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-   -   After how many miles a day do we get diminished returns with our fitness? (https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=1232695)

Rdmonster69 06-15-21 07:59 AM


Originally Posted by PeteHski (Post 22102799)
We all have different reasons to ride. For me it's a combination of fun, fitness, challenge and general sense of well-being. But the question was about diminishing returns on fitness. I would say a mid-ride pizza is an effective way of diminishing your return on fitness, but not a bad way to spend your day!

Pizza is a great fitness food. Carbs and protein !! I will just eat a small one with lots of veggies.

PeteHski 06-15-21 08:19 AM


Originally Posted by Rdmonster69 (Post 22102869)
Pizza is a great fitness food. Carbs and protein !! I will just eat a small one with lots of veggies.

Good point. I was envisaging a typical huge NA pizza loaded full of meat and cheese. I do love a proper Italian pizza though.

prj71 06-15-21 08:44 AM


Originally Posted by DreamRider85 (Post 22101710)
What's your opinion? Is it 40? 50? 70? 100? I have done 60 miles recently and 70, but I don't feel like there are many other benefits once you get past 40 or 50. I could be wrong. Maybe it's different for everybody? With cycling, you can't really customize the intensity of your whole ride as easily due to stop signs, different road conditions, hills, downhills, etc... The benefit of cycling is that it's more fun so you do it more. But minute per minute, hour per hour, there are more challenging workouts. Now going up a big hill is really a tough workout, but not all routes are going to be the same.


What you really want to know is what biking volume you should be doing to achieve your performance goals? It is a moving target depending on your goals.

And there is no such thing as junk mileage. :D

livedarklions 06-15-21 10:46 AM


Originally Posted by Iride01 (Post 22102037)
I'd tend to think if you eat more because of that longer ride, then you probably are having to put out too much effort currently to do those longer rides.

Rides I do at very high to max efforts, I tend to eat back all the Calories I expended on the ride. When I ride at low to moderate efforts then I don't gorge myself on food for the next few days after the ride. This seems to be rides of any length for me. Though I've always felt that long rides of any sort let me lose weight. Maybe I just pace myself better on longer rides of 50 to 100 miles.

As for we in your title..... Do you think we all ride for the same reasons? I doubt many of us have the same reasons and desires for what and why we do it. So your bell curve you are trying to figure out might be really skewed.

Don't use we in your next title please. After all we are individuals with our own wants and needs. Being part of a controlled collective is not my desire.


Originally Posted by Iride01 (Post 22102806)
Are you the norm?

I just put out there my anecdotal experiences, views and opinions. So of course YMMV.

Even when people point to factual scientific study, many times what they are writing is their opinion of what the study says and means for the situation they are applying it too.

This is BF, a place to share views and opinions. If I wanted facts and scientific study, well, there are better sites for that.


I've said many times, I'm a genetic freak. I'm definitely not the norm. My point is Norm is a character on Cheers, but there is no such person as :"the norm."

I was commenting on the chain of your comments, and I don't understand what "too much effort" means when you're talking about other people.

I try not to express opinions on other people's hunger, etc., based on my own experiences as I think these factors are too variable to have any idea whether my experience is even remotely related to theirs.

I do know your experience in this regard doesn't match mine, but my eating during ride habits are too weird for me to think they generalize to much of anyone.

Phil_gretz 06-15-21 10:53 AM

The question posed by the OP doesn't concern calories in. He asks about the benefits of fairly high intensity aerobic exercise. This is a throw-away question, because there have been numerous scientific peer-reviewed studies, and countless publications on the topic. The more interesting question concerns how the OP uses bicycle riding as part of an overall fitness regimen tailored to his individual health needs. The rest is simply talk.

DreamRider85 has a particular style of starting discussion threads. If this is a conscious effort to come across a certain way and to stir up chatter, then there's a certain brilliance to it, I think. The staying in character thing especially. If it's not conscious, but simply a reflection of his mental state, then it's a sad thing. Either way, write whatever you will in response.

He simply get's my :love:for each attempt.

BikingViking793 06-15-21 12:24 PM


Originally Posted by DreamRider85 (Post 22101710)
What's your opinion? Is it 40? 50? 70? 100? I have done 60 miles recently and 70, but I don't feel like there are many other benefits once you get past 40 or 50. I could be wrong. Maybe it's different for everybody? With cycling, you can't really customize the intensity of your whole ride as easily due to stop signs, different road conditions, hills, downhills, etc... The benefit of cycling is that it's more fun so you do it more. But minute per minute, hour per hour, there are more challenging workouts. Now going up a big hill is really a tough workout, but not all routes are going to be the same.

great question. I donít have an answer, but am enjoying reading the responses. I would think from a training perspective there should be diminished returns at some point. But from a happiness perspective the more riding the better.

unterhausen 06-15-21 02:21 PM

My previous answer was true for me, and since I ride longer distances I have to worry about how it affects me. I'm not going to go out and do a 300 or 400km ride for training, doesn't make sense to me. 20-35 miles is plenty for most of us. If a ride is much longer than that, quality is going to suffer. Before my first 1200km ride, I mostly did 20 mile training rides during the last 2 months and concentrated on getting faster. That was after a base of plenty of longer rides. There is something to be said for keeping fresh, and after you get a base, you aren't going to stay fresh by slogging through long rides.


Originally Posted by livedarklions (Post 22102775)
I can't even imagine riding a 400 km day, although I've come pretty close to 300 (270 km). I'm sure there are factors like body size, age, etc. that are beyond our control that would have an effect on our maximum potential.

I like to say anyone can ride 400km. However, on a less than stellar ride, I have taken almost the full randonneuring time limit, which is 27 hours. One such ride, I one-legged it for the final 20 miles because my knee hurt. Not recommended, but I'm not going to quit with that small of a distance remaining.

livedarklions 06-15-21 02:33 PM


Originally Posted by unterhausen (Post 22103453)
My previous answer was true for me, and since I ride longer distances I have to worry about how it affects me. I'm not going to go out and do a 300 or 400km ride for training, doesn't make sense to me. 20-35 miles is plenty for most of us. If a ride is much longer than that, quality is going to suffer. Before my first 1200km ride, I mostly did 20 mile training rides during the last 2 months and concentrated on getting faster. That was after a base of plenty of longer rides. There is something to be said for keeping fresh, and after you get a base, you aren't going to stay fresh by slogging through long rides.

I like to say anyone can ride 400km. However, on a less than stellar ride, I have taken almost the full randonneuring time limit, which is 27 hours. One such ride, I one-legged it for the final 20 miles because my knee hurt. Not recommended, but I'm not going to quit with that small of a distance remaining.


This is one of those things I find fascinating--lately things seem to work in reverse of that from me. My 25 mile rides didn't actually get faster until I started doing some fair amount of rides of about 100 miles. I have no idea why it works that way. I'm recovering from a lung injury from last fall, and maybe the compensation for the injury moves faster when I really push the distance.



Did your knee recover quickly?

terrymorse 06-15-21 04:22 PM


Originally Posted by UCantTouchThis (Post 22103506)

Ride Around the Bear, 100 miles with supposedly 10,000 ft. They changed the gain claims after Garmins became more popular. I think now they say it was 9800 ?

https://cimg1.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...cfd74cb496.jpg

Breathless Agony, 114 miles 12,000 ft of gain.


https://cimg8.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...0187c4abdb.jpg

Great rides, thanks for the profiles.

Maybe next year they'll be up and running again.

Another of my favorite 10,000+ foot rides is the Grizzly Century, out of North Fork, CA.

And according to the Fresno Cycling site, it's going to be operated this year, on October 2nd. Hope the fires stay away this year.

The Griz route.

Troul 06-15-21 04:46 PM

if i don't do equal or longer length rides prior to a set ride distance, I lag & may huff a little on the climbs.
Doesnt matter (within reason) how long those pre-long rides take, just so long as I go the distance. I can do a slew of smaller rides, & it will not set me up for success to the longer one ride I am after. The body just makes life difficult.

Aroyobob 06-15-21 10:30 PM


Originally Posted by Phil_gretz (Post 22103171)
The question posed by the OP doesn't concern calories in. He asks about the benefits of fairly high intensity aerobic exercise. This is a throw-away question, because there have been numerous scientific peer-reviewed studies, and countless publications on the topic. The more interesting question concerns how the OP uses bicycle riding as part of an overall fitness regimen tailored to his individual health needs. The rest is simply talk.

DreamRider85 has a particular style of starting discussion threads. If this is a conscious effort to come across a certain way and to stir up chatter, then there's a certain brilliance to it, I think. The staying in character thing especially. If it's not conscious, but simply a reflection of his mental state, then it's a sad thing. Either way, write whatever you will in response.

He simply get's my :love:for each attempt.

He/They do seem to have a talent.

https://cimg7.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...8d72646830.jpg

jackb 06-19-21 10:18 AM

Riding longer distances, say 50 or 60 miles, gets you in shape for riding those distances. I'll bet that there is little difference in overall physical fitness between a person riding 30 miles regularly and a person riding 60. When I hike or ski or ride with others we all appear to be in that category called "fit," yet we do all kinds of different activities for pleasure and exrcise and at different levels of intensity.

PeteHski 06-19-21 12:34 PM


Originally Posted by jackb (Post 22108838)
I'll bet that there is little difference in overall physical fitness between a person riding 30 miles regularly and a person riding 60.

Depends how you define overall fitness. I would have thought, all other things being equal, the person riding 60 miles will have more endurance fitness than the one only riding 30 miles (which you kind of implied in your first sentence). There is probably some diminishing return, but my training plan for endurance rides of around 100 miles certainly includes training rides much longer than 30 miles. Obviously non of this matters if you don't need that extra endurance fitness.

shelbyfv 06-19-21 02:51 PM


Originally Posted by Aroyobob (Post 22104091)

Every time I see one of these compilations of OP's threads I'm reminded how impressive it is that he has continued to contemplate cycling when confronted by so many obstacles!

fredlord 06-19-21 04:06 PM

Last year I was doing 120 - 200 fairly cruisy kilometres every weekend and very little in-between.

This year I'm making myself do 30 hard kilometres five days a week.

I feel much happier (like, ridiculously happier) and much more powerful and fit this year. A host of bodily niggles seems to have vanished, my weight has dropped, and I can't stop palpating my legs and arse and marvelling at how muscly they feel! My lungs feel 1.5 times their normal size. When not riding, I feel like I have an enormous store of energy to draw from.

ymmv :)

Phil_gretz 06-21-21 10:34 AM


Originally Posted by shelbyfv (Post 22109110)
Every time I see one of these compilations of OP's threads I'm reminded how impressive it is that he has continued to contemplate cycling when confronted by so many obstacles!

It's obvious that the thread titles are contrived, and brilliantly so. I imagine that he spends hours contemplating just the right phrasing. This is superior work, and should be recognized as such. I wonder if there are international awards for this sort of ... thing.

CliffordK 06-21-21 10:59 AM

If you are planning on riding in a 4,200 mile bike race over about 16 1/2 days...
Or you are planning on riding in a grand tour with 21 days, and stages from around 100 to 150 miles at an average speed of just under 25 MPH.

Then you should be fine training riding around a park 20 miles once a week. There is no possible way to improve your fitness and preparedness.

CliffordK 06-21-21 12:24 PM

As far as how much training you really need, part of it will be goal oriented. What are you planing? Recreation? Professional rider?

I personally am a bike commuter, plus some recreation. I find cycling is very good for my knees. I've gotten away from cycling a bit, but getting back into it now. So, it has been over a year since the last "century" ride.

One year I had a goal of averaging about 20 miles a day, or a little over 7,000 miles for the year. Whew!!! And those numbers were chosen because I was getting a lot of commuting miles (riding between half and 2/3 of the days, so each ride tended to be substantially more than 20 miles).

Somebody above suggested riding 100 miles to train to ride 100 miles. But, I find that if you ride 150+ miles in a day, then that 100 mile ride gets much easier. But, if you aren't racing, you don't have to do that every day.

Nonetheless, for those occasional longer rides, there are fitness benefits from doing those 150+ mile rides.

roadie77 06-23-21 11:20 AM


Originally Posted by DreamRider85 (Post 22101710)
After how many miles a day do we get diminished returns with our fitness?

I think that an answer to this question framed in miles is probably not going to be the best way to go. Kilojoules of energy per kilograms of weight per week would probably be the most detailed way but it would be hard to come up with an actionable plan based on this metric. Hours per week is a pretty good compromise. My gut feeling is most people would get increasing returns on 20 minute power from moderate zone 2 sessions on 5-7 hours a week of training. Diminishing returns from 7-16 hrs per week. Almost nonexistent returns over 16 hrs. Just to clarify, once you've attained whatever fitness level you're going to attain based on 5-7 hours a week of zone 2 you will have to increase either volume, intensity, or both to continue improving.

asgelle 06-23-21 11:24 AM


Originally Posted by roadie77 (Post 22114288)
My gut feeling is most people would get increasing returns on 20 minute power from moderate zone 2 sessions on 5-7 hours a week of training. Diminishing returns from 7-16 hrs per week. Almost nonexistent returns over 16 hrs.

So you don't believe in progressive overload?

PeteHski 06-23-21 11:35 AM


Originally Posted by roadie77 (Post 22114288)
I think that an answer to this question framed in miles is probably not going to be the best way to go. Kilojoules of energy per kilograms of weight per week would probably be the most detailed way but it would be hard to come up with an actionable plan based on this metric. Hours per week is a pretty good compromise. My gut feeling is most people would get increasing returns on 20 minute power from moderate zone 2 sessions on 5-7 hours a week of training. Diminishing returns from 7-16 hrs per week. Almost nonexistent returns over 16 hrs.

The real limit is how much training volume you can actually tolerate, even if you have the spare time. Most average people start to struggle with more than about 12-14 hours per week of mixed intensity riding, but it varies a lot individually. It's very easy to over-train and then hit a plateau or even start losing fitness. Structured plans at the way to manage both volume and intensity and are usually goal oriented.

roadie77 06-25-21 11:10 AM


Originally Posted by asgelle (Post 22114293)
So you don't believe in progressive overload?

I absolutely believe in progressive overload. What is it about my comment which apparently led you to believe otherwise?

asgelle 06-25-21 11:17 AM


Originally Posted by roadie77 (Post 22117322)
I absolutely believe in progressive overload. What is it about my comment which apparently led you to believe otherwise?

That you give benefits for weekly durations without concern for how long someone may have been training at that volume. At some point, if the rider who used to improve at 6, 10, or 16 hours per week doesn't increase the duration, she will stagnate and may even regress; hence, progressive overload.

roadie77 06-25-21 11:18 AM


Originally Posted by PeteHski (Post 22114310)
The real limit is how much training volume you can actually tolerate, even if you have the spare time. Most average people start to struggle with more than about 12-14 hours per week of mixed intensity riding, but it varies a lot individually. It's very easy to over-train and then hit a plateau or even start losing fitness. Structured plans at the way to manage both volume and intensity and are usually goal oriented.

Agreed, provided the conversation is about any kind of fitness returns at all on the investment of training hours as opposed to increasing returns on that investment which typically only occur when starting from an untrained state. The OP seemed only to be interested in the latter.

roadie77 06-25-21 11:32 AM


Originally Posted by asgelle (Post 22117333)
That you give benefits for weekly durations without concern for how long someone may have been training at that volume. At some point, if the rider who used to improve at 6, 10, or 16 hours per week doesn't increase the duration, she will stagnate and may even regress; hence, progressive overload.

Agreed. The OP seemed to me to be someone who wasn't putting in a lot of volume and was looking to increase volume but only up to the point where he would get increasing returns on fitness, and wasn't interested in a prescription beyond that point. My comment was only directed at that situation and shouldn't be seen as entailing anything about my beliefs on progressive overload in general.

livedarklions 06-25-21 11:40 AM


Originally Posted by CliffordK (Post 22111515)

Somebody above suggested riding 100 miles to train to ride 100 miles. But, I find that if you ride 150+ miles in a day, then that 100 mile ride gets much easier. But, if you aren't racing, you don't have to do that every day.

Nonetheless, for those occasional longer rides, there are fitness benefits from doing those 150+ mile rides.


I think I was that "somebody", but I was misinterpreted. The question was whether someone should prepare for a 100 mile ride by riding several 50 mile rides, and my response was actually that I thought it was better to increase the distance in steps from 50 up to 100 because the "best way to prepare to ride 100 miles is to ride 100 miles". All I meant by that was the building up of mileage was going to get to the point where one could do 100 mile ride comfortably faster than doing a bunch of shorter ones that never got longer.

I was doing weekly 150 mile rides two summers ago, but didn't last year because I want a long indoor break in the middle of a ride that long, and there was nowhere to stop for one during COVID protocols. I did weekly 100 mile rides last year because that was about as long as I could enjoy without a break. I've been doing weekly 100 mile rides this year, but last Saturday, I actually rode over 125 miles for the first time in almost 2 years. There's no question in my mind that for me, nothing burns fat on me faster than a very long ride.

I absolutely agree with you that if you do 100+ mile rides, 100 mile rides get easier. I also like riding my bike to places I like to visit, so the longer the ride, the more places I can go.

rsbob 06-25-21 10:12 PM

In my 30s and really started getting into cycling, I would ride 7 days a week, pushing my speeds and distances. I wanted to improve so badly I pushed and pushed myself and constantly felt tired and was constantly getting sick. I did this for about a year until I got so sick I had to get off the bike for 3 weeks. After that rest, I felt great and thought there must be something to taking a day off regularly and alternating light and heavy days - this is all pre-internet, so no quick answers or forums back then. Experiential learning.

alloo 06-26-21 05:07 AM

What about if you're not training for an athletic event? What is the distance for diminishing returns for us mortals and not olympians? What about for commuters? Is they're a time or distance that it doesn't make sense to bicycle?

wolfchild 06-26-21 06:33 AM


Originally Posted by alloo (Post 22118250)
What about if you're not training for an athletic event? What is the distance for diminishing returns for us mortals and not olympians? What about for commuters? Is they're a time or distance that it doesn't make sense to bicycle?

It makes no difference if you're an elite level athlete or a commuter cyclist or just an average guy riding for fun and fitness. The rule of diminishing returns applies to everybody. The rule of diminishing returns is the same for everybody. That's just how human body works.


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