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Massively Increasing Mileage?

redddraggonredddraggon Posts: 10,862
I'm about to finish my 12month industrial placement (for uni), which means I'll have 3 good (hopefully) summer months before I'm back at uni to get out on my bike 4 or 5 times a week - hopefully covering at least 60 or so hilly miles each time.

I currently only cover 60 - 100 miles a week, most of it commuting. I did do a metric century last weekend with no problems (apart from slightly inadequate fuelling) - the day after I felt fine and could have done it again.

I know the rule/advice is to increase your average mileage by about 10% each week, but with correct fueling, comfortable bike, and good motivation is it safe to initially ramp up distances covered by 300+% a week? I'm unlikely to get anything more than a part time job during the summer so I should be able to factor in plenty of rest.
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  • KléberKléber Posts: 6,842
    But there's nothing wrong with doing some longer rides as it sounds like you have the fitness already to cope with long rides, so the gentle 10% increase isn't so important.

    But you might find the rides are ok but the cumulative effect can knock you hard by the end of a week. Push yourself too hard and you'll get ill. Besides, upping by 300% means up to 300 miles a week, or 55 miles EVERY day. That's fine but it will rain, you'll be tired etc, and so you probably won't be doing as much.
  • I would advise a gentler ramp rate, unless you've been there before and have a history of knowing you can manage the high loads.

    "The more you train, the more you can train." - Andy Coggan
  • BronzieBronzie Posts: 4,927
    "Be careful not to overdo it otherwise you'll get knee tendonitis" - Bronzie :wink:
  • BronzieBronzie Posts: 4,927
    Depends what your goals are. If you are just riding for enjoyment, then lots of long rides is all well and good, but if you want to get faster you'll need to do some shorter more intense rides.

    Miles + Miles + Miles does not equal faster.
  • redddraggonredddraggon Posts: 10,862
    I don't have any definite goals yet, but doing some racing in 2009 is a definite possibility - possibly some hill climbs at the end of this year if I ditch enough weight. I seem to do plenty of high intensity rides already - but perhaps I could structure them a bit better.

    Speed is not so much of an issue, as on the flat I have no problems keeping above 20mph for extended lengths of time, but as soon as the road slopes upwards I start to struggle. I'm still carrying some of my rugby playing mass - so I really need to ditch a couple of stone to keep going on ascents. I feel that by losing the weight (both upper body muscle and fat) it'll initially make the biggest difference to my performance, and then I can worry about intervals and getting even faster.
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  • ColinJColinJ Posts: 2,218
    I would advise a gentler ramp rate, unless you've been there before and have a history of knowing you can manage the high loads.

    "The more you train, the more you can train." - Andy Coggan
    I have a history of getting fit through the year then letting it all go again over the winter, so I don't tend to make much progress from year to year.

    I started going to training camps every March (couldn't afford one this year :cry: ) and I'd arrive in Spain with something pathetic like 100 miles total in my legs for the whole winter! I'd then go mad and do about 700 fast hilly-mountainous miles in 12 days of riding with just one rest day. My body could just about sustain that workload, but I'd come back knackered and immediately get ill.

    I went to Spain last March, for once having kept going through the winter and I managed my 700 miles, no problem and... that time I didn't get ill. It certainly taught me to take a more gradual approach.

    Having said that, I know that if I'd been doing a regular 60-100 miles per week, my body could cope with stepping up to 300 if I made sure that I was having 3 days rest. I've been cycling for nearly 20 years and I know what I can/can't do, but that was Alex's point. If you have to ask the question, you obviously aren't sure what you are capable of. My advice would be - if you want to, have a go but be vigilant, and back off immediately if you start to show signs of overtraining.
  • BronzieBronzie Posts: 4,927
    Speed is not so much of an issue, as on the flat I have no problems keeping above 20mph for extended lengths of time
    Why wait 'til 2009 - just choose a flat course or get down the track 8)
  • azzerbazzerb Posts: 208
    I'm in the same boat as you. Though, all i'm doing currently is about 4 hours of intense training, with the occasional 14-30mile ride a week. I'll have the 3 months before uni, and want to bump up the hours in the saddle, but still do a fair bit of intense riding.

    As you're going back to uni, and i know there is an inter-university time trial competition, do you go? and do you know how easy it is to compete in it?
  • redddraggonredddraggon Posts: 10,862
    azzerb wrote:
    As you're going back to uni, and i know there is an inter-university time trial competition, do you go? and do you know how easy it is to compete in it?

    I don't know much about the uni competitions - I spent my first two years playing rugby. My friends just seemed to be doing normal Cat 4/3/2/1 etc races - the only University specific thing I heard about off them is the BUSA Hill Climb Championships (or something like that).
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  • oldwelshmanoldwelshman Posts: 4,733
    I think it depends on the individual.
    I had to do a similar thing to get fit so went from 100 miles to 250 miles a week for 4 weeks to get fit to race.
    Even worse, half my mileage was on the track :D
    I did make sure I mised the rides thoug. Did 40 miles just above recovery pace, then 60 miles with some hard bits, then 40 steady etc.
    I was just taking advantage of the weather.
    You cannot expect to ramp up to 300 miles a week all high intensity though.
  • azzerbazzerb Posts: 208
    azzerb wrote:
    As you're going back to uni, and i know there is an inter-university time trial competition, do you go? and do you know how easy it is to compete in it?

    I don't know much about the uni competitions - I spent my first two years playing rugby. My friends just seemed to be doing normal Cat 4/3/2/1 etc races - the only University specific thing I heard about off them is the BUSA Hill Climb Championships (or something like that).

    Yeah, i read somat about that last September when i was looking at uni's, but it seemed rather early to get sorted with uni and then go do that. Ah, well, i'm pretty sure there is a 25mile one too at the end of the year. May see you there, maybe not, as my (hopeful) uni's road club is integrated with the triathlon club lol.
  • NJKNJK Posts: 194
    I'm about to finish my 12month industrial placement (for uni), which means I'll have 3 good (hopefully) summer months before I'm back at uni to get out on my bike 4 or 5 times a week - hopefully covering at least 60 or so hilly miles each time.

    I currently only cover 60 - 100 miles a week, most of it commuting. I did do a metric century last weekend with no problems (apart from slightly inadequate fuelling) - the day after I felt fine and could have done it again.

    I know the rule/advice is to increase your average mileage by about 10% each week, but with correct fueling, comfortable bike, and good motivation is it safe to initially ramp up distances covered by 300+% a week? I'm unlikely to get anything more than a part time job during the summer so I should be able to factor in plenty of rest.

    The 10% isn't very good and was probably dreamed up by the health club masses. No proof that you will do yourself harm if you increase volume by 15% or 5%. You just have to listen to what your body is telling you. What you need to do is establish a consistent training week regarding frequency of training, then build from there.
  • the rate at which you can optimally ramp up training is not as simple as 10 or 15% per week increase in volume.

    The lower your initial volume, the higher the ramp you can sustain. But as your training volumes increases, so must the ramp rate in terms of volume decline (unless of course your overall intensity reduces).

    For example, a rider currently training six hours per week, may be able to sustain a 10 to 15% increase in training volume each week for many weeks, but a rider currently training 10 hours per week, may only be able to sustain a five to eight per cent increase per week.

    What tends to happen however, is that riders who increase volume substantially need to schedule additional recovery.

    layered on top of that, of course, is variations in the intensity of training.

    YMMV.
  • Mike WillcoxMike Willcox Posts: 1,770
    It's one thing talking about doing 5/6 60 mile a day hilly rides a week for 3 months (and from a 100 mile a week base), and it's quite another doing it. If you don't believe me then try it and see.

    If you aren't going to use that fitness for something this year then neither will you be sufficently motivated to do it , and nor will you see any benefit from it for next year. If you have nothing to target then why not just go out and enjoy riding your bike for the fun of it without hanging "must do" mileages a week around your neck.

    Within a month or so your fitness will start to come on; your enthusiasm will still be high and there is every chance that you'll want to compete. In your case I think that riding with others socially (club runs etc.) would make good sense
  • chrisw12chrisw12 Posts: 1,246
    Must agree with Mike here. If you decide to do a lot of miles for the sake of doing a lot of miles, you will quickly get bored and fed up with it. Better to give your self an aim and a reason for doing the miles. Racing/timetrialing is a good excuse to rack up the miles
  • redddraggonredddraggon Posts: 10,862
    I'm not doing it for no reason, I want to get comfortable doing regular 4/5 hour rides, lose a bit of my rugby playing mass, and get fit enough to keep up with the cycling club when I'm back to university in September.

    When I said 300% increase over my base of 60 - 100miles I didn't necessarily mean 300% of 100miles (at least right away) - my aim was making August a 1000 mile month - July a bit less - and June less again.
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  • another one agreeing with Mike. Just go and enjoy riding your bike - if it were me I'd consider each day as a bike ride; an adventure and not a training ride, i.e. the goal is to fill your day with interest that happens to be based around riding a bike.
    You'll do the miles, as its fun, without the *pressure* of thinking you have to go hard. Go as hard or as slow as you feel, take a camera and stop and take pics.
    You won't have many chances like this again in life to indulge yourself, save the pressure training till when you have to out of necessity due to the pressures of work/family etc. I reckon you'll end up doing more miles which by nature of how you are riding.
  • it's an interesting perspective. I find that some riders need more structure than others. Indeed some benefit from having a goal to achieve each and every single day. Sometimes it is that that gets them out of bed, on the bike and out there, and usually with 15 minutes, they are enjoying it anyway. They are especially happy when they return home after having completed the work out.

    In the end we all have to find our own motivations for getting out there and enjoying the ride.
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