commute training

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commute training

Postby jules21 » Thu May 26, 2011 11:59 am

i've started to lengthen my commutes as a means of getting some better training in. previously i was doing 2x20 minute commutes, which obviously isn't enough to achieve any substantial fitness. so i'm fitting in a 1:15 ride on the way home, most nights.

that obviously ramps up my training hours substantially. i might fit in a long weekend ride occasionally, although not very regularly at this point. i read that 10 hours per week is the 'established threshold' for achieving proper endurance - so i'm doing about that when i include a few other bits and pieces.

but would you do better by making that 10 hours up in 4, 4, 2 hour rides? i'm talking endurance. i don't really do interval training or other stuff at this point, i'm working towards the Audax 250km Alpine ride - which i will ramp up for closer to the event. any thoughts?
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by BNA » Thu May 26, 2011 12:32 pm

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Re: commute training

Postby trailgumby » Thu May 26, 2011 12:32 pm

I do about 10 hours, but it's not really by choice. I'd do less if I could.

My commute is just shy of 30km, which takes me 1:15-1:30 depending on weather and whether I'm travelling to work or home. I do that (return) twice a week.

Mark Fenner's 100km mtb race training program for time-crunched cyclists sets the following regime:
* Not riding Monday or Friday. Let your body recover.
* Training ride of 2-4 hours on Sunday morning
* 1.5-2 hour training rides on Tuesdays and Thursdays
* Shorter recovery pace ride on Wednesdays
* Saturdays is for practicing/developing technical skills, no more than an hour.
* One week easy every fourth for recovery (I've adapted that to one in three, being over 40 - as recommended by Joe Friel. Has been good advice.)

The philosophy is that Sunday is the main training ride. Tuesdays and Thursdays are maintenance. I'd recommend your midweek training be done in the morning and then soft-pedal it on the way home.

I find if I go too hard on the homeward leg, I stay revved up for hours afterwards and it impacts my ability to get to sleep and stay asleep, leading to major sleep dep by week's end if I commute mosts days. This adversely impacts work performance, and makes it hard to even look at the bike on the weekend let alone ride it.
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Re: commute training

Postby foo on patrol » Thu May 26, 2011 6:33 pm

Can you do the 1:15 of a morning and say half hour on your way home? Then do a 3/4hr ride on the weekend. :wink:
I don't suffer fools easily and so long as you have done your best,you should have no regrets.
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Re: commute training

Postby jules21 » Fri May 27, 2011 10:27 pm

food for thought. i'm terrible in the mornings and would have to really rearrange my sleep patterns to get up early enough to fit proper training in. the advantage of doing even-length commutes is that i can fit them into the daily schedule. i don't have a problem with those, but i'm just unsure they have the same benefit as the more spaced out schedule as described above by TG.
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Re: commute training

Postby trailgumby » Fri May 27, 2011 10:55 pm

The schedule above has worked well for me. I used to cane it both directions for about 50 minutes (20km) each way when working in the city, for four days a week M/Tu/Th/F. Some non-trivial hills along the route. Developed a case of overtraining which could have gone ugly (loss of job?), from which MikesBytes saved me with his advice at a time when we both inhabited another forum before coming here. Loss of sleep, poor performance etc as noted above. Keeping the HR below 130 on the return trip made a big difference. Thanks again MB. :D

From a training and fitness perspective, I've found less is more (... although now that I add it up, when I include the long Sunday Morning ride I am actually doing more hours in total, just not digging so deep all the time. :? Duh!)

Fenner's schedule talks about 90-120 minute training rides once a day on the Tues & Thurs, so I'm actually doing a lot more than he suggests. So if I'm not feeling so strong for the return trip I don't let ego get in my way and am happy to soft-pedal it.

Proper on-the-bike nutrition (again Fenner, with a few twists gleaned from riding buddies) has much improved my riding speed at the back end of the long rides, so I'm actually working harder for much much longer with less fatigue, and I feel pretty good afterwards too I must admit... recovery is so much better. Spacing things out like Fenner suggests works really well and the final piece in the puzzle was the light effort recovery week every third (ie, 2 "on" followed by 1 "off, 2 "on", 1 "off", rinse and repeat).

When I come back to the first "on" week in the cycle I can tell that I've recovered well and I can go harder than the same week in the previous cycle. Tried stretching it to 1 in 4, didn;t work nearly so well.

YMMV, especially if under 40... 1 recovery every fourth week will probably work for you.
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Re: commute training

Postby betterthanwalking » Sun May 29, 2011 9:49 pm

I have been commuting in to work for a year. Not following any strict training principles but I have read up plenty. I felt that to do a strict regime whilst commuting would be too hard. Traffic lights and road hazards just too intrusive.

What I have been doing is going pretty hard in both directions. With a either a bike shop ride on Saturdays or a longer ride with my local mates. This was build up for a few charity rides around 140kms.

It was clear throughout the last year, that I wasn't making the most of my riding but when I wasn't chasing people down in the CCR. I would improve a bit more.

I would hammer in on Mondays and would be shot away on Fridays and be struggling to get going. The saturday or sunday rides would be good though, with a few less fit mates in the pack I could stay in front and recover... Hope they don't read this ever :lol:

The other downside to my commute was having a job that doesn't allow resting. Fixing aircraft isn't massively physical but not getting much chance to sit down and do nothing, not eating correctly didn't help much either.

I certainly believe that recovery time is at least as important, if not more important than the time on the bike. Toughing it out in to the wind for weeks on end and always pressing on, takes it's toll if you don't rest up.

I nearly always have something in my bottle and a gel in case I just cant face the last hill home.

If you don't a have a specific goal, a race for example, racking up K's and riding to how you feel is still a good way of improving your fitness. Watching for the signs of over-training as mentioned above is critical.

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