My theory is that I need to be able to go fast if I am to go further. So I am mixing up my distances and occasionally going a few kilometers further. The aim is to do the London 100 next summer, or some other sportive. The furthest I have gone so far is 89km and I am wrecked but go just 70 and I am bashing it out. So I want to be able to compare mathematically my performances. I've got 45 times from the summer on a chart already.

So is it better to do 50km at 30kph or 100km at 20kph? Both are good training; and further and faster is the aim but if I did 60km at 28kph next week would that be better or worse? At the moment I have a spreadsheet plotting (Square root of distance)*speed against distance. I am calling this an audax number, just in my mind. And it does produce a nice wee graph that curves up and to the right but it still favors larger distances so that a swift 50kph 10km wouldn't show very well.

Does anyone else know a better way of comparing data or a better equation?

Sorry, maths, I know.


Raleigh [1667 posts] 5 years ago

I'd do shorter, faster rides.

Say an hour and a half at 32kmh.

Take it longer, but for every half hour, take perhaps 1/2 a kmh off.

Dodgy to work with average speed though, what with stopping at traffic lights etc.

Power would be best, because you'd know exactly how many watts you could sustain for say 100km, but you may not have/want/be able to afford one.

Heart rate in my opinion is a little dodgy as well.

Why not cover up your computer screen with something and see how far/fast you go in two/three hours. May surprise you. I sometimes to it by turning my garmin under my stem, but with beeps every 5km. Interesting to say the least when I upload the data.

giff77 [1306 posts] 5 years ago

Yeah, concentrate on the shorter rides. Like Raleigh says out for up to an hour and a half. I use a 20mile loop on way home from work. Once i pass the last traffic light the garmin goes on and gets switched off as I enter town. Before I got the garmin I used to do a time check and then do the math  1 maybe look at you cadance rather than speed? Try to keep a set cadance rather than mashing out a set speed.

charlierevell [38 posts] 5 years ago

Shorter ride with intense bursts would appear to be the call of the day.
Maximal efforts of interval training over an hour seem to be better on all levels than long steady riding! (Hence I've just ordered a power compatible Elite Qubo and the Sufferfest Films! )

Jasonnz1 [23 posts] 5 years ago

Depends on the time you have available to train.
Intervals are time efficient.. but also demanding on your energy system and you need to recover from sessions of them before you go again.
There was a study done that looked at elite endurance athletes that actually showed they spent 80% of the volume of their training in zones 1-2 and 20% of their volume in zones 3-5.
One of the mistakes people make is they don't train hard enough when it's a hard session and don't train easy enough when it is an easier session (to much time in the middle getting no where, which is the classic amateur mistake).

Speed is also a neural function more than a metabolic function, ie how much you can recruit Vs how long you can sustain and buffer.
It sounds like you need to be able to work at a higher threshold for longer.
A block of interval training will work in the short term, but you need to be able to work out where your threshold is and work just below this, and for the right amount of time, reps and sets, unfortunately this is where the benefit of using wattage comes in to make it much more easier (saving for a Power meter myself, but have access to a Watt bike which is a great piece of equipment if you can talk your gym in to getting one)

I also agree there is too much variability with Heart rates and forget using this for intervals to judge how hard you are going. (it can be used to signal the next interval rep though once your HR drops to a certain level, but this is another story)

Try using something called the Borg scale (10 point is normally easier for people to use) to train with it is a rating of perceived exertion, and is shown to be reasonably accurate.
Stick around the 5-7 range for your intervals.
An interval session carried out correctly will be very exhausting and normally takes around 48hours to recover from depending on how you recover, genetics, sleep, work, nutrition and supplementation.

Typical interval lengths can be anywhere from 1min up to 25min depending on what you are trying to achieve.

The variations are endless but as a general rule I use ....

zone 3 - 50-90min total work time per session - an example could be 2 x 25min rides with a 2 minute recovery between each Borg scale 5

zone 4 - 30-60min total work time - an example could be 10 x 6min intervals with 3min rest between each interval , borg scale 7

the key is quality of the reps, but like I said variations are endless, and the above are just examples not set in stone.

personally I don't think you need to work in the zone 5 levels to later on in the training year, as this is very exhausting (borg scale 8 and above).


Simon E [3296 posts] 5 years ago

Don't overcomplicate it. You don't need to go fast to go further, just ask those who do 300/600 km audax rides.

Mix shorter, more intense rides with longer, steady outings. For the longer ones choose a reasonable day when you feel good and do a steady/middling paced ride on flattish terrain. If you feel up to it, add in two or three 20 minute 'intervals' where you push a bit harder, then ease back for a while.

Make sure you fuel adequately (but not excessively) during longer rides. Start with little or nothing in your stomach (why? read this) and nibble on food - banana, flapjack, fruit bar, raisins etc - now and then.

HR will be a distraction. The only way to compare rides is to use a known route each time or get a powermeter. But you won't need it if you get out regularly as come next spring you will know if you're fitter/stronger/can go further. What you will need is motivation on the days when you are perfectly able but have half a dozen reasons why you shouldn't do it.

Raleigh [1667 posts] 5 years ago

Yep, agree with the motivation stuff.

> Put all your kit out ready for the next morning, fill up bottles and put them in cage, affix lights/computer etc. Put bike by door with Helmet, jacket and shoes.

> Make your breakfast the night before, like mix some Ready Brek (If you're not eating Ready Brek, you're not a real cyclist) mixed in the microwave.

> Get an early night and wake up at 5 to beat traffic.

> Meet up with a buddy/group a couple of times a week to ensure that you have a reason to go out.

> Remember - Races (or fast/furhter stuff) are won in the winter. No two ways about it.

> Enjoy. There's not much better than cycling with the sun coming up behind you on a crisp autumn morning, being done by 8 and having the rest of the day to do whatever people in the real world do. I should imagine they're thinking "I'm so fat/I should do more exercise."


Organon [36 posts] 5 years ago

Thanks for the advice, I am already mixing up my distances, what I want to do is compare those different performances. I have been working on this tonight and have come up with this: score=(distance^0.25)*(speed^1.6) "^"is raised to the power. Don't ask me why those particular numbers work but they seem to have the right leveling effect.

I am calling this my audax score, sorry if I am misusing your word. If you go 10km at 46kph the score is 814 but if you go 100km at 32kph the score is a similar 810.

I said I would do the London 100 (miles) in 5h20m on the sign up; this is a score of 830. My best real scores are 40.8km/35.46kph/763 and 83.50km/30.31kph/710, so I need to go further and push harder if I am going to hit my target next year.

Now I have revealed my spreadsheet fetish.
cheers, GM

carytb [131 posts] 5 years ago

I would have thought that the type of terrain and the weather conditions on different rides would play a significant role in your score. ie if you went on a particularly hilly ride then for a given time your distance would be down and so would your average speed.

Organon [36 posts] 5 years ago

Yes I am much slower over the hills. I have put together this graph with all my rides since March, 2558kms timed. The blue circle is three recent hill climbing expeditions. The line is 30kph, logarithmic style using my new patented equation. The pink triangle is my three target sportives for next summer. Basically I need to be moving to the top and right. Still haven't gone over 100km but a new season of Metric Centuries is coming soon. Now I can at least see how far away I am!

Oh yeah and you can always stop your watch at traffic lights (you have to speed up again anyway and slower than a green, so fair.)