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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Newbie Workouts?

Old 03-26-12, 07:39 AM
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carlosdiaz
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Newbie Workouts?

Hello Everyone,

I just purchased my first real bike this past week (Marin Muirwoods) and would love some recommendations as to a suitable workout for someone who is just starting.

Yesterday I went out biking along a trail and did a total of 10 miles. I feel ok. Not sore. I am wondering what the typical distance is other people may go in a regular ride. Is 10 miles too little? Too much?

Would love to hear everyone's thoughts.

Thanks!
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Old 03-26-12, 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by carlosdiaz View Post
suitable workout for someone who is just starting.
Go ride your bike. You don't need "workouts" yet, just time on the bike.

If you're not sore after that first ride, it's ok to do a longer one. I would not add more than about 30 minutes per ride at first.

It's more useful to track your rides by time than by miles. 10 miles that's up a climb takes a lot longer than 10 miles on flat ground.

My regular rides range from 1-1.5 hours for a recovery ride to 5+ for an endurance or big climbing ride.
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Old 03-26-12, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
Go ride your bike. You don't need "workouts" yet, just time on the bike.

If you're not sore after that first ride, it's ok to do a longer one. I would not add more than about 30 minutes per ride at first.

It's more useful to track your rides by time than by miles. 10 miles that's up a climb takes a lot longer than 10 miles on flat ground.

My regular rides range from 1-1.5 hours for a recovery ride to 5+ for an endurance or big climbing ride.
Thanks.

I figured distance wouldn't be a great gauge since there are moments on my ride where I have to push up a hill or coast down a hill.

When you say 5+ did you mean... hours? I'm not sure that I am anywhere near that but I will certainly aim for more and more time.

I think my biggest issue right now is figuring out where I belong in my gears. I've gotten more comfortable with shifting but I'm still working on it.
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Old 03-26-12, 07:51 AM
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First off welcome to the sport and to bikeforums.net.

Like Eric said, don't worry about workouts yet. Just get used to riding and put time on the saddle. Once you get some time in you will start learning what you need / want to work on. For the time being just concentrate on getting to where you can spend a couple of hours riding without any discomfort.

As for a typical normal ride, I really don't like to go out for less than 30 miles. My typical evening ride is in the 30 -40 mile range with an occasion 25 or 50 mile ride thrown in. My weekend rides are usually in the 50 - 60 mile range with longer rides thrown in from time to time.
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Old 03-26-12, 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by carlosdiaz View Post

When you say 5+ did you mean... hours? I'm not sure that I am anywhere near that but I will certainly aim for more and more time.
Yep. But I like long races/rides with lots of climbing. Most people don't need to do 5 hour rides with 10,000' of climbing for training. It took me a few years to get to that point. If your goal is racing crits or to finish a metric century then you don't need to do rides longer than 3 hours. If your goal is to finish a full century then having done some 4 hour rides would be good.
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Old 03-26-12, 08:19 AM
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If you're not sore, you didn't ride enough.
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Old 03-26-12, 08:23 AM
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base miles is the best newbie workout.
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Old 03-26-12, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by LowCel View Post
First off welcome to the sport and to bikeforums.net.

Like Eric said, don't worry about workouts yet. Just get used to riding and put time on the saddle. Once you get some time in you will start learning what you need / want to work on. For the time being just concentrate on getting to where you can spend a couple of hours riding without any discomfort.

As for a typical normal ride, I really don't like to go out for less than 30 miles. My typical evening ride is in the 30 -40 mile range with an occasion 25 or 50 mile ride thrown in. My weekend rides are usually in the 50 - 60 mile range with longer rides thrown in from time to time.
+1. But I remember when I first got into riding, 10 miles out and a nice coffee break at a local hangout, 10 miles back working hard. It was a good routine and kept it fun. When you get back feeling like you didn't get much of a workout then shoot for climbs and duration.
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Old 03-26-12, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by FrenchFit View Post
+1. But I remember when I first got into riding, 10 miles out and a nice coffee break at a local hangout, 10 miles back working hard. It was a good routine and kept it fun. When you get back feeling like you didn't get much of a workout then shoot for climbs and duration.
I guess my goal isn't so much distance but weight loss. The reason I got my bike was to shed some pounds. I am just wondering how many calories I might be burning in a given workout. I have an app on my phone that claims I burned about 1,100 calories in a two hour ride at about 10-12 mph. Does that sound reasonable?
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Old 03-26-12, 08:59 AM
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^ On flat ground, looks like too much.
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Old 03-26-12, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by carlosdiaz View Post
I guess my goal isn't so much distance but weight loss. The reason I got my bike was to shed some pounds. I am just wondering how many calories I might be burning in a given workout. I have an app on my phone that claims I burned about 1,100 calories in a two hour ride at about 10-12 mph. Does that sound reasonable?
A tip I've learned and used is that eating healthy is the key to weight loss and exercise is the key to fitness and don't confuse the two.
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Old 03-26-12, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Reynolds View Post
^ On flat ground, looks like too much.
Yeah... I figured that was overestimating.

Anyone know of a mildly reliable calculator for calories burned in a cycling workout?
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Old 03-26-12, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by jmccain View Post
A tip I've learned and used is that eating healthy is the key to weight loss and exercise is the key to fitness and don't confuse the two.
Understood! I hadn't thought about it like that.
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Old 03-26-12, 09:16 AM
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Congrats on the bike.

For now, just ride more. Don't worry about any structured workouts.

When I first go into road cycling, I would do 10 mile rides and be worn out. I thought it was impressive to do 10 miles. Now, I consider 25 miles a short, after work ride.
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Old 03-26-12, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by jmccain View Post
A tip I've learned and used is that eating healthy is the key to weight loss and exercise is the key to fitness and don't confuse the two.
Yes. There is no magic exercise for losing weight. You may actually gain a bit as muscle initially. Eat less. Eat better.
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Old 03-26-12, 06:29 PM
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A lot depends on how old you are and your general athletic condition.

The older you are, or the poorer your athletic condition, the more you need to "work up" to a longer ride. The worst thing you can do is hit it hard right away, and end up with knee or ankle injury that will slow you down.

Next time, ride for ~1-1/2 times as long. So if your 10-mile ride took 40 minutes, next time ride 60 minutes. Do that a couple times. Then extend to 90 minutes, do that a few times, etc. After 5 or 10 rides you'll understand your limits better and can plan accordingly.

I'd stay to the flats for a while, until you get comfortable with your limits.

Make sense?

Tired or sore muscles are one thing, but if you notice some knee or ankle pain, be careful... back off a bit and/or consider slight adjustments to your riding position (seat, bars, etc). Don't be shy about getting some bike fit help from the local bike shop.

Many of the folks on this board are VERY serious and VERY experienced cyclists who have been riding for years. Comparing their workout to yours is kind of like asking Tiger Woods about his golf practice...
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Old 03-26-12, 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by carlosdiaz View Post
I guess my goal isn't so much distance but weight loss. The reason I got my bike was to shed some pounds. I am just wondering how many calories I might be burning in a given workout. I have an app on my phone that claims I burned about 1,100 calories in a two hour ride at about 10-12 mph. Does that sound reasonable?
It depends on your weight and other variables, but most calculators will probably tell you it's more than 1400 for two hours @ 12-15mph. Spin class is typically advertised at avg. 1000 calories per hour, but you are doing intervals there. But..it's not as much burned as it may sound. To lose a pound they say you need to burn something like 3500 over your daily maintenance, ..that's alot. That's why lowering intake is essential.

Last edited by FrenchFit; 03-26-12 at 07:35 PM.
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Old 03-26-12, 08:31 PM
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Originally Posted by FrenchFit View Post
It depends on your weight and other variables, but most calculators will probably tell you it's more than 1400 for two hours @ 12-15mph. Spin class is typically advertised at avg. 1000 calories per hour, but you are doing intervals there. But..it's not as much burned as it may sound. To lose a pound they say you need to burn something like 3500 over your daily maintenance, ..that's alot. That's why lowering intake is essential.
Just exercise won't be enough - plan each day for a calorie deficit, using your riding to provide part of the deficit and trimming meals a bit as the other part. However, be careful lest you go the other direction - riding making you hungry so you eat more. I find protein right after the ride helps kill my appetite.
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Old 03-26-12, 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by carlosdiaz View Post
I guess my goal isn't so much distance but weight loss. The reason I got my bike was to shed some pounds. I am just wondering how many calories I might be burning in a given workout. I have an app on my phone that claims I burned about 1,100 calories in a two hour ride at about 10-12 mph. Does that sound reasonable?
At my weight (190 this afternoon) and age (40), according to the LoseIt! app on my phone, two hours at 10-11 mph is 888 calories.

But as everyone else is saying, real weight loss comes from eating right, not just exercising. You can bike so often and so hard that you get fast and strong, but unless you eat better, you won't get much lighter.

Been there, done that, never wanted the T-shirt.
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Old 03-26-12, 09:47 PM
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Riding worked pretty well for me to lose weight. I lost 35 lbs and got much fitter at the same time. Of course eating better (and less if it's appropriate) will help too.
I don't like counting calories- if you eat real food that you make yourself, rather than packaged prepared food, it get very tedious to count calories. Real food is healthier and tastes better. When I want to lose weight I just cut back on food, making sure that I eat enough at the right time to support my riding. One other benefit of doing it this way is that you don't need to accurately count the calories burned while riding.
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