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Using my commute as training

JameyJamey Posts: 2,152
My commute is 14 miles each way and I'm trying to train for the BHF London to Brighton because I'd like to put in a decent time. I know the distances don't compare very well (28-mile commute Vs 54-mile event) but nevertheless I'd like to be making the best possible use of my journeys to and from work, however I'm not sure what the best way to approach and structure it is and would like some help, please.

- Should I be going all-out every day (I'm guessing not)?
- What about doing some of the journeys as 2 x 20 intervals?
- Or maybe I should go all out in the mornings and just pootle home in the evenings?
- Where should I put the rest days and how many do I need?
- After five days of commuting, what should I aim for on the weekends (I've usually got a numb censored by then)?

And I'm sure there are lots more questions I haven't even anticipated. So if anyone can help me build my commutes into useful training I'd appreciate that.

PS I'd also like to maximise calorie loss too, as the whole reason I started cycling to work was to lose weight (currently 6'4'' and about 20 stone - hardly built for speed, especially up hills)

Posts

  • It's 4pm on Friday - leave early and take the long, hilly way home!
  • FSR_XCFSR_XC Posts: 2,258
    Why don't you take a longer route home once or twice a week?
    Stumpjumper FSR 09/10 Pro Carbon, Genesis Vapour CX20 ('17)Carbon, Rose Xeon CW3000 '14, Raleigh R50

    http://www.visiontrack.com
  • JameyJamey Posts: 2,152
    If you guys think that simple distance is the way forward then I'm all ears. I just wondered whether distance alone was the answer or whether I should be trying to increase intensity. Or both.

    And how to structure it.
  • FSR_XCFSR_XC Posts: 2,258
    I don't know how long it is before the ride & I am no expert but . . .

    I would start with a couple of gentle longer rides home - poss 30+ miles

    Then one gentle, one more intense.

    Then make the gentle one longer etc etc.

    I think you get the idea.
    Stumpjumper FSR 09/10 Pro Carbon, Genesis Vapour CX20 ('17)Carbon, Rose Xeon CW3000 '14, Raleigh R50

    http://www.visiontrack.com
  • JameyJamey Posts: 2,152
    Ok, will have to start looking at some maps. Cheers.
  • MettanMettan Posts: 2,103
    edited April 2008
    Jamey wrote:
    My commute is 14 miles each way and I'm trying to train for the BHF London to Brighton because I'd like to put in a decent time. I know the distances don't compare very well (28-mile commute Vs 54-mile event) weekends (I've usually got a numb ars* by then)?

    If you're doing 28 miles a day 5 days a week on your commute, you'll easily be able to do a 54 miler - you might want to try 1 or 2 40 milers in the months building-up though. Make sure you take it easy in the final week before the event, and have the final 3 days off to make sure your muscles are fresh and topped up - make sure you eat before and during the event.
  • JameyJamey Posts: 2,152
    Thanks Mettan.

    I just want to put in a half-decent time (for a fat bloke) and I guess that this is about more than simply training for this one event, if I'm honest.

    I want to have a solid training plan for the future to help weight loss and just make me an all-round better cyclist. And since my commutes account for 95% of my cycling at the moment, it seems logical to try to vary them in a structured way, either by changing distance or intensity on certain days.

    But I don't have a great deal of knowledge about how best to create the structure/plan.
  • ma123ma123 Posts: 87
    Why not try 2 days a week upping your cadence by approx 10% - 15% this will help with the weight loss.

    Also from standing starts (traffic lights ETC) try moving away in a higher gear than normal to strenghten the legs.(try it first time when theres no traffic).

    As above get miles into your legs but gradually , maybe have one day off commuting to do a longer ride.
  • ma123 wrote:
    Why not try 2 days a week upping your cadence by approx 10% - 15% this will help with the weight loss.

    Hi there.

    Can you explain how this works?

    Cheers, Andy
  • chrisw12chrisw12 Posts: 1,246
    'in hell Andrew I was going to post that on Sturday but was too afraid to ask.

    Just wondering, is that how that Lance guy lost all that weight? :)
  • ma123 wrote:
    Why not try 2 days a week upping your cadence by approx 10% - 15% this will help with the weight loss.
    I have to admit that's a new one on me. Weight loss via cadence training. Interesting. :?

    now that's a big red herring :lol:
  • InfamousInfamous Posts: 1,158
    If upping your cadence is more efficient (as generally suggested) then you would actually use less calories, assuming speed and distance was the same.

    So grinding a big gear is more likely to make you lose weight in that case.
  • redddraggonredddraggon Posts: 10,862
    Infamous wrote:
    If upping your cadence is more efficient (as generally suggested) then you would actually use less calories, assuming speed and distance was the same.

    So grinding a big gear is more likely to make you lose weight in that case.

    A higher cadence is not necessarily more efficient - it's supposedly less strain/strain on the legs but takes more cardiovascular fitness to maintain the higher cadence.
    I like bikes...

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  • BlackHelmetBlackHelmet Posts: 113
    Jamey wrote:
    My commute is 14 miles each way and I'm trying to train for the BHF London to Brighton because I'd like to put in a decent time. I know the distances don't compare very well (28-mile commute Vs 54-mile event) but nevertheless I'd like to be making the best possible use of my journeys to and from work, however I'm not sure what the best way to approach and structure it is and would like some help, please.

    - Should I be going all-out every day (I'm guessing not)?
    - What about doing some of the journeys as 2 x 20 intervals?
    - Or maybe I should go all out in the mornings and just pootle home in the evenings?
    - Where should I put the rest days and how many do I need?
    - After five days of commuting, what should I aim for on the weekends (I've usually got a numb ars* by then)?

    And I'm sure there are lots more questions I haven't even anticipated. So if anyone can help me build my commutes into useful training I'd appreciate that.

    PS I'd also like to maximise calorie loss too, as the whole reason I started cycling to work was to lose weight (currently 6'4'' and about 20 stone - hardly built for speed, especially up hills)

    With 28-miles/day a 54-mile event should be well within you already. I tend to take it relatively easy on the way to work and use the return journey for specific training, which could be a tempo ride, intervals or a slightly longer distance (or just take it easy). You'll hopefully find this adds real variety to what can easily become a mundane commute home and help keep you motivated and enjoying your commute. Good luck.
  • cjcpcjcp Posts: 13,345
    Jamey wrote:
    Thanks Mettan.

    I just want to put in a half-decent time (for a fat bloke) and I guess that this is about more than simply training for this one event, if I'm honest.

    I want to have a solid training plan for the future to help weight loss and just make me an all-round better cyclist. And since my commutes account for 95% of my cycling at the moment, it seems logical to try to vary them in a structured way, either by changing distance or intensity on certain days.

    But I don't have a great deal of knowledge about how best to create the structure/plan.

    Jamey

    Does this plan include sticking to a diet of some sort? I used to eat large, lardy sandwiches at lunchtime, but changed to soup. That, as well as the daily commute, also around 14 miles, helped with the weight loss, meaning I became fitter and faster a bit quicker.

    I don't make decisions in advance about how fast I'll go. It depends on things like the traffic, the weather and how I'm feeling. And also whether my wife says I have to be home to put the kids to bed in which case I have no option but to leg it all the way!
    FCN 2-4.

    "What happens when the hammer goes down, kids?"
    "It stays down, Daddy."
    "Exactly."
  • JameyJamey Posts: 2,152
    Yes, I'm trying to eat better too.
  • Don't forget that if you're training specifically for the London-to-Brighton run, there's a nasty sustained climb at the end, which your normal commute may not give you much practice for (mine didn't ;) )
  • JameyJamey Posts: 2,152
    Ditchling, yeah, I know.

    I went out hill climbing Saturday evening just for a bit of practice. I made it up a 14% gradient hill that's about a third of the height of Ditchling, but I was in Granny gear.
  • samoffsamoff Posts: 128
    I'm no training expert, but having been in a similar position I found half the battle was to keep the commute interesting. The best way is to mix the route up as much as you can, but that's not always possible.

    The obvious thing to do is to get obsessed by the speedo. I got to the point of plotting tables and graphs in spreadsheets that also took into account the met office recorded weather conditions. The trouble with this is that it means going balls-out everytime which a) probably isn't good training (although nobody on this thread has said as much yet) and b) isn't something you can keep doing every day.

    Once I was obsessed with the speedo I started devising other games.
    Like pick-a-speed-and-stick-to-it: that means same speed and same gear all the way home - not that easy when your route undulates and your're turning in and out of the wind. It also means you've got to get away from the lights and up to, say, 14.3mph quick as you can in a high gear.

    I don't know anything about interval training, but another good way of breaking things up is the blast-and-hang-on ride, where you go as fast as you can on ceratin set sections of the ride and just ride normally in between. Like I say, I don't know if it strengthens your cardiovasculars or whatever, but it certainly helps you ability to 'suffer' when you know another sprint bit is coming up ahead.
    "Check your sheds! Check your sheds! I think I've lost my mind" Half Man Half Biscuit
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