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Is 12miles a day enough?

redddraggonredddraggon Posts: 10,862
I currently commute 6miles to work and 6miles back, and normally longer rides at the weekend. I have very poor fitness, due to a rugby injury I picked up 2 years ago. Is this regular 12 mile demanding enough to increase my fitness?

I feel that I'm going as fast as is possible for me, I'm not out of breath but my legs ache. Do I need to establish a higher cadence and use a lower gear to go faster?
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  • simon_esimon_e Posts: 1,685
    I currently commute 6miles to work and 6miles back, and normally longer rides at the weekend...
    I feel that I'm going as fast as is possible for me, I'm not out of breath but my legs ache. Do I need to establish a higher cadence and use a lower gear to go faster?
    Higher cadence + lower gear will mean less effort, but this is more useful when climbing steep gradients than for building strength/fitness.

    If you're not out of breath it sounds like your lungs are better than your legs.

    Unless you're almost falling off with exhaustion most people can go faster (and/or further), but there's more to it than that. Interval training would help - periods of more intense effort broken by rests. I found commuting to work - 5 miles each way, mildly hilly - was enough to improve my condition noticeably. It enabled me to do suprisingly well in a recent 30km mountain bike ride (the Builth Merida) with a 7km climb at the start. I thought I'd be bushed after 15km but there was enough left for the later stages despite my short commute distance.

    Riding against the clock always helps - use a cycle computer or stop watch and set yourself some targets. Note your times and look to improve on them where possible. Try to note what gear you use on a particular stretch/climb, work hard and you should find you can use the next higher gear after a few weeks.
    Aspire not to have more, but to be more.
  • graeme_s-2graeme_s-2 Posts: 3,382
    I found commuting the same distance as you are, was enough to get me to a point where I could tackle 50, 60, and 70 mile rides without any other training. Of course doing longer rides at weekends and in the evenings will also improve your fitness, but 60 miles a week commuting is a good starting point to improving your cycling fitness.
  • redddraggonredddraggon Posts: 10,862
    Well I've just cycled home, and this time I found it easy, I cycled most of the route (even some of the hills) on my highest gear. I even passed two other cycle commuters at high(ish) speed.

    Does anybody else find that somedays it's hard work, and other days a breeze?
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  • fossyantfossyant Posts: 2,549
    Yep, some days easy, some hard.

    You should be doing about 80-100 rpm ideally, but I'd say you probably haven't pushed yourself hard enough if you aren't getting out of breath, especially if you hit a hill.

    Try keeping the cadence up (rpm) and keep practicing. The pain in the legs will get less, but it always hurts - your body just get's used to it and also get's better at clearing the lactic acid - that what causes the 'burn' effect.
  • Well I've just cycled home, and this time I found it easy, I cycled most of the route (even some of the hills) on my highest gear. I even passed two other cycle commuters at high(ish) speed.

    Does anybody else find that somedays it's hard work, and other days a breeze?

    Try using soemone elses blood! :D

    sorry, couldnt resist it given the state of events in the tour today... :cry:
  • ShavedlegsShavedlegs Posts: 310
    I don't know what kind of commute you have but I ride across London. I pick a gear and stay in it, some days a large gear which makes accelerating hard work but top speeds comfortable other days a small gear so I have a cadence over 100rpm when at speed. Always stoppping at red lights is better for fitness to as getting up to speed is harder than maintaining it, (which is why people feel the need to go through them.)

    In a nut shell 12 miles a day is better than most, you can make it a very effective training schedule esp. if you go down the HRM route etc.
  • redddraggonredddraggon Posts: 10,862
    Shavedlegs wrote:
    I don't know what kind of commute you have but I ride across London. I pick a gear and stay in it, some days a large gear which makes accelerating hard work but top speeds comfortable other days a small gear so I have a cadence over 100rpm when at speed. Always stoppping at red lights is better for fitness to as getting up to speed is harder than maintaining it, (which is why people feel the need to go through them.)

    In a nut shell 12 miles a day is better than most, you can make it a very effective training schedule esp. if you go down the HRM route etc.

    It's quite undulating my commute, lots of short steep climbs, I don't seem notice the descents much, I feel like I'm going uphill both ways.
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