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Commuting and training for speed

unscarredunscarred Posts: 208
edited April 2010 in Commuting chat
Hi all, question for the hivemind about working a regular cycle commute into a training programme.

I'm doing my second ever triathlion in 11 weeks, so training needs to kick up a notch after Easter. It's a sprint distance, so the training programmes I'm downloading from various websites seem to be focused on spped - fair enough really, and it's what I need the most work on.

These training programmes recommend cycling just twice a week, and I normally cycle to work four or five times a week, but distances are comparable.

Does anyone have advice about integrating commuting into speed training? Should I be worried about overtraining? Does SCR make good training for a 17km TT?
FCN 6 in the week on the shiny new single speed.

FCN 3 at the weekend - struggling to do it justice!

Posts

  • lastantlastant Posts: 526
    Could you pootle in on a Monday with two sets of clothes (or two lots of whatever it is you usually take in!) and then hammer it / follow the plan on the Tuesday.

    Pootle in again on the Wednesday with two sets of clothes, take back one set that's still left over from Monday's pootle that evening and then hammer it / follow the plan on the Thursday.

    Friday's then business as usual. In my head that works!

    Monday - Pootle. Two sets of whatever, wear / use one of them
    Tuesday - Hammer / Plan. Wear / use the second set from Monday
    Wednesday - Pootle. Two sets of whatever, wear / use one of them, take spares home
    Thursday - Hammer / Plan. Wear / use the second set from Wednesday
    Friday - Pootle. Business as usual. Take home whatever's left from the week

    Might be awkward with food if you take your own (day old sandwiches etc.), but if you buy on Tuesday and Thursday it's not *that* bad. If you buy every day anyway it's no different.
    One Man and LEJOG : End-to-End on Two Wheels in Two Weeks (Buy the book; or Kindle it!)
  • holybinchholybinch Posts: 417
    Pretty sound advice Lastant.
    I might start doing this to try and get a bit better at speed.
    Only problem is carrying my 2 huge locks, since I leave the bike outside on public railings.
    Talking about this, anyone knows Westminster's policies regarding these (and sorry for the hijack)
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  • unscarredunscarred Posts: 208
    lastant wrote:
    Pootle / Hammer / Pootle / Hammer / Pootle

    I like this idea.
    Most of the weight I carry day-to-day is my D-lock, tool set and books etc to read on the train. I can live without the books, just listen to music on the train instead on hammer days. I'm lazy so I buy lunch. It's no great stress to bring two shirts to work - I already leave my suit here as we've got showers and lockers. I think I'll buy a tool roll so I can pare my tools down to absolute minimum. No getting away from the D-lock I'm afraid.

    Do you think stopping for red lights ruins the training? I'm not an RLJer and never will be which is great for sprinting, but it means I get quite a lot of rest breaks. I know it makes a difference from those magic days when every light turns green for you and you realise just how much of a difference recovering at the lights makes!
    FCN 6 in the week on the shiny new single speed.

    FCN 3 at the weekend - struggling to do it justice!
  • jongingejonginge Posts: 5,945
    Stop. Hammer Time And repeat...
    FCN 2-4 "Shut up legs", Jens Voigt
    Planet-x Scott
    Rides
  • il_principeil_principe Posts: 9,146
    jonginge wrote:
    Stop. Hammer Time And repeat...

    What he said; works for me! I've also found that pushing a relatively high geared SS (50*16) has helped no end - sprinting away from lights in that gear has done wonders for me. Perhaps try pushing a harder gear than is comfortable?

    Also when you're sprinting, set yourself a target to reach before you sit down, then when you reach the target set another one a little further on and don't actually sit down til you get there - at which point your legs may well be screaming blue murder! :lol:

    My sister's fella has done a few Tri's and the UK Ironman - he reckoned his commute helped a lot, as did pushing a heavy gear in the aero tuck* for as long as he could maintain. Not scientific I'll grant, but it worked very well for him.

    *clearly not a good idea for the commute!
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    2020 Canyon Ultimate CF SLX
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  • GussioGussio Posts: 2,452
    Sprinting to make the green lights = interval training?

    Not sure how far your commute is, but running rather than cycling once a week might help for a balanced tri training programme. If you live and work by the same river you could even swim to work once a week :D
  • bigmatbigmat Posts: 5,108
    I think the stop / start nature of riding in traffic makes it difficult to do specific training for that kind of event. The whole "hammer down. stop. hammer down. stop" thing is probably more useful for racing where you need to respond to regular changes of pace. Regardless of views on RLJ, I would never recommend going full bore through a red light so really you need to find a route that includes a decent length of uninterrupted road where you can really go for it. Might be worth modifying / extending your regular commute. Of course any sustained effort on the bike will be beneficial so you probably don't need to worry too much, just ride hard and safe!.
  • GussioGussio Posts: 2,452
    MatHammond wrote:
    I think the stop / start nature of riding in traffic makes it difficult to do specific training for that kind of event. The whole "hammer down. stop. hammer down. stop" thing is probably more useful for racing where you need to respond to regular changes of pace. Regardless of views on RLJ, I would never recommend going full bore through a red light so really you need to find a route that includes a decent length of uninterrupted road where you can really go for it. Might be worth modifying / extending your regular commute. Of course any sustained effort on the bike will be beneficial so you probably don't need to worry too much, just ride hard and safe!.

    In addition to helping you respond to changes in pace, I understand that interval / fartlek training conditions your muscles to work more efficiently at speed, allowing longer periods at higher power outputs.
  • il_principeil_principe Posts: 9,146
    Gussio wrote:

    In addition to helping you respond to changes in pace, I understand that interval / fartlek training conditions your muscles to work more efficiently at speed, allowing longer periods at higher power outputs.

    Anerobic threshold innit?
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    2020 Canyon Ultimate CF SLX
    2020 Canyon Inflite SL 7
    On the Strand
    Crown Stables
  • lost_in_thoughtlost_in_thought Posts: 10,563
    Gussio wrote:

    In addition to helping you respond to changes in pace, I understand that interval / fartlek training conditions your muscles to work more efficiently at speed, allowing longer periods at higher power outputs.

    Anerobic threshold innit?

    I'm going to start calling you Mr Science. What's an anaerobic threshold?
  • unscarredunscarred Posts: 208
    Gussio wrote:
    Sprinting to make the green lights = interval training?

    Not sure how far your commute is, but running rather than cycling once a week might help for a balanced tri training programme. If you live and work by the same river you could even swim to work once a week :D

    Thanks, the Basingstoke canal goes most of the way then I could switch to the Thames, but I don't much fancy it to be honest!

    I'll be running twice a week under this plan, as well as swimming once a week, should be pretty balanced. TBH I need to work on speed in all three disciplines! What I'll probably do is get off the train a stop early once or twice a week and run home from there, that's about 5 miles.
    FCN 6 in the week on the shiny new single speed.

    FCN 3 at the weekend - struggling to do it justice!
  • jongingejonginge Posts: 5,945
    Gussio wrote:

    In addition to helping you respond to changes in pace, I understand that interval / fartlek training conditions your muscles to work more efficiently at speed, allowing longer periods at higher power outputs.

    Anerobic threshold innit?

    I'm going to start calling you Mr Science. What's an anaerobic threshold?
    It's the point where your lungs come out through your nose. ;)

    Basically, the body generates the energy it needs to propel the bike through a number of different mechanisms. Low intensity is almost completely aerobic and the body can keep up with demand by burning fat. At higher intensities it burns more carbs. At higher intensities still it burns mostly carbs. At sprint level intensities even that doesn't produce enough energy quickly enough so the mechanism changes to burn carbs without the use of oxygen. You can only sustain this for short periods and the by-products cause the pain in the legs.

    You can train the aerobic system to be more efficient and also push up the AT. For TTs of this length you need to be training Power at Functional Threshold. That's a whole other thing...


    The above is probably wrong in most important respects
    FCN 2-4 "Shut up legs", Jens Voigt
    Planet-x Scott
    Rides
  • il_principeil_principe Posts: 9,146

    I'm going to start calling you Mr Science. What's an anaerobic threshold?

    It's very hurty.

    Ah I see Jon has beaten me to it...*

    *Thank God.
    2015 Canyon Aeroad CF SLX
    2020 Canyon Ultimate CF SLX
    2020 Canyon Inflite SL 7
    On the Strand
    Crown Stables
  • bigmatbigmat Posts: 5,108
    I'm sure "fartlek" (huh huh) training can help but I reckon the best training you can do would be at threshold for longer than the average distance between traffic lights! It all helps though...
  • rjsterryrjsterry Posts: 18,003
    MatHammond wrote:
    I'm sure "fartlek" (huh huh) training can help but I reckon the best training you can do would be at threshold for longer than the average distance between traffic lights! It all helps though...

    From what little I understand, TTs and triathlons are all about sustained effort, which is nigh on impossible on a commute unless you live out in the country or have a bit of dual carriageway or similar on your route. Most of those are a bit hairy to ride on in the rush hour but you might be lucky on your route.
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  • jongingejonginge Posts: 5,945
    Interesting* couple of articles on the Central Governor model:
    http://www.powerrunning.com/Exercise%20 ... rt%201.htm
    http://www.powerrunning.com/Exercise%20 ... rt%202.htm

    You slow down coz you're mentally weak, I tell you! :lol:

    * for a given value of interesting
    FCN 2-4 "Shut up legs", Jens Voigt
    Planet-x Scott
    Rides
  • amneziaamnezia Posts: 590
    rjsterry wrote:
    MatHammond wrote:
    I'm sure "fartlek" (huh huh) training can help but I reckon the best training you can do would be at threshold for longer than the average distance between traffic lights! It all helps though...

    From what little I understand, TTs and triathlons are all about sustained effort, which is nigh on impossible on a commute unless you live out in the country or have a bit of dual carriageway or similar on your route. Most of those are a bit hairy to ride on in the rush hour but you might be lucky on your route.

    Interval training is a very effective way of increasing your lactate threshold which will translate to a higher average power output. Its not difficult to incorporate some kind of interval training into your commute.
  • symosymo Posts: 1,743
    I have found that doing the turbo has had more benefit than any riding I do over the summer months. Especially following the Sufferfest vids the Downward Spiral and Fight Club.

    Also you might want to look at Tabata training methods for truly condensed training.

    Me I am finding this is working to improve cadence and speed.

    Tue - Downward spiral
    Wed - Yoga, nothing to do with cycling but full of bendy women ;)
    Thu - Fight Club
    Fri - Run 20 minutes with sprints between alternate lamposts for last 8 minutes
    Sat - Rest
    Sun - Club ride.

    You really have to work on the turbo days, genuinely hurt yourself.
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  • lastantlastant Posts: 526
    amnezia wrote:
    Its not difficult to incorporate some kind of interval training into your commute.

    Surely it's a case of go like the clappers 'til the next inevitable red light? Sounds easy...I can just never be bothered!

    Bought myself an HRM to try and get a bit better - only problem I have is three days a week I cycle over to the gym, stop for a bit and then start again. Don't want to leave it going for a weights session really and it seems wrong to have that journey as a whole as two seperate readings.
    One Man and LEJOG : End-to-End on Two Wheels in Two Weeks (Buy the book; or Kindle it!)
  • cjcpcjcp Posts: 13,345
    I found every leg of sprint tris to be balls-out, so it's balls-out between the lights and just trying to sustain a high pace.

    I understand pootling (fat burning) is a good way of keeping the weight down, which helps with the running, so some pootling should be incorporated into the commute You'll want to taper the week before the tri.
    FCN 2-4.

    "What happens when the hammer goes down, kids?"
    "It stays down, Daddy."
    "Exactly."
  • unscarredunscarred Posts: 208
    rjsterry wrote:
    From what little I understand, TTs and triathlons are all about sustained effort, which is nigh on impossible on a commute unless you live out in the country or have a bit of dual carriageway or similar on your route. Most of those are a bit hairy to ride on in the rush hour but you might be lucky on your route.

    That's what I'm worried about. My commute is London Waterloo to Canary Wharf, which features so many traffic lights it's not even funny. To be honest, the state some of those roads are in right now I'm not sure I want to go full speed for fear of hitting a big pothole and getting flattened by a truck.
    What he said; works for me! I've also found that pushing a relatively high geared SS (50*16) has helped no end - sprinting away from lights in that gear has done wonders for me. Perhaps try pushing a harder gear than is comfortable?

    I'm currently running 46*16 on my SS, and still getting used to that - had the bike for about a week. I'm pretty slow off the lights at the moment, so I'll leave it a bit before I change that!
    symo wrote:
    I have found that doing the turbo has had more benefit than any riding I do over the summer months. Especially following the Sufferfest vids the Downward Spiral and Fight Club.

    Sounds like a fun way to train at home, and once I've finished moving house I'll consider getting a turbo, but I just can't afford it at the moment!
    FCN 6 in the week on the shiny new single speed.

    FCN 3 at the weekend - struggling to do it justice!
  • symosymo Posts: 1,743
    Whilst they can be expensive, get on eBay and buy a secondhand air resistance unit. Dirt cheap but effective.
    +++++++++++++++++++++
    we are the proud, the few, Descendents.

    Panama - finally putting a nail in the economic theory of the trickle down effect.
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