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Fitness Training Question: Which road to ride?(12 posts)

Fitness Training Question: Which road to ride?TrekMan
Jan 7, 2002 6:43 AM
At the moment I'm trying to get myself back into shape and was wondering if you could give me your opinions on which of these roads to train on.

The first is 19 miles and is totally flat, and I can ride it in about a hour with my HR between 130 - 150 depending on wind. My average speed on this road is about 18 mph, with a max of 25 mph

The second is 24 miles, flat for the first 9 miles, has 11 climbs/descents over the next 12 miles and is flat for the last 3 miles. My HR ranges from 130 - 150 on the start and finish flat sections up 170 when reaching the top of the steepest climbs. When I'm climbing I stay in the saddle, because I find it uses less energy than standing. My average speed when on the climbs is about 14 - 15 mph. I've only used this route twice, the first time (Friday) it took me about 2 hours, the second (Sunday) I was going to do it in under 1h 40m when my rear inner tube went out with a bang! I don't know what my average speed is for this road, I'm guessing about 15 mph.

With all my rides I stop to stretch at 7 mile intervals for about 3 minutes. As I ride alone (not fit enough to ride with the local group yet) the first course bores me silly, but the second one is great fun because of the climbs. I'm 23yrs, 6ft, 194lbs (for my build I should be about 170lbs), lots of fat round my middle and some muscle on my legs!
re: Fitness Training Question: Which road to ride?Jon
Jan 7, 2002 7:20 AM
Hey Trekman,
For an "unfit" guy you're pretty strong! Why don't you ride both routes? The hilly one two to three
times per week, and the flat one on in-between days for some recovery. Try varying your speed, too.
Don't try to set a new time record every day. On days you feel strong, go hard. On other days back
off the intensity and cruise. Good luck. BTW, sounds like you are fit enough to join groups on moderately
paced rides. Do that for variety and skill development.
I agree with jonSub
Jan 7, 2002 8:13 AM
I agree with jon and Sub ;o) -NMTig
Jan 7, 2002 10:12 AM
Flip a coinmr_spin
Jan 7, 2002 8:25 AM
Whatever your goal is, you should definitely vary the training along the way. If it becomes boring or rote, it won't be that hard to blow it off. So don't ride the same routes all the time. I'm lucky in that I have a lot of choices for my rides. If you only have two choices, make sure you ride them both.

I'm not sure why you need to stop and stretch every seven miles. There is no way your muscles can tighten up that often. That sounds more like rationalization for stopping to rest! Don't do it! On a two hour ride, stretch before and after, not during (unless you have some special situation).
Flip a coinTrekMan
Jan 7, 2002 9:23 AM
My neck and shoulder muscles used to get a very stiff when I started back with cycling a few months back, so to try and stop this I would atop and give them a good stretch. I don't have any problems with them now, but it could be more to do with better position on the bike and fitness than with the stretching.
Flip a coinDaniel H.
Jan 7, 2002 6:50 PM
I would love to have options as to my training route. right now though I have one road and it is 34 miles out and back and that is it.
I am on an island in the middle of the indian ocean. That's all we got! The elevation change on the road is no more than eight feet. So as you can imagine I have to simulate the hell out of climbing. It's the little things that you miss the most like, having a different road to ride if you want to. Take care and ride that hilly course once for me!
Ride both, in both directions--and stop taking your pulsecory
Jan 7, 2002 8:41 AM
If you're one of those guys who can just go grunt through the same course every day, then ignore this. Otherwise, though, I've had much better luck getting back into shape after a layoff (which I seem to do at least once a year, sadly) if I just go RIDE, instead of worrying about how and where and how fast and what my pulse rate is. Once you start getting into shape and get a few pounds off is soon enough to start taking your pulse. For now, go do something you enjoy and have fun, so you'll stay with it.
Do both, stop that stretching nonsense n/tBobo
Jan 7, 2002 8:51 AM
re: Fitness Training Question: Which road to ride?harlett
Jan 7, 2002 2:34 PM
instead of stopping and stretching try and do things on the bike that help with those things-- shifting to a bigger gear and standing occasionally-- keeping your head up and consciously relaxing your neck muscles and loosening your shoulders-- wiggle your fingers on the bar tops to relax your arms-- slide back, a little, on the saddle occasionally to work your quadriceps in a different way-- do quick spin-ups every now and then--

what your doing right now is like building a pyramid-- use both the flats and the hills to build a wide aerobic base to that pyramid-- the pinnacle of the pyramid is your main goals for the year-- the wider the base the higher the pinnacle-- the more flat and hilly miles you put in now the faster and more comfortable you'll be later--

two of things you can do to help yourself right now are: in the hills, occasionally, shift to a big gear that you can turn slowly and ride up a steady hill for 3 to 5 minutes-- this will help you build power and strength-- on the flats or hills do spin-ups-- shift to an easy gear and spin as fast as you can for 30 seconds-- rest for 10 minutes and repeat three times-- this will help your legs learn to go fast and help with your spinning--

three of the style differences between doing hills and flats are body and breathing and pedaling rhythm-- be conscious of this and try to synchronize the three in the way each style demands-

happy and healthy riding.
re: Mix it up....jrm
Jan 7, 2002 2:38 PM
Do both on alternating days. Maybe find another one on the side.
Just Ridegrzy
Jan 7, 2002 5:23 PM
If you approach your riding like you approach a typical diet or going to the gym (getting all analytical and hitting the numbers) then you are bound to fail. What you need to do is get out there and just ride. Go long, go short, mix it up, take it easy, kill yourself. The idea is that if the expereince is enjoyable and has variety you're more likely to make it a habit and part of your lifestyle. If you approach it like going to the gym or only eat cans of Slim Fast then you're going to have about the same results. Ultimately speed doesn't matter nearly as much as heart rate and duration. Fall in with other riders - sure you may get dropped but so what? You'll find that being part of a group can motivate you in ways not possible otherwise. Realize that you didn't get into your current shape over night so it's reasonable to expect it's going to take time and work to make a change. The trick is going to be keeping your calorie intake under control and getting regular rides. If you go to hard to soon you run a good chance of getting and injury. Your rides should be all about enjoyment: seeing things differently and meeting new people as well as building some friendships.

Head out on a ride with no particular plan or route and see what happens. If you feel great just keep going, if not cut it short. Some people just can't do it with out an exact plan, but they never seem to enjoy it as much and it's very easy for them to get discouraged when they miss a goal - even by a small amount.