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How do you know when....

SCR PedroSCR Pedro Posts: 912
Hey there,

How do you know when you have enough of an aerobic base (or aerobic capacity/limit, whatever you call it)?

The reason I ask is because I am painfully slow compared to what I was doing in the summer. The winds aren't any stronger, it wasn't cold today, but I went over 4kph slower and with a higher average heart rate.

I have been doing intervals on the turbo trainer, so I can still cope well enough with any hill, but throughout the ride I was pushing hard and getting nowhere for it. Could it be that my aerobic capacity has dropped? Do I need to do more endurance rides? For instance, I wanted to do an endurance pace today, but in a 1h54m ride, 1hr8m was spent over 80%

I don't believe that the extra clothing or colder temperatures could cost me 4-5kph, and my route/diet/lifestyle hasn't changed.

Any ideas? because it is really frustrating to finish the ride and see how slow I've gone.

Cheers
Pedro
Giant TCR Advanced II - Reviewed on my homepage
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Posts

  • Is your bike well maintained? Have you been unwell or maybe over trained? Hows your stress levels? Are you drinking as much as you were in the summer? Do you have appropriate clothing for the temp?
  • Hey mate,

    My bike is pretty well maintained. I stripped it down just before winter and greased it all up. Maybe the tyres are getting on a bit, but nothing worse than that.

    Well, I really don't think I have over trained. The weather is keeping me in at the moment. Fluid intake is probably the same as summer, but I am certainly more stressed than I have been in recent months. Clothing is appropriate. I was quite warm today.

    I am thinking that it may be a lack of protein in my diet. Sugar intake has been high recently, although I have lost weight if anything (61.2kg earlier).

    Maybe I'm just censored at riding bikes?

    Pedro
    Giant TCR Advanced II - Reviewed on my homepage
    Giant TCR Alliance Zero
    BMC teammachineSLR03
    The Departed
    Giant SCR2
    Canyon Roadlite
    Specialized Allez
    Some other junk...
  • InfamousInfamous Posts: 1,130
    You never have "enough" of an aerobic base, your aerobic system determines how fast you go, you always want to be improving this.

    Don't do any of that riding slow nonsense, unless you have 25 hours a week to train in (even then, you still do a lot of fast miles). Do some 10-20 minute intervals on the road, see if they help, or find a long hill and keep climbing it.

    We'd need to know more about you to understand why you are slower now. How often do you ride. How many hours a week do you ride now, and during the summer.
  • MettanMettan Posts: 2,103
    SCR Pedro wrote:
    The weather is keeping me in at the moment.

    Pedro

    I find that if I'm off the bike for more than 6 or 7 days (approx) my performance starts to suffer. I'd imagine, getting back outdoors on a regular basis would see your performance improve. There aren't too many substitutes to hitting the Wind, constant surface changes, standing water, constant gradient changes etc etc etc when Road riding. (All imho). At present I nip out for brief HIT 9-10 milers (on part of a local TT course) to keep me ticking over - they only take 31 - 34 minutes, hence can be fitted in throughout the days.
  • Ok here goes,

    I'll use July, because that was my best month for distance and hours put in.

    Total Distance: 990.64km
    Average Distance Per Ride: 45.02km

    Total Hours: 39:13.10
    Average Time Per Ride: 1:46.48

    Average Speed Per Stage: 25.58kph
    Best Average Speed: 27.8kph
    Worst Average Speed: 23.2kph (according to log, I was hammered by headwinds that day)

    Average HR Per Stage: 149 BPM or 76.8%


    Now, here are some stats from November (including Turbo Trainer):

    Total Distance: 422.85km
    Average Distance Per Stage: 42.21km

    Total Hours: 18:53.24
    Average Time Per Ride: 1:51

    Average Speed Per Stage: 22.8kph
    Highest Average: 24.9kph
    Lowest Average: 20.9kph

    Average HR Per Stage: 148bpm or 76.3% (but because I didn't do many rides, a couple of low intensity rides have brought the figure down.)

    I am: 28. 178cm. 62kg with a max HR of 197 and a resting HR of below 50

    In the summer I was out almost every day, but now twice a week at best. That would explain a lot, but I wouldn't expect to lose almost 4kph because of that, because I am doing more threshold intervals on the turbo trainer than I had been all year.

    You are probably right, I need to put in a few more hours per week. The figures from this winter are quite close to the figures from last winter, but I would have thought that my fitness from the summer would stay with me for a lot longer.

    Cheers
    Pedro
    Giant TCR Advanced II - Reviewed on my homepage
    Giant TCR Alliance Zero
    BMC teammachineSLR03
    The Departed
    Giant SCR2
    Canyon Roadlite
    Specialized Allez
    Some other junk...
  • InfamousInfamous Posts: 1,130
    In the summer I was out almost every day, but now twice a week at best. That would explain a lot, but I wouldn't expect to lose almost 4kph because of that, because I am doing more threshold intervals on the turbo trainer than I had been all year.
    It's clearly what has happened! You worked quite hard over the summer, built to a decent level of fitness, then stopped riding as much. Twice a week is not enough to stop you from detraining, so your fitness got worse.

    Aslo I wouldn't take much notice of the HRM, use it to tell you how hard you are going, don't pace yourself by it.

    The best thing you can do is HTFU and get on your bike!
  • chrisw12chrisw12 Posts: 1,246
    I wouldn't worry too much, I think it's inevitable you're going to be slower in the winter. The big two to slow you down (I reckon) are the bulk of clothes that you need to wear will severely effect your aerodynamics. The other one is that as air temperature drops speed will also drop.

    I don't know how much of a difference they make (I'm sure someone will either do the maths or contradict me) but I think they are significant.

    Also a big one for me as I do my intervals on long hills is the weight of clothing you have to wear this time of year. Throw in a bit of rain and you can end up with some seriously heavy kit!
  • InfamousInfamous Posts: 1,130
    i've never noticed the clothes thing to be honest, I set a PB last week in winter clothes, so I doubt it affects you enough to knock 3km/h off your average speed.
  • I certainly agree that going out more would do a lot to help, but I thought that the intervals sessions would be worth something. I suppose intervals are worthless without a strong aerobic base.

    And while I am going out maybe twice a week, it is usually for 2 hours at a time, and there would also be a weights session (I know, worthless to cycling) and 1-2 intervals sessions a week.

    I suppose I should just get out more then. A 50 miler on Christmas day is in order, I think!

    Cheers
    Pedro
    Giant TCR Advanced II - Reviewed on my homepage
    Giant TCR Alliance Zero
    BMC teammachineSLR03
    The Departed
    Giant SCR2
    Canyon Roadlite
    Specialized Allez
    Some other junk...
  • milton50milton50 Posts: 3,856
    Do you have a goal in terms of racing or do you just enjoy cycling and improving your performance? I ask because what you are doing is pretty much the opposite to the normal training cycle. Usually you would put in the long miles over the winter and then start intervals some time in the new year. What you seem to have done is finished the season and then started to do more intervals!

    Also how long are you leaving between interval sessions and going out on rides? You have to accept that intense interval sessions need to be recovered from.
  • chrisw12chrisw12 Posts: 1,246
    Infamous wrote:
    i've never noticed the clothes thing to be honest, I set a PB last week in winter clothes, so I doubt it affects you enough to knock 3km/h off your average speed.

    I think you need to re-read my post because I never put a figure on it, I was just offering an explanation for some of it.

    Given you've been ridding for one year, are you surprised that you're setting pb's this time of year? Come back this time next year and see if you can match next summers times.

    Sorry I am, being argumentative as my 2x20 intervals are now taking 23 mins so I can sympathise with the op and I am looking for excuses. It doesn't help when a relative newbie comes on here saying about winter pb's that I can only dream about. :D

    Well done by the way, keep at it. :wink:
  • InfamousInfamous Posts: 1,130
    chrisw12 wrote:
    Infamous wrote:
    i've never noticed the clothes thing to be honest, I set a PB last week in winter clothes, so I doubt it affects you enough to knock 3km/h off your average speed.

    I think you need to re-read my post because I never put a figure on it, I was just offering an explanation for some of it.

    Given you've been ridding for one year, are you surprised that you're setting pb's this time of year? Come back this time next year and see if you can match next summers times.

    Sorry I am, being argumentative as my 2x20 intervals are now taking 23 mins so I can sympathise with the op and I am looking for excuses. It doesn't help when a relative newbie comes on here saying about winter pb's that I can only dream about. :D
    The only reason I got the PB is because I have ridden much more in the last couple of months than I have in the summer months. So you are right, however I do not believe that the couple of extra layers will hold someone back enough to slow them down 3km/h (I know you didn't say it, but that is how much slower he is in the OP). I was trying to say that winter itself won't slow you down by that much, if it did, I wouldn't of PB'd.

    and if you just look at the time he spent on the bike, it's quite obvious what the problem is IMO.
  • Milton50 wrote:
    Do you have a goal in terms of racing or do you just enjoy cycling and improving your performance? I ask because what you are doing is pretty much the opposite to the normal training cycle. Usually you would put in the long miles over the winter and then start intervals some time in the new year. What you seem to have done is finished the season and then started to do more intervals!

    Also how long are you leaving between interval sessions and going out on rides? You have to accept that intense interval sessions need to be recovered from.

    Hey there,

    You make a good point. Let me explain...

    I feel that there are too many winter training plans out there. Some people will say that riding at endurance pace all winter is nonsense, and others swear by it. The reason I do intervals is because there are days when the weather is too bad to get out, so I try and make up for it by getting on the turbo trainer, and like I said earlier I think it pays off when I am doing hill work when I do finally get out on the road. My goal for next year is to do some longer rides (>100km) at something a bit better than 25kph. I might enter a race or sportive if I am brave enough.

    Also, the day after intervals is always a day off, and I never do more than 2 sessions per week. I have thought about using the Tacx video cycling and riding them at a tempo pace. Is this more likely to benefit me than intervals? I accept there is no real substitute for getting out on the road. But when it's blowing a gale outside and pouring down, I just lose interest.

    Cheers
    Pedro
    Giant TCR Advanced II - Reviewed on my homepage
    Giant TCR Alliance Zero
    BMC teammachineSLR03
    The Departed
    Giant SCR2
    Canyon Roadlite
    Specialized Allez
    Some other junk...
  • I had a two week lay off because of the flu and haven't lost anything. I also had a week break not long before that but I am pushing the same gears on climbs and am generally just as fit. I might have lost a tiny bit of fitness.


    The winter is hard,full stop. I find I have no enthusiasm at all and it's just a case of gearing up and riding 4 times a week to tick over. I keep saying to myself while I am out there: come on, the drive'll come back, hang in there. Lol.

    Anybody else the same as this? I was training pretty hard at the back end of the summer and well into the Autumn.
  • TonymufcTonymufc Posts: 1,016
    Patrick1.0 wrote:
    I had a two week lay off because of the flu and haven't lost anything. I also had a week break not long before that but I am pushing the same gears on climbs and am generally just as fit. I might have lost a tiny bit of fitness.


    The winter is hard,full stop. I find I have no enthusiasm at all and it's just a case of gearing up and riding 4 times a week to tick over. I keep saying to myself while I am out there: come on, the drive'll come back, hang in there. Lol.

    Anybody else the same as this? I was training pretty hard at the back end of the summer and well into the Autumn.

    I'm pretty much in the same boat. I commute to work several times a week which although its not that far (8 miles) it probably keeps me ticking over. I set off for work at 5.45am and keep telling myself that the warmth is on its way. Motivation is a serious factor at this time of year for most people, so is it any wonder that people's performances suffer. My average speed has dropped a little but during the cold months I try to get in some good hill work. I am a four season cyclist but in the winter I don't know anything worse than having frost bitten digits.
  • BlondeBlonde Posts: 3,188
    OP mentions high sugar intake. This can lead (rather counter intuitively) to low blood sugar after the initial boost, which would defintely effect your cycling. Try to get a steady relase of energy by eating lower to medium GI foods at regular intervals. Try to avoid high sugar drinks, cakes and sweets, unless you have them as part of a meal when the effects wil be counter-balanced a little by the other, lower GI food you're consuming before/with them. Also try not to rely too much on caffeine, because whan the effect wears off you can feel like you have even less energy than before!

    Of course, as others have said you may simply have had a bad day - due to stress, lack of good quality sleep, lack of recovery from a previous ride/exercise session, a virus, dehydration, etc. If you ride every day (commute) I'd say that lack of recovery was another likely cause. Remember work really gets in the way! If you work full time you still have to cycle home after a full days work.... it is tiring! Haven't you noticed how easy it all becomes when you are on holday and also somewhere sunny to boot, with perhaps no shopping, housework or cooking to do either?!!
  • Hi there,

    I went out for another 2 hour ride today. The winds were heavier and I did an extra 3km and went 0.1km slower, but with an average HR of 8 BPM less. Take from that what you will, but I was pretty knackered after fighting the wind up in the hills.

    I shall make a few dietary changes, I'm eating too much cake at the moment, and I'll also get in a few more miles when possible.

    As for the intervals sessions, that seems to be a grey area. I'm not sure what to do about that.

    Thanks for all the replies.

    Cheers
    Pedro
    Giant TCR Advanced II - Reviewed on my homepage
    Giant TCR Alliance Zero
    BMC teammachineSLR03
    The Departed
    Giant SCR2
    Canyon Roadlite
    Specialized Allez
    Some other junk...
  • milton50milton50 Posts: 3,856
    The interval sessions aren't bad per se. They would only be detrimental to performance if you were cramming too much intensity into your week, which doesn't sound likely. Perhaps your body is just going through a fatigued phase. Maybe just leave everything for 5/6 days and see if you feel much fresher when you pick it up again.
  • Sorry if this seems a bit blunt but you are training half the hours you were in July and you are wondering why fitness is lower :?:

    I'm not sure diet is what's holding you back. A lack of hard work maybe. :wink:

    < 20hrs / month is just scratching the surface of fitness development. Maybe enough to enjoy your riding but it would be pretty unrealistic to expect to make continual fitness gains. If you are only doing 4.5hrs/week, you'll want to make 'em count.
  • You're riding on a turbo in November. The speed is meaningless compared to outside unless you've done a careful calibration exercise. Is this skewing your averages?
  • liversedgeliversedge Posts: 1,002
    yeah Patrick1.0 I'm the same as you - 2 weeks of with the mother of all flus but after 6 days of getting on with it I'm back where I was - which is a bit of a relief to be honest.

    Winter is the worst bit of riding a bike. I reckon winter is about maintaining and incremental improvements to fitness and making sure come spring you can really up the intensity and volume and see step changes in performance.
    --
    Obsessed is just a word elephants use to describe the dedicated. http://markliversedge.blogspot.com
  • softladsoftlad Posts: 3,513
    SCR Pedro wrote:
    I went out for another 2 hour ride today. The winds were heavier and I did an extra 3km and went 0.1km slower, but with an average HR of 8 BPM less. Take from that what you will, but I was pretty knackered after fighting the wind up in the hills.

    pedro - do yourself a favour and throw the HRM in the bin - do not live your life by it. Ride your bike and enjoy it. I used to train with a HRM when I was racing, but I never got hung up about a few BPM here & there - just use it to stay in your target zones.

    Ride as long, or as fast or as often as you feel like and the rest will follow. Unless there is a specific point or purpose to your 'training regime', then just try to enjoy yourself instead.
  • I do use my HRM to try and keep an eye on my zones, but I find that I can breach my zone by 5% without even noticing, so I use it to back off a bit and avoid blowing up.

    I went out today riding on perceived exertion and did ok. I went 20km farther than usual and gained 1.2kph on my current average. So a good day overall.

    I've done 6h42m in the last 3 rides, so hopefully I can keep the momentum going.

    Cheers
    Pedro
    Giant TCR Advanced II - Reviewed on my homepage
    Giant TCR Alliance Zero
    BMC teammachineSLR03
    The Departed
    Giant SCR2
    Canyon Roadlite
    Specialized Allez
    Some other junk...
  • liversedgeliversedge Posts: 1,002
    < 20hrs / month is just scratching the surface of fitness development.

    I've been thinking about adjusting my volume over the next couple of months from 8hrs aweek up to 12 hours aweek - mostly by increasing the current workout durations by 50%.

    Is there a "sweet spot" for volume as well as intensity or maybe a sweet spot for daily TSS?
    --
    Obsessed is just a word elephants use to describe the dedicated. http://markliversedge.blogspot.com
  • liversedge wrote:
    Is there a "sweet spot" for volume as well as intensity or maybe a sweet spot for daily TSS?
    No, as it depends on many things (especially rest of life factors and riding history) and more is not necessarily better. I've had riders where I have lowered their CTL and they go much better as a result but they are usually in the 120+ CTL area to start with. I generally find a CTL under 80 TSS/day and a rider's form is patchy.

    One can certainly get good fitness on much less than a CTL of 80 but consistency and depth of form is a whole 'nuther ball game.

    Composition of those CTL also matters.
  • SCR Pedro wrote:
    I do use my HRM to try and keep an eye on my zones, but I find that I can breach my zone by 5% without even noticing, so I use it to back off a bit and avoid blowing up.
    I went out today riding on perceived exertion and did ok. I went 20km farther than usual and gained 1.2kph on my current average. So a good day overall.

    I've done 6h42m in the last 3 rides, so hopefully I can keep the momentum going.

    Cheers
    Pedro

    Why don't you just let your body tell you when to ease off? Unless you actually racing then to be honest using an HRM to dictate how hard you go is probaly not actually helping much, and doubt its actually telling you anything useful anyway. If you *easily* push yourself beyond certain limits, then maybe those limits are not set right.
    It's pretty easy to feel when your breathing becomes deep, and when your legs start to burn. If you ride in the deep breathing and above "zone" I'd guess you were well into aerobic capacity development, and every short leg burn spring or dig in up a small hill is helping your anaerobic capacity. What rate your heart beats at in those PE zones is for most of us pretty unimportant!
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