Endurance or Intensity

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Endurance or Intensity

Postby ni78ck » Tue Nov 11, 2008 2:00 pm

I have been riding for almost 3 months now and feel that im not improving at a great rate. is this normal, as i was relatively unfit to start with? should i aim to do longer rides and get the km up or would i be better off doing shorter distances at a higher intensity level? would some running and other aerobic exersizes help? :?

thanks for reply 8)
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by BNA » Tue Nov 11, 2008 2:17 pm

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Postby sogood » Tue Nov 11, 2008 2:17 pm

What's your reference when you said that you aren't improving much? Speed? Endurance? Sprint? Bike handling? Clearly any good training would have to be focused on your specific objective.
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Postby JV911 » Tue Nov 11, 2008 2:25 pm

I'm sure the pros like Alex et. al. will chime in but from a personal perspective I’ve been ramping up both the intensity AND length of rides since I got back on a bike 3 months ago after about 18 months out of the saddle. You have to set goals and push yourself i.e. if you are constantly doing the same distances your performance/fitness will plateau

I could hardly do 15km on the flats when I started (the cardio was letting me down big time) and now doing 50-60km easily, with a lot more uphill. Have used hills and sprints as forms of interval training. Used to hate hills now I love the challenge :D

I think it’s important to experiment and find what works for you. Feel free to include running as part of your aerobic workout. Is it your cardio or legs that's letting you down? Focus on what is.

edit: training in a group helps a lot too. others are there to push you, motivate you, help you when you're tired and to give pointers
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Postby ni78ck » Tue Nov 11, 2008 3:40 pm

sogood wrote:What's your reference when you said that you aren't improving much? Speed? Endurance? Sprint? Bike handling? Clearly any good training would have to be focused on your specific objective.


i cycle with a group sometimes and struggle to keep up. on my own doing laps around the park i am stagnant on about 24kmh. want to get it up to 30kmh. in having said that i just got back from a quick ride and pushed myself fairly hard. got to 26.3 kmh. still far short of where i want to be :(
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Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Tue Nov 11, 2008 4:10 pm

ni78ck wrote:
sogood wrote:What's your reference when you said that you aren't improving much? Speed? Endurance? Sprint? Bike handling? Clearly any good training would have to be focused on your specific objective.


i cycle with a group sometimes and struggle to keep up. on my own doing laps around the park i am stagnant on about 24kmh. want to get it up to 30kmh. in having said that i just got back from a quick ride and pushed myself fairly hard. got to 26.3 kmh. still far short of where i want to be :(

While it is hard to provide more than simply general advice, how about providing us with some idea of what riding you are doing through the course of a typical week. Maybe something will stick out for us.

As for other forms of training, well to improve bike fitness the most effective means of doing that is to ride a bike. Nothing else comes close.
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Postby ni78ck » Tue Nov 11, 2008 4:19 pm

Alex Simmons/RST wrote:
ni78ck wrote:
sogood wrote:What's your reference when you said that you aren't improving much? Speed? Endurance? Sprint? Bike handling? Clearly any good training would have to be focused on your specific objective.


i cycle with a group sometimes and struggle to keep up. on my own doing laps around the park i am stagnant on about 24kmh. want to get it up to 30kmh. in having said that i just got back from a quick ride and pushed myself fairly hard. got to 26.3 kmh. still far short of where i want to be :(

While it is hard to provide more than simply general advice, how about providing us with some idea of what riding you are doing through the course of a typical week. Maybe something will stick out for us.

As for other forms of training, well to improve bike fitness the most effective means of doing that is to ride a bike. Nothing else comes close.


normally ill go on three rides per week. two of about 30 - 35 km and on the weekend about 50km.

two weeks ago i did the gong ride which was my longest thus far. average speed 23km.
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Postby mikesbytes » Tue Nov 11, 2008 4:26 pm

Why don't you visit your local bike club. The experienced riders there will soon be able to suggest the right direction for you
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Postby ni78ck » Tue Nov 11, 2008 4:39 pm

mikesbytes wrote:Why don't you visit your local bike club. The experienced riders there will soon be able to suggest the right direction for you


"keep riding"
"ride more during the week"
"do more hills to strengthen your legs"

thats my advice thus far. :roll:
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Postby sogood » Tue Nov 11, 2008 4:43 pm

Sounds like some 2x20 intervals would be the way to go. The easiest is just to pace yourself to an exertion level that can be sustained for the two 20mins intervals without dropping out. You should be decently buggered by the end of the two. Do this by yourself (Centennial Park is ideal) and you'll see improvements soon enough. Effectively, 2x20 trains your sustained power output and is the most valuable performance asset for an average cyclist. It's also the performance parameter that one primarily depends on in a time trial.

Then you can do one endurance ride a week, say 80km (3-4hrs) on top.

Magic will start to happen to you after 4-6 weeks! ;)
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Postby Hebden » Tue Nov 11, 2008 4:52 pm

ni78ck wrote:normally ill go on three rides per week. two of about 30 - 35 km and on the weekend about 50km.


Well there's your problem :)

Hi ni78ck,

From what I understand about general fitness training, 3 sessions per week will "maintain" your fitness levels. If you start from a low fitness level you will improve with 3 sessions per week but will eventually plateau. I think this is where you are now.

I would recommend at least 4 sessions per week to continue to improve your fitness and strength. As a general beginners guide for improvement I would suggest the following

1 fast as you can short session, possibly an interval type ride where you try and sprint up the hills 20kms or 40mins (inc warmup/down)
2 medium intensity, medium distance sessions 30-35kms or 1-2hrs
1 long easy session to improve endurance 50kms++

This is just a simple guide from my basic understanding, members like sogood or Alex are far more qualified/experianced than I and if they suggest something different go with that. 8)

But for my two cents up from 3 sessions to 4 and mix up the intensity.

Good luck!
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Postby ni78ck » Tue Nov 11, 2008 4:52 pm

sogood wrote:Sounds like some 2x20 intervals would be the way to go. The easiest is just to pace yourself to an exertion level that can be sustained for the two 20mins intervals without dropping out. You should be decently buggered by the end of the two. Do this by yourself (Centennial Park is ideal) and you'll see improvements soon enough. Effectively, 2x20 trains your sustained power output and is the most valuable performance asset for an average cyclist. It's also the performance parameter that one primarily depends on in a time trial.

Then you can do one endurance ride a week, say 80km (3-4hrs) on top.

Magic will start to happen to you after 4-6 weeks! ;)


i did one 24minute ride today. three laps at centennial park at a solid pace, for my ability and it felt great at the end of it. legs were pumped :D
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Postby mikesbytes » Tue Nov 11, 2008 5:00 pm

ni78ck wrote:
mikesbytes wrote:Why don't you visit your local bike club. The experienced riders there will soon be able to suggest the right direction for you


"keep riding"
"ride more during the week"
"do more hills to strengthen your legs"

thats my advice thus far. :roll:


Nick what are your targets? Weight loss? Increased cardio fitness? Strength? Go racing? Tour Australia? Make it back from the pub after a couple of fine ales?

Based on what you have said so far, do the 2*20 that sogood has advised. When on your regular rides, push it that hard up the hills that your legs feel like they are going to explode and then rest on the way down the other side.
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Postby toolonglegs » Tue Nov 11, 2008 5:16 pm

Depends on what time you have available...do you have more time to train?... intensity work is good but you have to be able to sustain it...which might be a struggle for you.I notice you ride Cen Park alot...do you ride the hills there much?.
3 months isn't along time...if you have only just started.I would rather you just enjoyed yourself and mixed up your riding a bit...add some hills,group riding for motivation,socializing and skills...just play,but play for a bit longer and a bit harder.BUT!..when your legs are tired let them rest!...give them a few days without riding or very very light spins then come back stronger.
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Postby ni78ck » Tue Nov 11, 2008 8:41 pm

toolonglegs wrote:Depends on what time you have available...do you have more time to train?... intensity work is good but you have to be able to sustain it...which might be a struggle for you.I notice you ride Cen Park alot...do you ride the hills there much?.
3 months isn't along time...if you have only just started.I would rather you just enjoyed yourself and mixed up your riding a bit...add some hills,group riding for motivation,socializing and skills...just play,but play for a bit longer and a bit harder.BUT!..when your legs are tired let them rest!...give them a few days without riding or very very light spins then come back stronger.


the first few weeks were tough i would need three days to recover after a ride. now its better. as for hills i live at coogee which means plenty of hills everywhere. in some instances i try to avoid them, i guess i should tackle afew more :roll: some hills get my heart rate up to 185!
Last edited by ni78ck on Tue Nov 11, 2008 8:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby ni78ck » Tue Nov 11, 2008 8:47 pm

mikesbytes wrote:
ni78ck wrote:
mikesbytes wrote:Why don't you visit your local bike club. The experienced riders there will soon be able to suggest the right direction for you


"keep riding"
"ride more during the week"
"do more hills to strengthen your legs"

thats my advice thus far. :roll:


Nick what are your targets? Weight loss? Increased cardio fitness? Strength? Go racing? Tour Australia? Make it back from the pub after a couple of fine ales?

Based on what you have said so far, do the 2*20 that sogood has advised. When on your regular rides, push it that hard up the hills that your legs feel like they are going to explode and then rest on the way down the other side.


you ask targets; i would like to be able to race by this time next year or sooner. nothing serious but may as well give it a go. i see many races at heffron of a saturday and looks like fun! :wink:
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Postby sogood » Tue Nov 11, 2008 9:12 pm

ni78ck wrote:you ask targets; i would like to be able to race by this time next year or sooner. nothing serious but may as well give it a go. i see many races at heffron of a saturday and looks like fun! :wink:

Then join a club and get involved in their training program. You have at least three convenient clubs to choose from given where you are.
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Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Tue Nov 11, 2008 9:19 pm

Hebden wrote:
ni78ck wrote:normally ill go on three rides per week. two of about 30 - 35 km and on the weekend about 50km.


Well there's your problem :)

Hi ni78ck,

From what I understand about general fitness training, 3 sessions per week will "maintain" your fitness levels. If you start from a low fitness level you will improve with 3 sessions per week but will eventually plateau. I think this is where you are now.

I would recommend at least 4 sessions per week to continue to improve your fitness and strength. As a general beginners guide for improvement I would suggest the following

1 fast as you can short session, possibly an interval type ride where you try and sprint up the hills 20kms or 40mins (inc warmup/down)
2 medium intensity, medium distance sessions 30-35kms or 1-2hrs
1 long easy session to improve endurance 50kms++

This is just a simple guide from my basic understanding, members like sogood or Alex are far more qualified/experianced than I and if they suggest something different go with that. 8)

But for my two cents up from 3 sessions to 4 and mix up the intensity.

Good luck!

Sounds pretty good to me.

4 rides a week minimum.

Keep it simple and gradually increase the hours riding. 15-30-min extra per week is plenty until you don't have more time. Get to 6-7 hours/week and you'll come along nicely. But take your time to get there. Once there then you can start to work on other elements.

Too often I see riders ramp up training too fast and they pay for it eventually, slowing their progress overall and sometimes losing fitness as a result.
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Postby sogood » Tue Nov 11, 2008 9:20 pm

Hebden wrote:...members like sogood or Alex are far more qualified/experianced than I and if they suggest something different go with that. 8)

Please don't put me in the same league as Alex. He is a qualified coach and an international guru in power training, while I am just a half competent BS artist. :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Postby Kalgrm » Tue Nov 11, 2008 9:25 pm

sogood wrote:Please don't put me in the same league as Alex. He is a qualified coach and an international guru in power training, while I am just a half competent BS artist. :lol: :lol: :lol:

I think I just found my new sig line .... ;) :D
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Postby rob e » Wed Nov 12, 2008 12:39 pm

sogood wrote: I am just a half competent BS artist. :lol: :lol: :lol:


c'mon sogood, you are an extremely competent BS artist :P :lol:
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Postby DanielS » Thu Nov 13, 2008 10:01 am

My 2c ..... ride more if you can, but start to learn all of the other aspects of the sport. Training isn't everything.

Go ride with groups, as much as you can. Find a slow group first (even if its too slow for you) and move up. Focus on riding safely, smoothly.

Learn to ride your bike comfortably. Learn how to ride in the drops for long periods of time. Learn to descend hills without riding the brakes the whole way down. Play with your bike fit and see how much a small adjustment in seat height affects you.

Try riding in the rain, dark, heat and see how it effects things. Go try and ride a seemingly crazy distance and feel what its like to be absolutely destroyed. Try riding your roadie on a dirt road just for a laugh. (I take no responsibility for any harm you may incur as a result of this advice!)

During this process you'll learn about all the other things you need to know - like what food to eat, how much to drink, what clothing to wear, what saddle your arse likes, etc, etc....

THEN I'd start to think about 2x20s and training programs :D
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Postby sogood » Thu Nov 13, 2008 11:27 am

It's all a question of how eager the OP wants to get to his/her objective. If there's no time to lose, then 2x20 is the most efficient. If time is not an issue, then sure, enjoy and ride relaxed.
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Postby toofat » Thu Nov 13, 2008 12:04 pm

I started in feb managing 10km at 15kph riding every second day

gradually increased up to 35km and 50 to 60km on the weekendl
all on a flat course, i would ride miles out of my way to avoid a hill
the speed stayed at a constant 23kph and would not budge even if I rode further, or more frequently

I then went on a group ride, that included, what for me, were killer hills,after recovering I found my average speed increased by 2kph, now I look for hills,its still bloody hard to get 96 kilo up a hill but it used to be 107.5kg
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Postby ni78ck » Thu Nov 13, 2008 12:21 pm

sogood wrote:It's all a question of how eager the OP wants to get to his/her objective. If there's no time to lose, then 2x20 is the most efficient. If time is not an issue, then sure, enjoy and ride relaxed.


im very eager at the moment. i think my fitness was not up to scratch so ive decided to join a 6 week fitness progamme down at the beach. its three times a week. one day is strength, day two is cardio and day three is boxing and cardio. i can already see improvements in my fitness and strength in my legs. yesterday we did soft sand sprints :shock: . when we finished i had nothing left. got HR up to 188.

all this torture in hope i improve my cycling speed!
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Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Thu Nov 13, 2008 1:09 pm

ni78ck wrote:
sogood wrote:It's all a question of how eager the OP wants to get to his/her objective. If there's no time to lose, then 2x20 is the most efficient. If time is not an issue, then sure, enjoy and ride relaxed.


im very eager at the moment. i think my fitness was not up to scratch so ive decided to join a 6 week fitness progamme down at the beach. its three times a week. one day is strength, day two is cardio and day three is boxing and cardio. i can already see improvements in my fitness and strength in my legs. yesterday we did soft sand sprints :shock: . when we finished i had nothing left. got HR up to 188.

all this torture in hope i improve my cycling speed!

While those that are very new / very unfit will benefit from just about any exercise, the only thing that will make you go faster on a bike, is riding a bike.
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