Forum home Road cycling forum Training, fitness and health

Increasing average speed

yoadiusyoadius Posts: 541
edited November 2007 in Training, fitness and health
Hi,

I've been cycling on the road now for roughly a year, doing about 100 miles a week. Mostly riding to school and back (7 miles each way) and rides a weekend. I've got a reasonable level of fitness with hockey, tennis and circuit training during the week, and just turned 16 this month.

The problem is that my average speed is around 15-16mph over rolling hills. Reading some other peoples average speeds is a bit disheartening. I know I shouldn't but we all do.

So I've set myself a target of getting my average speed up to around 18mph by Autum next year.

Is this achievable or am I kidding myself? And is there any ways which would help me increase my average speed?
<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by Tartanyak</i>

Dude, did you trace that, from a distance off a diagram drawn by a blind man using his feet from the description given to him by someone that could only use English quotes from the movie of \'Grease\'?
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

Posts

  • KléberKléber Posts: 6,842
    Try riding at 20mph or 22mph for short periods of time, imagine you have two minutes fast and then three minutes slower, repeat this a few times and in no time you'll get faster.
  • pjhpjh Posts: 204
    This topic describes my situation too ... except that I'm 41 yrs old :D

    I don't mean to hijack this thread but I started cycling about 8 weeks ago (after quite a few years off the bike). I started riding a 9 mile rolling hill type circuit and averaged about 15 mph.

    I've lengthened the circuit and am now riding 20 miles at about 16 mph .... but boy does it seem hard work to get the average speed up!!

    I too was told that I should be aiming to achieve 17-18 mph over 20 miles.

    How long should it take folks (I'm doing about 60 miles a week avge).

    ps - I'm already riding at 22-25 mph in certain sections of the ride but can only keep that up for a few minutes ... whats worrying is the 12-13 mph that I'm also doing at times!


    It's great to be .....
  • nickcuknickcuk Posts: 275
    Be patient both of you - clock up the miles, introduce intervals (fast riding for short bursts) and it'll come
  • BeaconRuthBeaconRuth Posts: 2,086
    pjh wrote:
    I don't mean to hijack this thread but I started cycling about 8 weeks ago (after quite a few years off the bike). I started riding a 9 mile rolling hill type circuit and averaged about 15 mph.

    I've lengthened the circuit and am now riding 20 miles at about 16 mph .... but boy does it seem hard work to get the average speed up!!
    So in 8 weeks you've increased you distance by 33% and your speed by over 6% and you think that's slow progress? :roll: You're doing absolutely fine. Patience, patience, patience! :wink:
    I too was told that I should be aiming to achieve 17-18 mph over 20 miles.
    What a strange thing to be told! Why isn't 16mph good enough? Or why not 19mph? What are you trying to achieve with your cycling? There are no 'shoulds' in this sport, unless you've decided for yourself what you want to achieve.
    How long should it take folks (I'm doing about 60 miles a week avge).
    A good thing to remember is that if you keep doing the same training you can expect the same performance. So, as Nickcuk says, steadily raise your mileage and introduce faster sections for short periods.

    I'd always recommend finding other people to ride with too - maybe a local cycling club has an easy paced ride for newcomers? Riding with others is an excellent way to bring on your riding as the miles pass much faster with others and you can learn a great deal from others too.

    Ruth
  • Agree with Ruth, riding with a group that just pushes you is the fastest way to getting faster.
  • scapaslowscapaslow Posts: 305
    I agree with all the excellent advice here and think you'll have no problems upping your average speed whether aged 16 or 41. To ride faster you have to go faster and be able to sustain the increased pace which is where intervals come in.

    I've recently started adding sustained periods of hard effort for 5 minutes at a time, 3 or 4 times a ride (but not every ride - be careful not to overdo it). I've already upped my average by doing this which was around 15mph for a tough hilly ride. What seems to happen is that when you are recovering you are still pedalling as fast as your previous average if not a little faster.I'm aiming to up these intervals to around the 20 min mark over time.

    Try and mix up your riding with a mixture of sessions of various intensities. Easy sessions are important as well - your body needs time to recover and adapt, so gradual increases are the key. Don't just keep going round the same old routes at the same old speed. There's quite a few books on the subject from which you can derive training plans. I found a couple at the local library.

    Be patient and don't worry. Remember there will always be someone faster than you even when you get faster... and 15mph for a solo hilly ride is not too shabby IMO.
  • mackdaddymackdaddy Posts: 310
    Just to add my twopenneth to the rest of the good advice here, but I ain't an expert.

    I found that it wasn't the sections where I went at 20mph plus that were the main problem, it was the points I was losing average speed and this happened often. It will change with fitness as you go along, butfor me I was losing a lot of speed:
    1. going up hills. A couple of mph better on the ups can make a massive difference.
    2. Over the crest and down hills. Getting the momentum up early and then pushing the gear down hill improves the average (I think it psychological but I've convinced myself that I recover just as fast pedalling a big gear down hill as if I soft pedal)
    3. Keeping momentum on the flats. I found that mainaining momentum at a slightly higher(2-3mph (2-3mph) speed isn't significantly harder, just getting your brain and legs to give that push to get there in the first place is hard.

    It might not help but you never know, it works for me (along with the intervals mentioned above to make the fast bits faster as well)
  • pjhpjh Posts: 204
    Great advice ... much appreciated folks.

    I am definitely guilty of impatience :) I think I have also pushed myself a little too hard on one particular ocassion and felt very definitely weird (light headed) afterwards! (Average HR for the whole 20 miles was 167).

    I've taken a couple of slightly longer (25 mile) slower rides of late and feel much better for it.

    I'm going to take on all the ideas suggested and learn to be a little more patient :)


    Paul


    It's great to be .....
  • At this moment in time I'm not very fit as I haven't been racing since May and was off the bike from June through to September, so in a sense I'm in the re-building stages for next year.

    That puts me in the same position as a relative beginner except that the big advantage I have is muscle memory and experience. I want the same as everyone else which is speed and endurance and will set about getting there by next spring.

    What I'm not going to do is ride my bike as fast as I can from the time I set off to the time I get back every time I go out on a training ride. That is the surest way to get fatigued, fed up and not improve very quickly. So don't get hung up on what your average speed is as it will only hold you back.
  • BeaconRuthBeaconRuth Posts: 2,086
    So don't get hung up on what your average speed is as it will only hold you back.
    Excellent point to make. There's so much more to enjoy about riding a bike than looking at your average speed constantly. For instance, out in the lanes this morning I bumped (not literally!) into one of the guys who wins many of the open time trials in my neck of the woods - and I found myself having to soft pedal to go as slow as him. He was going to meet his mate, have an easy ride and go to a cafe.

    People, including top roadmen, do use cycling for purposes other than going as fast as they can!

    Ruth
  • nmcgannnmcgann Posts: 1,780
    BeaconRuth wrote:
    So don't get hung up on what your average speed is as it will only hold you back.
    Excellent point to make. There's so much more to enjoy about riding a bike than looking at your average speed constantly. For instance, out in the lanes this morning I bumped (not literally!) into one of the guys who wins many of the open time trials in my neck of the woods - and I found myself having to soft pedal to go as slow as him. He was going to meet his mate, have an easy ride and go to a cafe.

    People, including top roadmen, do use cycling for purposes other than going as fast as they can!

    Ruth

    Yes, I rode my fixed this morning to try and escape the "average speed" trap I tend to fall in to on my training routes.

    Mind you, I then fell into the "can I get up this hill in the saddle?" trap instead :roll:

    Neil :lol:
    --
    "Because the cycling is pain. The cycling is soul crushing pain."
Sign In or Register to comment.