Riding distances - how much to increase by?

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Riding distances - how much to increase by?

Postby pugsly » Sat May 05, 2007 11:46 pm


I've been riding a few months now - the main ride being my commute into work - 24km. I've started doing it twice a week now, and whilst the HR gets up there a bit with the hills, I feel like I'm doing it fairly comfortably. I've also done 20km rides along the beach comfortably - it's so much nicer without hills! :)

Around the bay in a day is coming up later in the year, and the full ride looks quite daunting, so I'll probably have a crack at one of the shorter rides. The shortest is 50km I think, so my question is, in increasing my ride distance - is there a rule of thumb as to how much is the right amount? I suspect it will of course vary from person to person, but I hope you get my drift.

Historically my ethos is to just get in there until I drop - but that could (a) see me in more pain than I care to be in the next day; and (b) too far away from anywhere to get back easily.


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Postby europa » Sun May 06, 2007 1:04 am

The secret is 'recovery' Pugsly. Do your distance, then recover. If it takes you a week to recover, it's fair to suggest you pushed a bit too hard - that might be in distance or it might be in HR. If you keep your HR down, say below 130, you'll be slow, but you'll go all day, and maybe front up again the next day. Push it up into the 160s, and you won't go as far and the next day, even daytime tele will look good.

Do what feels 'right' to you. If you decide you want a crack a century, or a half century, do it. Then see how you shape up. If you've got a HR monitor, use it and try to learn from the results. Long, slow rides at very low HRs are great for recovery, especially after hard working days.

It's all suck it and see mate, and there's nothing in the rule book that says you can't take a week off if you happen to overdo things.


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Postby MJF » Sun May 06, 2007 7:55 am

Hi Pugsly.

I'm recovering from chrondomalaci patellae (sp?) at the moment, otherwise known as runners knees. Apparently a very common cycling injury as well.

Basic issue - don't suddenly add lots of k's. I assumed because I was commuting 2x20km a day, 60+km wouldn't be a problem. I was wrong...

Anyway - Increase slowly. I'm sure there is a rule of thumb somewhere out there (5% per week, 10% per week?)


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Postby gururug » Sun May 06, 2007 11:32 am


I found that quality is better than quantity. I average about 29km's an hour over 30-50km. The HRM will be beneficial in ensuring quality. Ditto to Richard. Do a longer ride say about 40-60km's and try to conserve a little (go at about 70-80% exertion) and see how you feel the next day.

I believe to get fitter and lose weight you should do some shorter interval rides with some longer easier rides. As you get fitter, you can gradually increase your distance and exertion on the longer rides.

P.S. When going over 40kms, water supplies and munchies will need to be given consideration.

I usually ride between 25-36kms. When I tried a longer ride (70kms) I hit the wall at about 45kms. I'm sure this is due to energy running out. Time will also dictate how long you can make your rides thus most people save the long ones for the weekends.

Have Fun!


Postby MountGower » Sun May 06, 2007 11:33 am

Last edited by MountGower on Tue Feb 15, 2011 11:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby seddo » Sun May 06, 2007 1:25 pm

excellent thread Pugsley -has answered alot of questions - I was planning on asking


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Postby twowheels » Sun May 06, 2007 7:34 pm

I'm currently working towards building up my running distance/endurance using the following schedule, you could adapt it or search for similar for cycling on the net. At the moment I'm not concerned how far I go in the running phases. Once I reach the running 30 minutes I'll work at increasing the distance run over the 30 minute period.

14 weeks to becoming a person who runs for 30 minutes
Week 1 Walk 20 minutes

Week 2 Walk 30 minutes

Week 3 Run 1 minute/Walk 5 minutes
Repeat 5 times

Week 4 Run 1.5 minutes Walk 4.5 minutes Repeat 5 times

Week 5 Run 2 minutes Walk 4 minutes Repeat 5 times

Week 6 Run 3 minutes Walk 3 minutes Repeat 5 times

Week 7 Run 5 minutes Walk 2.5 minutes Repeat 4 times

Week 8 Run 7 minutes Walk 3 minutes Repeat 3 times

Week 9 Run 8 minutes Walk 2 minutes Repeat 3 times

Week 10 Run 9 minutes Walk 2 minutes Repeat twice & run 8 Minutes

Week 11 Run 9 minutes Walk 1 minute Repeat 3 times

Week 12 Run 13 minutes Walk 2 minutes Repeat twice

Week 13 Run 14 minutes Walk 1 minute Repeat twice

Week 14 Run 30 minutes

Days On: Mon, Wed, Fri, Sun

Days Off: Tues, Thurs, Sat

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Postby pugsly » Mon May 07, 2007 12:13 am

Thanks for the tips. Sounds like common sense for the most part. I've been riding to my HRM on my commutes. Once it starts beeping, I know to slow things down a bit. It barely beeps when I'm on the flat. Keeping it under 130 just isn't an option, I can get it over 130 just thinking about riding, in fact, my HRM is set to beep also if it gets under 130 - the only times it happens is if I've been coasting for 20-30 seconds and not pedaling.

I've done some rides once or twice >30km with little pain, so I might try a 50km ride in the next couple of weekends, then start upping by 10km until I hit a wall, then back off to a 'comfortable' level for a few weeks before upping it again.

I suspect I won't actually be riding around the bay (200+km) come the day, but I'd like to be doing 50, and 50 comfortably. As for speed, I'm a built for comfort, not speed kinda guy - so 20km/h is about it for me right now.

As for tyres and pressure - my MTB has GEAX Evolution tyres running at around 70PSI


Postby MountGower » Mon May 07, 2007 10:07 am

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Postby twowheels » Mon May 07, 2007 3:34 pm

from Bicycle Victoria website

Bicycle Training rides
• If you’re going on a large or multi-day ride we encourage you to do as much bike riding as possible, either by yourself or with friends or family. Every hour in the saddle will make the event that much easier.
• Start off with a number of training rides of about 30km along bike paths and trails in the local area. At first 30km may sound exhausting, but regular weekly rides will build stamina.
• Be sure to increase the amount of effort you put into your training rides. You won’t increase your stamina or fitness if you are not forcing yourself to exercise more strenuously.
• You don’t necessarily have to start on roads, but eventually ween yourself off quieter paths and trails – especially if you’re working towards a tour or multi-day event.
• Add 5–10km each week after the training-ride period to slowly increase your distance. Many back streets are ideal for group training as traffic is minimal.
• For the last ten minutes of the ride change into an easy gear and gently spin home. This will help prevent the ‘dead leg’ syndrome when you’re finished – a problem caused by lactic acid pooling.
• Resting your muscles is just as important as the physical training itself. Listen to your body. You can seriously affect your progress if you over-train.
Suggested training program: Four-week ‘Build-Up Programme’
Week Longest Weekly Ride Other weekly rides Total distance
1 15km 5km, 10km 30km
2 20km 10km, 15km 45km
3 25km 15km, 20km 60km
4 30km 20km, 25km 75km

Endurance training rides
• A local cycling group might help you with your training program.
• Once you are feeling comfortable on your bike and have built up the weekly total, include some hills on your training ride. Find a long steady climb and constantly ride it, changing gears to match the hill.
• On hills, use your gears and change down. This will build up strength that you will need when you start riding past the 70km mark.
• There is no need to stand up on the pedals. Riding hills sitting in the seat is more energy efficient. You can stand up for short sessions (say 50 metres) to stretch the legs and give your bottom a rest.
12-week ‘Consistency Programme’
Week Longest Weekly Ride Other Weekly Rides Total Distance
1 35km 25km, 20km 80km
2 40km 30km, 25km 95km
3 45km 35km, 30km 110km
4 50km 25km, 20km, 20km 115km
5 55km 30km, 25km, 20km 130km
6 60km 30km, 30km, 25km 145km
7 60km 30km, 20km, 20km, 20km 150km
8 65km 30km, 20km, 20km, 15km 150km
9 70km 30km, 20km, 15km, 15km 150km
10 70km 30km, 15km, 15km, 15km 145km
11 75km 30km, 30km, 20km, 15km 170km
12 75km 30km, 25km, 20km, 15km 165km

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