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Increasing my average speed???

drumsmasherdrumsmasher Posts: 241
Hi!! I am looking at ways to increase my average speed, which depending on weather and course always seems to be around 17-18.5 mph. I am def more of a spinner than a big gear man, but have 2 questions to ask....

1) Should i do more short and fast routes at a higher tempo to increase speed?

2) Should i just pedal as hard as poss on longer routes and once i blow take it easy and then try for longer the next time?

I usually ride on my own and ride anything from 20-100 miles and my average always seems to be around the same!

Thanks
Another tree...another cracked rib!!

Posts

  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    On your normal ride, just do intervals of, say, 5 minutes, when you go that little bit faster than you are comfortable with, recover and repeat...
  • markos1963markos1963 Posts: 3,724
    Your average seems pretty good anyway. Do you ride with a club? if not consider joining one and go out with some of the faster boys. Riding with faster people will motivate you and give you the experience of running hard. You will get dropped(I have many times) but each time it will be later in the ride until eventually you'll keep up. Otherwise the less social way is the old 2x20 tempo rides: warm up for 10 mins then 20 mins at fast pace( level 4 intensisty) have a 5 min rest(light spinning) and then repeat. You should try to ride both sets at the same pace, if the first is quicker than the second than back off on the first next time.
  • BhimaBhima Posts: 2,145
    What is your ideal average speed then? What are you aiming for? There's a limit to what you can do by yourself. The reason that the pro peleton can get to 25-30mph is because when someone gets tired, there's always someone with fresh legs willing to come through and do the work. When you're by yourself, you get tired and slow down.

    Aerodynamics are important stay tucked in as much as possible. Challenege yourself - try and stay on the drops for the whole ride. Harder than you think! Sprint on the downhill bits too.
  • InfamousInfamous Posts: 1,130
    Do number 2.
  • InfamousInfamous Posts: 1,130
    And by that I mean:
    2) Should i just pedal as hard as poss on longer routes and once i blow take it easy and then try for longer the next time?
    not "poo yourself" that will only marginally help.
  • vorsprungvorsprung Posts: 1,953
    Y'know what? Your question is a bit vague. I was about to go into loads of details to help you narrow it down but really what you haven't said is what specifically do you need to go faster for?

    Is it a 100 mile hilly event? A 10 mile time trial? Commuting to work?

    It's true that if you just "go fast" for a period during your regular rides you will get faster overall, eventually. The problem is that you need to experience "overload" doing this. In simple terms your legs/lungs must hurt afterwards. Then you recover. Then you do it again. If you can get the overload and the recovery just right then you will make much more rapid progress. The problem is that your body has a fat burning energy system, an aerobic carbohydrate burning energy system and an anaerobic energy system. They all kick in at different levels of effort. How fit you are at the moment in each of these areas and depending on what sort of event you want to do will effect what training you need to do.
  • drumsmasherdrumsmasher Posts: 241
    markos1963 wrote:
    Your average seems pretty good anyway. Do you ride with a club? if not consider joining one and go out with some of the faster boys. Riding with faster people will motivate you and give you the experience of running hard. You will get dropped(I have many times) but each time it will be later in the ride until eventually you'll keep up. Otherwise the less social way is the old 2x20 tempo rides: warm up for 10 mins then 20 mins at fast pace( level 4 intensisty) have a 5 min rest(light spinning) and then repeat. You should try to ride both sets at the same pace, if the first is quicker than the second than back off on the first next time.

    Cheers for the info mate. I cant join a club as i work shifts that would leave me being only able to attend probably one club run per month. I have considered whether it would be worthwhile but dont know whetehr a club would frown upon that sort of poor attendance.
    Another tree...another cracked rib!!
  • drumsmasherdrumsmasher Posts: 241
    Infamous wrote:
    And by that I mean:
    2) Should i just pedal as hard as poss on longer routes and once i blow take it easy and then try for longer the next time?
    not "poo yourself" that will only marginally help.

    When i first read it i thought you meant do number 2 to lose weight!!! Bit extreme at my level!
    Another tree...another cracked rib!!
  • drumsmasherdrumsmasher Posts: 241
    vorsprung wrote:
    Y'know what? Your question is a bit vague. I was about to go into loads of details to help you narrow it down but really what you haven't said is what specifically do you need to go faster for?

    Is it a 100 mile hilly event? A 10 mile time trial? Commuting to work?

    It's true that if you just "go fast" for a period during your regular rides you will get faster overall, eventually. The problem is that you need to experience "overload" doing this. In simple terms your legs/lungs must hurt afterwards. Then you recover. Then you do it again. If you can get the overload and the recovery just right then you will make much more rapid progress. The problem is that your body has a fat burning energy system, an aerobic carbohydrate burning energy system and an anaerobic energy system. They all kick in at different levels of effort. How fit you are at the moment in each of these areas and depending on what sort of event you want to do will effect what training you need to do.

    I guess thats a good question! Ok, so.....i do ride a lot on my own and when i do ride with mates its very competitive whether that be a general ride or a ride to work (36 miles).
    I recently entered a Sportive and an Audax and found that i struggled to hang on to a lot of the riders. Yes i accept that they are probably Club riders, yes i accept that they are more experienced than i....but the question still remains....How do i get to that level and be able to maintain a higher speed. At times on Saturday i believe it was worrying about staying the distance (100 miles in the wind), by being pushed out of my comfort zone for that long. On rides with the lads i will go to the point of absolute exhaustion to beat them, so i am not scared of effort....but its how do i get with the faster riders.....and leave my mates for dead!! Thanks for your input, it is much appreciated.
    Another tree...another cracked rib!!
  • markos1963markos1963 Posts: 3,724
    markos1963 wrote:
    Your average seems pretty good anyway. Do you ride with a club? if not consider joining one and go out with some of the faster boys. Riding with faster people will motivate you and give you the experience of running hard. You will get dropped(I have many times) but each time it will be later in the ride until eventually you'll keep up. Otherwise the less social way is the old 2x20 tempo rides: warm up for 10 mins then 20 mins at fast pace( level 4 intensisty) have a 5 min rest(light spinning) and then repeat. You should try to ride both sets at the same pace, if the first is quicker than the second than back off on the first next time.

    Cheers for the info mate. I cant join a club as i work shifts that would leave me being only able to attend probably one club run per month. I have considered whether it would be worthwhile but dont know whetehr a club would frown upon that sort of poor attendance.

    Shift worker myself, so I average about one club ride a month but its worth it.In fact it stops me from getting too pally in a certain group. Most clubs have a broad mix of members from all walks of life, if they can't accept your attendance then probably not a club worth joining.
  • vorsprungvorsprung Posts: 1,953
    vorsprung wrote:
    Y'know what? Your question is a bit vague. I was about to go into loads of details to help you narrow it down but really what you haven't said is what specifically do you need to go faster for?

    Is it a 100 mile hilly event? A 10 mile time trial? Commuting to work?
    .



    I guess thats a good question! Ok, so.....i do ride a lot on my own and when i do ride with mates its very competitive whether that be a general ride or a ride to work (36 miles).
    I recently entered a Sportive and an Audax and found that i struggled to hang on to a lot of the riders..

    When I enter audax rides I can't keep up with the lead group or the very strong riders. But I tend to leave the back of the field for dead. I am often on my own in the middle. Anyway...

    So let's say that your goal is to be able to ride at the same level as an "average" club rider at distances of 50 to 100 miles

    Solo, and on a normal bike the club rider would be able to do 100 miles in under 6 hours on "average" terrain. On the flat he or she might be nearer 5 hours. On a hilly course maybe slightly over 6 hours

    So that's your goal, 100 miles in approx 6 hours

    Which is 16 and 2/3s mph. You can already do that speed on some rides. I would guess what you are lacking is the strength to keep pounding away for hour after hour

    To find out what your limits are firstly on one weekend try doing 50 miles in 3 hours
    Warm up for 25 minutes first and then ride at a pace which gives you a speed of 17 mph or more. If you make it to 50 miles in 3 hours ( not counting the warmup ) then keep going until you start to fade a bit. So your schedule should be 1 hour = 17 miles, 2 hours=34 miles, 3 hours =51 miles and if you are still good 4 hours=68 miles etc

    Let's assume you make it to 34 miles in 2 hours and then fail to get to 51 miles in 3 hours

    What I cannot assess from here is exactly what you need to train to make the best progress. In the good 'ole days people just rode many many miles to get the strength to be able to do the big distances. A slightly more modern approach might be this

    http://www.ultracycling.com/training/in ... ining.html

    If you look at this page, the idea is to raise the power available at your maximum sustainable level. This then drags up the power level at lower levels of effort..ie what you might do for 100 miles.
    Although this page is about a ultra distance rider you can adapt what he does. If you fit my example above then your long weekend ride should be an attempt to get to 50 miles in 3 hours, then maybe 68 miles in 4 hour etc etc

    The state of the art in this kind of training is power based assessment instead of heart rate monitoring
  • drumsmasherdrumsmasher Posts: 241
    vorsprung wrote:
    vorsprung wrote:
    Y'know what? Your question is a bit vague. I was about to go into loads of details to help you narrow it down but really what you haven't said is what specifically do you need to go faster for?

    Is it a 100 mile hilly event? A 10 mile time trial? Commuting to work?
    .



    I guess thats a good question! Ok, so.....i do ride a lot on my own and when i do ride with mates its very competitive whether that be a general ride or a ride to work (36 miles).
    I recently entered a Sportive and an Audax and found that i struggled to hang on to a lot of the riders..

    When I enter audax rides I can't keep up with the lead group or the very strong riders. But I tend to leave the back of the field for dead. I am often on my own in the middle. Anyway...

    So let's say that your goal is to be able to ride at the same level as an "average" club rider at distances of 50 to 100 miles

    Solo, and on a normal bike the club rider would be able to do 100 miles in under 6 hours on "average" terrain. On the flat he or she might be nearer 5 hours. On a hilly course maybe slightly over 6 hours

    So that's your goal, 100 miles in approx 6 hours

    Which is 16 and 2/3s mph. You can already do that speed on some rides. I would guess what you are lacking is the strength to keep pounding away for hour after hour

    To find out what your limits are firstly on one weekend try doing 50 miles in 3 hours
    Warm up for 25 minutes first and then ride at a pace which gives you a speed of 17 mph or more. If you make it to 50 miles in 3 hours ( not counting the warmup ) then keep going until you start to fade a bit. So your schedule should be 1 hour = 17 miles, 2 hours=34 miles, 3 hours =51 miles and if you are still good 4 hours=68 miles etc

    Let's assume you make it to 34 miles in 2 hours and then fail to get to 51 miles in 3 hours

    What I cannot assess from here is exactly what you need to train to make the best progress. In the good 'ole days people just rode many many miles to get the strength to be able to do the big distances. A slightly more modern approach might be this

    http://www.ultracycling.com/training/in ... ining.html

    If you look at this page, the idea is to raise the power available at your maximum sustainable level. This then drags up the power level at lower levels of effort..ie what you might do for 100 miles.
    Although this page is about a ultra distance rider you can adapt what he does. If you fit my example above then your long weekend ride should be an attempt to get to 50 miles in 3 hours, then maybe 68 miles in 4 hour etc etc

    The state of the art in this kind of training is power based assessment instead of heart rate monitoring

    Vorsprung...What can I say!! That is exactly the sort of info i was after. The good thing is with this, is it gives me a target....and then another one! Great stuff and once again, your advice is very much appreciated. Thanks!!
    Another tree...another cracked rib!!
  • chrisw12chrisw12 Posts: 1,246
    Vors', fair play some good advice imo from you there. When I saw the title I thought people would be jumping all over this thread with the usual 'av. speed doesn't matter'

    and ok av. speed has it's limitations but as you suggest it can be very good for target setting. I like the idea of the advice of aiming for 50 in 3 and then building up from there.

    The only thing I'd add which works for me is to try to find a circular course with few stopping junctions. I do this so that even if the wind is strong it should all cancel out so you can get a little bit of consistency. Stop junctions can kill average speed and can ruin consistency.
  • Alex_Simmons/RSTAlex_Simmons/RST Posts: 4,161
    chrisw12 wrote:
    The only thing I'd add which works for me is to try to find a circular course with few stopping junctions. I do this so that even if the wind is strong it should all cancel out so you can get a little bit of consistency. Stop junctions can kill average speed and can ruin consistency.
    Even on a loop course ridden at same power a windy day (if wind is relatively consistent) will still slow you down overall compared to a light/no wind day.

    Of course, the wind always changes direction when riding and it always seems to be a headwind :lol:
  • chrisw12chrisw12 Posts: 1,246
    Yeah, I'm aware of that,

    Funnily enough I was going to post somewhere about the dangers of the wind.

    Last weekend I attempted to beat my world record for my favourite long loop. The wind was in a favourable direction for the record as it 'cancelled out' the hilly part of the ride but it was just too strong. The overall effect of the wind gave me an ave speed lower than expected/my effort justified.


    So my further advice then is, if you want to get an average speed record then wait until it drops down to about 5 or 6 on this site :- http://www.xcweather.co.uk/

    and today's the day for me :!:
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