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A question for all you fitness gurus . . .(26 posts)

A question for all you fitness gurus . . .LAIrish
Sep 25, 2001 8:21 AM
I'm a 49 yr old, SWM, 5'11", 209lbs (though that's coming down). I like sunsets, walks on the beach . . Oops, wrong website.

Seriously, I've been riding occasionally about a year, but with my 50th Bday coming up, I've realized that my choices are get back into decent shape or die. Riding is a big part of my comeback plan. I'm planning on riding the Solvang prelude (100k) on Nov. 3 as part of my motivational plan. The thing is, I live at the beach, so just about everywhere around here is flat. Solvang is rolling hills (and, having ridden the 1/2 Century there last spring, I know what a difference that makes) and the 100k is rated "difficult," in part (I am told) because it has some reasonably steep climbs.

So, I've put together a "training progam" of a nearby hill on days 1&3 (strength) and doing 30-40 mile flat rides (70-75% Max Heart Rate) on days 2&4 (endurance), with day 5 off. I understand that, when you get over 80% or 85% of MHR, you're working into muscle and need a recovery day for the muscle to rebuild. My question is: Am I giving the muscles the chance to recover by staying below 75% MHR on the endurance days or am I continung a lactic acid build-up which will tear down the muscles. (I suppose my other option is to go to a hill-day, off-day, long ride-day, off-day, rotation.)

Or am I just all screwed up and have no idea what I'm talking about.
No, you are going to die anyway , getting in shape justMB1
Sep 25, 2001 8:29 AM
makes the intervening years much more enjoyable. Several examples of that here in this forum.

My basic plan has always been to ride as I feel, I am not comfortable with plans. So my training suggestions are #1-listen to your body, if it is hurting or tired ease up, if you feel good push it. #2-ride with other folks you will get better faster. #3-enjoy every ride as if it will be your last.
Short, sweet, & to the point. Follow MB1's advice! (nm)RhodyRider
Sep 25, 2001 8:37 AM
Thanks I thought I sounded a little confused. Just ride baby! nmMB1
Sep 25, 2001 9:04 AM
Recovery day, or day off?Kristin
Sep 25, 2001 9:18 AM
Question about recovery days. Is it better for new riders -- those not aerobically conditioned and with weak muscles -- to try to do a recovery ride? Or should they take the day off?

I used to do this:
Day1: Hard ride (42+ miles)
Day2: Light ride (20 miles)
Day3: Club ride (28 miles - hard)

A couple riders suggested that I skip those recovery days all together. I gave it a whirl and began riding just 4 days/week. I felt better and stronger on the days I did ride. Because so much has changed physically summer, I can't truly determine what impact this had on me. One positive effect: Feeling stronger fueled my motivation.

Opinions?
Ride every day, unless you really don't feel like it.MB1
Sep 25, 2001 9:33 AM
I find it helps with recovery to get the blood flowing through the same muscle groups you have abused. Even a really short recovery ride is good, as soon as you start to feel loose you have done enough.

Also, after a hard ride don't just stop for the rest of the day. Go for a walk or something after a bit of rest. This will help keep your whole body from tightening up.

Finally self massage, better yet have someone give you a massage. Great for recovery.
truly recovery ride?Dog
Sep 25, 2001 10:26 AM
If you are like many, your "recovery" rides may have been too hard. The way I limit my effort on a recovery ride is to breathe through my nose. If I can't, I'm going too hard. An HRM with a high limit alarm, set really low, works, too.

Doug
absolutely rightscottfree
Sep 25, 2001 11:23 AM
A true recovery ride, one coach said, means 'absolutely no pressure on the pedals.' None of us can manage that. That's why -- especially since I'm an old codger now, and really in touch with the need for such things -- I believe recovery is best accomplished OFF the bike.
I commute and have a big selection of routes available.MB1
Sep 25, 2001 11:38 AM
The shortest is 3 miles all downhill after the first 1/2 mile. An easy route that just works the kinks out and when I cruise it is just my legs spinning (fixed gear all the way). I can't imagine how long it would take to recover without riding some. I feel so much better after I have ridden for a few minutes. But then I have been riding hard since '69, newer riders are still learning what works for them.

My key for quicker recovery is mid-afternoon naps. Oh well, can't have everything.
yep, yep, and yep. more good advice from mb1. let me add...Spiritual Haiku
Sep 26, 2001 9:59 AM
considering myself also a "flatlander" (feels like a four-letter word, no?), i'll ride hard as i feel i can to the base of inclines 'round here, then sprint hard as i can, then absolutely suffer on the climbs. this is a normal ride. on "recovery" rides, i'll spin the whole thing. but again, it's preferable to me to really blow my cardio and legs out before the start of a little climb (1/2-3/4 mile) and suffer the climb.

seemed to work, as i had no evident problems with long rides in birmingham and chattanooga this year, and those are some HILLS.

and, i've never used a HRM. just ride strong as i feel, or not at all if i feel it's time for a day off. don't put TOO much though into it. you're complicating one of the simplest things in my life!

ps: on mississippi roads this weekend, in the last quarter of 100 miles in midday sun, those roads--flat with a *BARE* tilt and some wind tousling the hair under my helmet--were almost as fun as 2200-foot climbs in chattanooga. to see the road, straight for miles, disappear into a heat mirage and riders strewn across the route, one every half mile or more, as far as your eyes can look--it's pretty disconcerting. made me glad i'm already nuts.
JUST RIDE MAN!!!!Red Barn
Sep 25, 2001 8:53 AM
you're thinking WAY too much. Just ride. After you get in better shape then start worrying about theory.
re: how do you ride hill?cyclopathic
Sep 25, 2001 8:53 AM
if you do 1-3min sprints up hill with full recovery (x2-x3)you shouldn't have much acid left in muscles.

spinning easy gear for 15min on off day helps too
I have a route . . .LAIrish
Sep 25, 2001 6:38 PM
around the shoulder of the hill so that I start with a pretty good grade, downhill run, a long shallow grade (about 1 1/2 mile of 7-8% grade), drop down, a short steep climb, down, a long medium grade, down, then I a long climb that gets pretty steep. Today, I was at about 90% of my MHR for the last 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. On all but the shallow grade, I get above 80% MHR. (I ride a couple of them in a slightly higher gear than I need, to emphasize strength.

I know my legs are tired after this. I can feel it later that day when I'm carrying the groceries up the stairs.
wellcyclopathic
Sep 26, 2001 8:23 AM
you should work either on strength or threshold.

for strength ride at low cadence 50-60RPM lower HR and for threshold training higher HR @ ~90RPM.

MaxHR formula (220-age) is not reliable, esp for your age group. You may be off by more then 20bpm. LTHR is much more reliable way to determine load. when you hit LT you would have a difficulty to say the phrase without stopping catching breath.

intervals @ and above LTHR are the good way to increase your VO2max cappacity, just make sure you have enough recovery in between (2-4min interval followed by 5-10min easy gear spin).

use short/steep sections and high gear for strength, spin on downhills for recovery. Long steady climb would be good for threshold training, you might wanna do it several times.

try Cycling bible by Friel it well may be the best book for self-training good luck
re: A question for all you fitness gurus . . .cioccman
Sep 25, 2001 9:19 AM
Basically when you stay under 75% of your theoretical max HR you're in aerobic mode. That is to say, you're burning a ratio of more fat than carbs. Furthermore, you'll "likely" be underneath your lactate threshold which means your body will be able to flush the majority of lactic produced with little buildup. I'm not sure what you meaning by burning muscle. When you stay under the 75% number, theoretically, all your excercise will be *cardio endurance, whether or not you're strength training. So, all your days 1-4 are all cardio endurance work, whether or not you feel your hill work is strengthening your legs. Your days 1-4 are probably all strengthening your legs.

Example of my off season workouts. 2 days/week strength training in the gym, weight work mostly. 2 days per week indoor cycling at approx. 75% Max HR for cardio endurance. 2-4 days per week on bike. One *schmoozer*, one long distance at probably no more than 75%/80% of max HR, 70+ miles. One medium distance fast ride about 40/45 miles and one crit work ride.

Hope this helps.
Thanks, it did, . . .LAIrish
Sep 25, 2001 6:31 PM
actually, on the hill, I do a half dozen climbs where I get above 80%MHR, followed by a down hill stretch where I catch my breath. I end with a long climb where, today, I got to close to 90% of my MHR for about a minute and a half. I consider the hill days my "strength" days. What I'm trying to figure out is whether my "endurance" days (staying under 75% MHR) will allow my muscles to recover from the day before workout.

If I understand your routine correctly, I'm doing something similar. My "hill" days are like your weight days and my "endurance" days are like your indoor cycling/on-the-bike days.

Thanks for the help.
re: Don't turn a sandbox into a salt mine!dzrider
Sep 25, 2001 9:33 AM
Most people I know who exercise regularly do it because it's fun. There are probably some people who find optimizing their exercise programs makes it even more fun. I'm not one of them. Riding and running are better for my health than not riding and running, but I've been able to keep doing them for 30 years by trying to make it as much fun as possible.
To LAIrish and KristinJon
Sep 25, 2001 10:10 AM
LA, Your plan sounds reasonable to me. If you're getting tired at any point in the microcycle insert a
day off, as MB1 says. However, as a training junkie, I do agree that you should have a plan and stick
to it as much as possible. Two of the cardinal rules of training are train consistently, train moderately.
Good luck. You'll do great.

Kristin, Listen to your bod. However, as a general rule, the lower your level of fitness and the smaller
your aerobic and mileage base, the higher the likelihood you'll need a complete day off. The fitter you
become the more tolerable and beneficial "active recovery" becomes. However, as always, let your
body be your guide. If and when you do opt for active recovery days, keep your exercise intensity well
below 70% max. heart rate. You don't want to be working hard enough to induce a training effect.
Thanks, Jon . . .LAIrish
Sep 25, 2001 6:33 PM
for the feedback. It's really helpful to get some input from experienced riders.
The theories boil down to this, as far as I can tell:bill
Sep 25, 2001 10:11 AM
You need two (maybe three) attributes to your training -- the ability to go long, the ability to go hard (fast), and the ability to go strong up hills. Then, remember that you basically become what you train to be, and that the only way you will lift your limitations is to increase the load on (to overload) your muscles and your metabolic systems along the parameter that you want to improve. But you shouldn't overload too frequently, because, if you do, you're not really overloading. If you find that, for example, you cannot go as long as you could your previous session, you can't overload in that direction, and you are overtrained and need to lighten up. If you can't go as fast, as intensely, as you could your previous session, ditto, and lighten up (if it takes the same amount of effort to go slower than you were going, it ain't as good). If you can't drag your butt up hills the way you could your previous session, then lighten up.
You need to be fresh enough to work hard, because, if you can't overload, you can't improve. Much oversimplified, but I think that it's true enough, and then individual plans can begin to take shape.
May be oversimplified but you couldn't have stated it better (nmJon
Sep 25, 2001 11:34 AM
Coach Carlbear
Sep 25, 2001 4:44 PM
http://hauns.com/~DCQu4E5g/Index.html
try this guy,, is free and it change my life in the bike,,I now do 80 to 100 miles rides just about everyweekend, and this is from a guy who stared riding this year.
Two things to think aboutpfw2
Sep 25, 2001 7:37 PM
When you use the term "maximum heart rate", did you use a formula or did you try to determine what YOUR max was? Also, as you train this will change, so will your ability to handle higher percentages of your max HR. Perceived exertion rate can be useful too. Have you ever looked at your HR and been surprised that it was so high/low?

You say you're getting back into riding, have you had a physical lately? Better safe than sorry.

Realistically though if you have ANY kind of training plan you're ahead of the game. Good luck.
Thanks . . .LAIrish
Sep 25, 2001 9:17 PM
I just used a formula. But I've done a little reading and my resting heart rate seems about average for a guy my age, so the formula MHR should be about right. Also, on my hill today, I got to about 90% of my MHR for a couple of minutes and that coincided perfectly with my perceived exertion level.

If I stay serious, I'll get a professional exercise stress test done.

Yea, I'm due for a physical. Last one was a couple of years ago, but everything checked out A-OK and I've been riding up to 50 miles at a stretch since then. Thanks for your concern.
Thanks . . .tmlecarner
Sep 25, 2001 10:05 PM
I've been riding for about 15 years, both road and mountain, and most recently have been doing ultra-long distance events such as the aids rides. In preparing for these longer events, I find Chris Carmichael's program to be quite effective (Lance's trainer/coach). Check out his site, it worked well for me...and he talks quite a bit about using HRMs, etc.

but, like others have said, listen intently to your body...it knows better than Mr. Carmicheal does...
re: A question for all you fitness gurus . . .cyclequip
Sep 26, 2001 2:31 AM
Seems there are more than a few fitness guru's out there. Might I just recap what Ferrari had to say about recreational riders riding too hard on easy days and too easy on hard days. Certainly no-one factored in your age which tends to incline you towards being very careful about making sure you recover properly from a hard workout. When you speak of 'working into muscle, you mean the process of muscle-glycogen depletion which normally occurs with maximal-exertion riding of any duration. If you do deplete muscle glycogen, know that proper recovery takes a minimum of 24hrs with NO ACTIVITY. Starting off like you are though, it's far more important to get TITS - time in the saddle - of any nature.