest of the year I have no choice(kinda). Once you get into a routine it works well, I train primarily via commuting for the last three years of cyclocross racing using various intervals and/or hills to do lots of sweetspot and V02max intervals which seem to be the easiest to time for during a commute. Otherwise long slow distance to build good aerobic fitness and listen to podcasts.

Originally Posted by furiousferret View Post
I commute during summer though not consistently as I'd like; its really helps with the volume but I tend to leave the actual training til I get home. A lot of others use it for training; for example Charon Smith only trains during his commute and he's one of the best crit racers in the US. Volume is important as well and 8 mile trips should probably be added on at least 1-2 times a week if that's where you are getting all your cycling from.

A huge benefit to commuted is its easy to ride fasted. I take my breakfast with me and eat after a 40 minute ride. Weight drops fast that way.
I use intermittent fasting to keep weight in check and commute fasted in the mornings too, but I extend it until noon so ~3 extra hours of fasting past my ride.
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Old 04-29-19, 04:37 PM
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Good point on the fasted riding in the morning. Cup of coffee and out the door, eat when I get to my desk.
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Old 04-29-19, 07:10 PM
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Even though I'm not training for any races I find the idea of using the commute to get in your daily exercise too appealing to pass up. Conversely, sitting in traffic for 90 minutes a day and then have to go ride or run, well, that's just a lot of wasted time. It's what I used to do before I started riding to work. I could never go back.

@redlude97, Interesting idea about waiting a few more hours after getting to work. I normally eat right when I get to work, so really about a 13-14 hour fast, but I might try extending that to 15 or 16 just to see how my body reacts to it.
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Old 04-30-19, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
Even though I'm not training for any races I find the idea of using the commute to get in your daily exercise too appealing to pass up. Conversely, sitting in traffic for 90 minutes a day and then have to go ride or run, well, that's just a lot of wasted time. It's what I used to do before I started riding to work. I could never go back.

@redlude97, Interesting idea about waiting a few more hours after getting to work. I normally eat right when I get to work, so really about a 13-14 hour fast, but I might try extending that to 15 or 16 just to see how my body reacts to it.
Some of that is practical. I had already started doing a 16/8 intermittent fast over the winter by simply skipping breakfast and waiting until lunch to eat at work and just continued it on the bike to save time and it didnt seem to affect my glycogen replenishement for my ride home around 6pm. Theres some fat adaption that occurs after awhile too, I can go out and ride 50 miles in a fasted state with just water now, and carry and eat less food in general on centuries etc. When cyclocross season comes I stop fasting to keep energy stores high for lots of intensity
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Old 05-02-19, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by mojojojo View Post
Commuting as Training
been thinking about going back to the sink wash-up routine cuz I'm not getting enough miles 1-2 rides per week. my round trip is 44 miles. I can do it easily, especially sitting on mu butt all day, I was just staying away from round trippers cuz we have no shower at work & I generally need that. was doing split commutes with a car & nearby gym. drive to work, ride home, then next day ride to work (drive to gym to shower & change, then after work drive home
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Old 05-02-19, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
@redlude97, Interesting idea about waiting a few more hours after getting to work. I normally eat right when I get to work, so really about a 13-14 hour fast, but I might try extending that to 15 or 16 just to see how my body reacts to it.
Sometimes I eat an egg in the morning as to have a quick filler “breakfast”. Upon arrival, I drink a cup of tea. Fluids are important!
In the end I do eat though ;-)
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Old 05-02-19, 08:22 PM
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I have a 20 mile round trip commute and I make the best of it. I only take it easy over the last mile or two on the way in, and I'm in Manhattan traffic anyway so you can't really do much. Even going home though I go as fast as I feel safe on the streets. About half the ride is off the streets and that is where I really push it. Some of the other cyclists think I'm a bit crazy, this old grey guy pushing it up the bridge, barely able to catch his breath. I try to keep my HR below 170, but I've hit 185 going up.
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Old 05-02-19, 10:00 PM
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I just happened to receive a copy of Jamie Smith's "Roadie" in the mail today, and in it he mentions training for 15-20 hours per week. I added up the time it takes me to commute each week (not counting the club ride that I tack on most Wednesdays), and it came to... less than four.

Clearly I'm not riding nearly enough.
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Old 05-02-19, 10:46 PM
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I loved my working days with the 12 mile each way commute. Hill coming home. Doesn't do everything training-wise, but what a beginning! Spring riding becomes so much more fun!

A tip - since you are riding a limited distance and time, you can increase your workout very easily by simply riding a fix gear. Side benefits - cheap, reliable, saves your good bike, less attractive to steal, works much better in winter.

Ben
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Old 05-03-19, 06:17 AM
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Commuting as Training
Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
That is great. For most people that work, any seat time is beneficial
Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
I loved my working days with the 12 mile each way commute. Hill coming home. Doesn't do everything training-wise, but what a beginning! Spring riding becomes so much more fun!
I have posted:
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....

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.

As mentioned above 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-two minute intervals to be about about 70-80 [done on uphills].

I then may revert to my usual RPE of 50 for the remaining 2-3 miles to cool down.
If interested, see this post for a more detailed description:
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Cadence

I’m a 40+ year cyclist and I ride mainly for fitness. My training tool is the Relative Perceived Exertion (RPE) Scale, and I use cadence to chose gears to maintain my desired exertion....
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Old 05-03-19, 07:35 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
I loved my working days with the 12 mile each way commute. Hill coming home. Doesn't do everything training-wise, but what a beginning! Spring riding becomes so much more fun!

A tip - since you are riding a limited distance and time, you can increase your workout very easily by simply riding a fix gear. Side benefits - cheap, reliable, saves your good bike, less attractive to steal, works much better in winter.

Ben
Already there! My FG is an ugly POS, but I ride it so much that I risk losing the muscle memory to ride freewheels. I think I just need to take a less direct path to work and back. (And get up earlier so I have the time to do that.)
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Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
Originally Posted by noglider
People in this forum are not typical.
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Old 05-11-19, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by mojojojo View Post
I commute 8 hilly miles each way on my commute and sometimes get out for a few miles at lunch. I don't train long distances at all. I just went on a bike weekend (BRAG Spring Tune Up if you are from Georgia) and rode 60 miles on Saturday and 40 miles on Sunday. This was the best I have ever felt on this distance. Consistent shorter distances are my new solution for training. I have a triathlon coming up and I think all my training will be commuter training.
This is my situation exactly. Lugging around a 26 liter backpack full of work stuff over steep hills, always windy, plenty of sprinting to keep up with traffic and catch lights, no distance training at all. Last time I got out on the trail for a non-commute ride I was able to do 72 miles without any problems, averaging around 15mph for most of the ride.

My commute varies day to day depending on the route - I find it similar to circuit or sprint training. Next time I get of my lazy ass on a weekend and take the bike out I'll try to break a century with an overall average speed above 13mph.
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