Training well vs mileage accumulation

by thebungle   June 6, 2013  

This year so far I've had a 'good' year on the bike, the purchase of a winter machine and good clothing meant I was able to ride through the nastier months so I've managed to get a nice amount of miles in the legs, 2200 so far Smile

However, I now feel that I'm not really getting anywhere, my average speeds seem to be down from previous (unfitter) years and over the past week I've really noticed my legs have been secretly filled with lead.

I commute 10 miles each way to work on rural roads and at least twice a week take the 30 mile route home, weekend rides are aiming to be above the 60 mile mark.

My goals for the year are to complete 100 miles in 5h30 and also take part in several race events. I'm also hoping to ride 1000 miles in each of Jun/Jul/Aug/Sep.

Should I cut the mileage back and concentrate on interval training which will hopefully increase my speed or A.N.Other?

16 user comments

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Take more breaks. Gains only happen during rest days.
I've done about 1800 but over 100000ft in climbing which has really increased my fitness.
I personally think commuters get really fit through the mileage but seem prone to plateau. Need to take a break from commuting and throw in some different training every now and then.
Think about it as a training plan, where you're always increasing either the volume or intensity whilst allowing for adequate rest. Can be quite hard whilst stuck within the confines of a daily commute.

posted by pmr [175 posts]
6th June 2013 - 9:08

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Totally agree.

My old commute used to be 27 miles ea.way over twisty country roads, I would do this twice a week and was fantastic for training, varied road, well defined 'sprint' sections whereas the 10 miles I have now are effectively featureless, good from a pure commuting point of view but not so much for training.

posted by thebungle [115 posts]
6th June 2013 - 9:25

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Totally agree with mixing it up. I have a similar commute and do a long ride at weekends and last year my 10 mile TT time barely changed through the summer. This spring I did some focussed work on the turbo three nights a week and I'm a full minute quicker. The session involved 3 weeks on a 1 week off during which I'd only commute.

Would love to have done it on the road instead but find it impossible to get a route that allows it and still keeps me focussed.

TheHatter's picture

posted by TheHatter [811 posts]
6th June 2013 - 11:09

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Sounds like you've got good base fitness. I'd suggest taking a proper break (like 10 days) to allow the benefits to 'take'. (I always thought it was just me that found this, but Wiggo talks about it in his book as well)

After that, you could introduce some shorter, more intense rides. Can you vary the commute route?

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3466 posts]
6th June 2013 - 11:37

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notfastenough wrote:
Sounds like you've got good base fitness. I'd suggest taking a proper break (like 10 days) to allow the benefits to 'take'. (I always thought it was just me that found this, but Wiggo talks about it in his book as well)

After that, you could introduce some shorter, more intense rides. Can you vary the commute route?

I can do although I prefer to mix it up on the way home and being up in N.Yorks there are plenty of options for that.

A week off could work but with the good weather and that fact I'm chasing 1000 miles it would seem like an awful waste, I'm sure we all know that feeling of regret when not taking advantage of good weather!

Perhaps a new bike would help? Wink

posted by thebungle [115 posts]
6th June 2013 - 12:40

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Sometimes a complete break really does work wonders. However, if you are chasing that big mileage target I would go really easy on some rides and make sure that you're well rested. I find that a few early nights and a spell on the wagon always perks up my riding. I hope you achieve your goals.

Ah! Condor

posted by Bedfordshire Clanger [326 posts]
6th June 2013 - 16:01

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It's hard to stay off with the great weather!

I've been mixing it up with morning and evening rides during the week -

Warm up and then you want to do say 10-15 miles at a high intensity in the morning and then in the evening do around 20-30 miles at high intensity. Heart rate monitor helps, my target is riding at 165bpm avg.

At the weekends I do social rides with mates and what not and that's more endurance rides low intensity/high mileage. Although were aiming for 10,000ft elevation sunday Tongue

1000 miles per month is around 30 miles a day - so you could hit 30-40 per day, rest on fridays, easy miles on sat and sun.

The missus and I are going on holiday, so an enforced rest for me for a week in july.

I was plateau-ing and read the cyclists training bible, that really helped me. Managed to get about 3mph speed increase since Easter Smile

This is combined with a veggie diet, no alcohol to drop some extra weight. If your a drinker, cut the beer down and you'll drop the weight!

One thing he says on the training guide is having a nap after the morning ride (not exactly practical) but more importantly - rest, rest, rest. Early nights.

posted by Cycle_Jim [282 posts]
6th June 2013 - 20:47

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Agree a break does wonders. I don't cycle regularly (as a runner) using the bike more for interval sessions and cross training, but back in February I had something like a ten day break from running, took the bike out instead on the first day and found I was riding up to 5 mph faster than I normally would do so I'd guess the same thing is applicable to someone solely cycling. Also, back in the day when I was commuting by bike, I only remember one day - which I still remember to this day because of some of the speeds I was reaching and the average over the whole commute - where I was really pleased. Was never repeated again, so yeah the plateau thing rings true.

posted by Ghostie [89 posts]
6th June 2013 - 22:30

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Use the 75% rule and get a Heart Rate monitor. 75% of training should be below 75% HR. 5% should be above 95%. Works for me!

...and 82.4% of Stats are made upon the spot!

posted by veseunr [282 posts]
7th June 2013 - 8:34

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It sounds like you have good base fitness; you now need to get some variety with tempo and interval sessions. But try a course of iron rich foods (or tablets).

You say you want to ride 100 miles in 5h 30m can you ride 50 in 2h 30m? or 25 in 1h 15m? Try riding 4 x 25 mile sets with a decent rest in between and add the times together, this will give you a realistic target to aim for.

posted by SideBurn [873 posts]
7th June 2013 - 9:33

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Rest is good advice. Legs filled with lead and slower average speeds than normal- you definitely need to work on getting the recovery and training load right. It is Ok to get into this state as part of a plan - overreaching, but if you keep going or try putting intensity on top you can end up in a rubbish place for months. You might not need a week off, maybe just back off a bit. It is normal to have every third or fourth week at a lower training load.

I am a very average club rider, and I have done 100 mile TT in a touch less than 4 hours off the back of just doing long rides. You can get a long way on just miles, especially if it is just average speeds that you want to improve, but you have to pay attention to how you structure your days within a week and weeks within a month etc. Intervals can work and longer sweetspot or threshold sessions are a pretty safe bet. Shorter ones are higher risk/reward and are often used in weeks before a race as sharpening up.
Road race are a different story, much more complicated. With all those sprints, surges hills etc. you need a lot more tools, intervals certainly help.
If it is a sportive, then its not a race, but they tend to be hilly so get used to doing some long hills maybe, do plenty of miles.

posted by ilovemytinbred [164 posts]
7th June 2013 - 11:18

1 Like

SideBurn wrote:
It sounds like you have good base fitness; you now need to get some variety with tempo and interval sessions. But try a course of iron rich foods (or tablets).

You say you want to ride 100 miles in 5h 30m can you ride 50 in 2h 30m? or 25 in 1h 15m? Try riding 4 x 25 mile sets with a decent rest in between and add the times together, this will give you a realistic target to aim for.

Just checked my Strava from a recent 92 mile ride and it was 5:02 so actually, I think that's one target pretty much already reached!

posted by thebungle [115 posts]
7th June 2013 - 12:09

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So doing 4x25 should give you a new target?

posted by SideBurn [873 posts]
7th June 2013 - 18:25

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What was the title of the training book you are on about please and does anyone have any other ones ?

Ta

posted by skitza [16 posts]
8th June 2013 - 7:18

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i ride because i enjoy it rather than to get fit. This does cause issues, so far this year 3,700miles. However i got a cold just over a week ago, the week off the bike that was the result has been a godsend in hindsight.

My legs have had a proper rest and come back much stronger.

mrmo's picture

posted by mrmo [1357 posts]
8th June 2013 - 22:31

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The Cyclist's Training Bible by Joe Friel! Little bit dry/stat heavy but good

posted by Cycle_Jim [282 posts]
9th June 2013 - 20:42

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