How long until I stop being slow?! :)

daysofspeed
daysofspeed Posts: 105
edited February 2012 in Road beginners
Doing 20-30 mile weekly rides (hard/impossible to get out aside from the weekend).

I'm enjoying it, I'm doing ok, but will I need months at this rate to start seeing an improvement?

I'm getting mashed by other riders non-stop. Of course it's horses for courses and it's not easy to predict how out of shape I am now - but any tales of newbies improving will help greatly.

Comments

  • bianchimoon
    bianchimoon Posts: 3,942
    I started relatively old, was doing 12 mile circuits at 12mph at first (was on a MTB) after a while aimed at 15mph for same circuit, now aiming at 20mph, same with C2C ride first one was over 3 days, next one 2 days, in may will do it in a day. Just take it a step at a time, you'll get there, It won't get any easier, you'll just push a bit harder as the weeks/months go by, before you know it you'll be up to speed with regular cyclists. One tip that made a difference to me was find a gear that you can push comfortably, then go up a cog so you're spinning slightly faster than you would. This will make the heart work harder rather than the thighs and give you more endurance - good luck
    All lies and jest..still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest....
  • suzyb
    suzyb Posts: 3,449
    Never if you're anything like me (which is fat and still unfit despite getting off my @rse a couple of years ago and starting cycling again after 10 years of inactivity)
  • smidsy
    smidsy Posts: 5,273
    edited February 2012
    Difficult one this. Guess it depends how often you go out and how hard you push.

    I started 4 weeks ago after a 20 year break (now ahem 40). I am active but not fit (run around picking motorbikes up when they crash - long story).

    The first time I went out I tried for 8 miles on a basically flat route (few shallow climbs but by no means hills) and had to stop before the end - thought I would never get there.

    I have been out on that route 8 or 9 times since and I have also now upped my route to a 13 mile loop and tagged on to a few local chaps who are putting up with my feeble attempts (which I can now do in about 55 mins). So all in all I have been out about 12 times in 4 weeks (hardly epic).

    I have found that although it does not feel particularly easy I am progressing and it is surprising how the improvement creeps up on you.

    I guess if you are only able to go out once a week it is going to take exponentially longer than if you go out 3 or 4 times a week.

    Anyway keep going out and keep turning the pedals and the rest will just happen.
    Yellow is the new Black.
  • rick_chasey
    rick_chasey Posts: 74,761
    smidsy wrote:

    Anyway keep going out and keep turning the pedals and the rest will just happen.

    Best advice there is.
  • smidsy wrote:

    Anyway keep going out and keep turning the pedals and the rest will just happen.

    Best advice there is.

    Cheers folks. That's my mindset at the minute. "just get out and ride". I'm finding the Strava iPhone app helping as I can see PB's for what they call "segments".

    I plan on getting out more often when the warmer, lighter nights get here. I'm still green as hell on climbs, the odd attack, more often on the granny ring and praying to reach the top!

    My plan was always endurance, long rides over speed but being overtaken all the time stings :)

    I'm throwing a bit of running into the mix as it's easier to grab 30 minutes at night (I was running, slowly but steadily, this time last year).

    All the answers make total sense and I know I'll get out what I put in, but the encouragement is welcome. Once again, this place is helpful and friendly. One of the reasons I got the bike in the first place!
  • petemadoc
    petemadoc Posts: 2,331
    smidsy wrote:

    Anyway keep going out and keep turning the pedals and the rest will just happen.

    Best advice there is.

    Definitely good advice but I'd also recommend heading for the hills and trying to push yourself quite hard. I bet you could get out to do a couple of rides in the week as well, maybe commute for 2 days or get a turbo trainer. Even if it's just an easy spin it all helps
  • warrerj
    warrerj Posts: 665
    In general you need to aim to do something 3 times a week to improve fitness. General fitness will help so even if you can't get on the bike durign a week it will help if you could do something else instead. Failign that set your self targets and try to do a bit more each time you get out. It'll be slower that way but you'l get there if you keep at it.
  • never! you'll always be scalped by younger faster and fitter lads! and ladies.

    like me =]
    Coveryourcar.co.uk RT Tester
    north west of england.
  • springtide9
    springtide9 Posts: 1,731
    smidsy wrote:
    Anyway keep going out and keep turning the pedals and the rest will just happen.
    Best advice there is.

    +1

    The more you can get out and the harder you push, the faster you'll get. Your speed will improve dramatically over time even riding just once a week, but you will plateau fairly quickly (6 months)

    Unfortunately the you are not going to catch up with someone who has been riding 5 times a week for the last 10 years, unless you start matching their commitment.

    If you can manage to find more time to ride or other ways to improve your overall fitness (spinning, gym, running, etc), then this will really help... but we all understand that finding the time can be a struggle.
    An off the wall comment - you usually can find additional time to ride, but some of the available options might not sound too appealing. e.g. buying a set of lights and cycling between 9pm and 11pm regardless of the weather... it's a lot easier to do in the summer, but when it's raining and a bit cold (obviously not when it's icy), it might not sound that appealing.

    I think it's all about making choices and basing your fitness expectations on these choices. The bottom line is that most people's aim is to enjoying themselves, so there is a balance that needs to be had.
    Simon
  • You'll always be slow but the type of people you're slower than will be fitter and faster in future ;-).

    At least, I like to pretend that is what's happening.
  • You will make massive progress if you get out more. I went from struggling to do 6-7 miles to keeping up on 60-70 mile club runs in less than a year. Set yourself a mileage goal of 100 miles a week (this may seem huge) and you will be amazed how quickly you will move on. Try to get out 3-4 times in the week on an evening for around an hour, then do a couple of 30's at the weekend. You will lose weight and everything will seem easier.
  • sexysi
    sexysi Posts: 50
    My story:Long but helpful I think,
    I started out riding again at 43 last August, commuting to work, 10miles in 10 miles back again. This was very hard work on a 2002 Peugeot and a MTB and weighing in at 18 1/2 stone. I managed this 3 x a week. But after some hard work I have now managed after 6 months to loose 2 stone, drop 3 inches off my waist and now as it stands probably the fitest I have ever been.
    I now cover 220+ miles a week instead of my starting out distance of 150miles a month.
    As people have said you need to get out, I am covering now 42miles round trip a day at an avg speed of 17.5mph, through London, and I am always trying to push myself, hate other riders overtaking me. lol
    Hills have become much easier and to be honest now I love them....
    The lesson to be learned is get out and ride! It will pay off, it has taken me 6 months, but I love it now, gone are the days of sitting on the train, and now with a nice sparkling Bianchi to do it on all the more better.
    Roll on the summer, yet to see the sun on a commute yet.

    si
    "Oh, Edmund! Can it be true? That I hold here, in my mortal hands, a nugget of purest green!"
    Road = 1980 Raleigh Record Sprint
    MTB = 2000 Scott Vail
    Road = 2002 Peugeot c300 comp road race bike
    Road = 2012 Bianchi Impulso
    Car = Saab 93, MGTF
  • Velonutter
    Velonutter Posts: 2,437
    When I returned to cycling after a 25 year break I started gently at just 6.4 miles 3-4 times a week, then increased it every two weeks by 10% until after a couple of months I decided to try and do a 40 miler.

    Very painful but did it, then every week end for a few months did it until the pain stopped, then upped to 60-70 miles, with 20-30 miles 2-3 times in the week.

    Now do 150 -200 miles in the winter and 200-300 miles a week in the summer.

    You just have to keep persevering, as the distance increases so does the speed as you push yourself harder.

    Joining a club may be one of the best things you could do, and just ride with the slow group to start with then slowly you will see the performance gains.

    HTH
  • I'm a newby but signed myself up for a 100 mile sportive for August this year. At the moment I'm miles and hours (days), off the pace and get a little anxious that I'll never be ready. That said i'm doing two 19 mile rides during the week and aiming for 15mph and I am getting closer. At the weekend I go for distance and hills using 'map my ride' to work out the metre climb.
    It feels like slow progress but it is progress. What I am finding is that my rides feel just as hard as they did when I staarted but in reality I'm cycling faster. Keep a couple of timed circuits that you do regularly and you should see your times come down.
    Come the lighter nights and the better weather it will feel easier and much much better.
    Good luck.
  • alihisgreat
    alihisgreat Posts: 3,872
    structured training can help you a lot if you are restricted by time/mileage

    I remember the example of a Cross country champion winning with 1/2 the training miles of the 2nd place runner because he used to run up hills.

    Try a Turbo trainer, doing intervals for an hour can help you focus on weak areas and work harder than if you were on the road.

    eg. you can target your hill climbing -> and i know that personally for me that's were i struggle the most, its relatively easy to turn a bigger gear on the flat.. but you need real power (and power:weight ratio) for the hills
  • as long as you're not scalped by old women with baskets on the the front of their bikes ( as I once was, slogging up a hill hungover) then don't worry about others - just get out there and enjoy your riding. There will always be someone faster than you/ better bike/ fitter /younger but ultimately you only race against yourself so it never gets easier. you'll just cycle further once you're fitter and then someone who has just left their house will zip by when you're near exhaustion.
  • Bizarrely enough one of overlooked ways of getting better is to give your body a rest. Let it recoup its energies and let it prepare itself for further effort.
    The dissenter is every human being at those moments of his life when he resigns
    momentarily from the herd and thinks for himself.
  • DavidJB
    DavidJB Posts: 2,019
    Bizarrely enough one of overlooked ways of getting better is to give your body a rest. Let it recoup its energies and let it prepare itself for further effort.

    Yep rest is important. I don't do any riding on a Monday or Friday! And I try to get my Thursday training in at 5am so I get as much rest as possible before Sat (Race day!) Helps lots. Although I rode into a van this morning and popped my shoulder so early training didn't help this morning :P
  • Bizarrely enough one of overlooked ways of getting better is to give your body a rest. Let it recoup its energies and let it prepare itself for further effort.
    but as the OP is currently training at 97% rest level, could be a source of his going so slowly problem... :D
    My pen won't write on the screen
  • I also can only get out on the bike at a weekend, and if i missed one week i really felt it the next. That was until i started running twice a week and some simple strength training. By the time it takes to get all kitted up for riding and get the bike out i've done my run and and workout, and in turn this has made a massive difference, I can miss a week of riding with no fitness loss and i have so much more strength in the legs for riding.
  • Woodface wrote:
    You will make massive progress if you get out more. I went from struggling to do 6-7 miles to keeping up on 60-70 mile club runs in less than a year. Set yourself a mileage goal of 100 miles a week (this may seem huge) and you will be amazed how quickly you will move on. Try to get out 3-4 times in the week on an evening for around an hour, then do a couple of 30's at the weekend. You will lose weight and everything will seem easier.

    Nice plan. I'll certainly be riding lots more in the summer.

    Riding to work is out - 1. I live within a 3 minute cycle! 2. I run a business that means I'll often be here for 10-12 hours a day and post-work = ready to drop!

    "You will lose weight and everything will seem easier" - that's why I bought the bike :) Here's hoping!
  • Bizarrely enough one of overlooked ways of getting better is to give your body a rest. Let it recoup its energies and let it prepare itself for further effort.
    but as the OP is currently training at 97% rest level, could be a source of his going so slowly problem... :D

    Brilliantly put! Even I'm laughing.

    The sun today has excited me. I've ridden in wind, rain, know, ice. I bet it's unbelievably better in sunshine. I expect that's when the "I wish I was on the bike" kicks in even more.
  • I'm quite new and did the first ever circuit i did the othger day 12.7 miles and in 2 months i've knocked 3 mins of my prev best. Keep going and it will happen