Forum home Road cycling forum Training, fitness and health

Commuting as Training

project4cyclingproject4cycling Posts: 24
edited October 2012 in Training, fitness and health
I've been training using a heart rate monitor on my commute for the last 3 months. I'm trying to see if I can achieve my potential as a cyclist (or get as close as I can) using commuting as my main training tool. I write about my efforts in a blog http://www.project4cycling.com.

When I started many people told me it wouldn't work because of traffic lights etc. I haven't found that to be a problem. However, I'm aware that two hours a day has different effects on your body to, say, two five hour rides a week.

Could anyone help me understand the physiological dissadvantages or advantages of my chosen method and how I minimise or maximise them?

Or, could you tell me what you think of my blog?

Thanks for the help and advice.

Posts

  • PseudonymPseudonym Posts: 1,032
    training for what..?
  • Guess that would help. Ver specifically to do 10-mile TTs. I'm hoping that I'll also be building my fitness enough that I can finish one 100 mile sportive after doing a few TTs.
  • PseudonymPseudonym Posts: 1,032
    so you're training for a century by riding 10s..??
  • Guess that would help. Ver specifically to do 10-mile TTs. I'm hoping that I'll also be building my fitness enough that I can finish one 100 mile sportive after doing a few TTs.
    Few. if any on these boards, get paid for our cycling and so we all have to be time smart with our cycling regardless of the need or discipline, but it's great that you're cycling and are keeping the motivation going by applying yourself in many ways, including using a blog to record your progress.

    If you specifically want to do 10 mile TTs then the best way to improve is to do more 10 mile TTs. Don't worry about how far you are behind anyone else, this isn't SCR, but focus on improving your physical and psychological strength and discipline.

    As for riding a 100 mile sportive then you're heading in the right direction by getting out earlier and increasing your miles but you'll need to continue to increase your time and distance travelled. To prepare for a 100 miler you'd want to continue increasing your miles to nearer your intended distance somewhere north of 50 miles a ride, easier and more enjoyable as the mornings get lighter and temperature rises plus getting out at 5am in the summer means you have clearer roads. There's a great sense of achievement and calmness that comes from having done 50 miles before most people's working day has started.

    As for the blog, you're using a HR monitor and have done some TTs but where's the data to show your progress? If you want people to follow you and believe in what you're doing you need to maintain their interest otherwise it's an exercise in self-importance.
  • Pseudonym wrote:
    so you're training for a century by riding 10s..??

    Not quite, I'm trying to build up my general skills and fitness. My main benchmark for improvement will be 10-mile TT times because that's the only measurable thing I did before my training programme.

    In addition, I want to see if, once I've done a few TTs, I can add longer rides to be capable of a century.

    Thanks for the advice about the Blog Billy. I would like to avoid an excercise in self-importance. I'll get some data up there soon.

    I guess the big unknown for me is whether all this HRM training will make me faster than I was when I just hammered to work and back.
  • Here's a good example of a cyclist's blog that engages the audience;

    http://theamazing39stonecyclist.wordpress.com/

    As for HRM training, you'll have to detail what approach your taking and be prepared to state what works for you and what doesn't as there is no one-size-fits-all approach to training. The more you ride and the more effort you put in you will undoubtedly get faster but it's how you respond to the occasions when there's no or negative progress that will be interesting.

    Hammering it to work and back will improve general fitness but isn't going to fully prepare you for ten miles of on-the-rivet riding at +90% of MaxHR (unless you're able to do a 10 mile TT on the way to work) or the physical and psychological demands of hours on the bike for a century ride. You could use the commute for interval training between sets of lights or find some hills to climb as well as gradually increasing your time and distance on the bike to prepare you for your future challenges.
  • symosymo Posts: 1,743
    Interesting stuff here : http://roadcyclinguk.com/riding/trainin ... uting.html

    So perhaps I should be spending more time going up to 65% and leaving it there on the commute in. Hmmm
    +++++++++++++++++++++
    we are the proud, the few, Descendents.

    Panama - finally putting a nail in the economic theory of the trickle down effect.
  • ProssPross Posts: 23,920
    What sort of commute do you do? If it is all inner city stuff with lights every couple of hundred metres it probably isn't ideal preparation for the 20 odd minute consistent effort that would be involved in a 10 mile TT. I'm lucky on my commute as I have a 9 mile, flat section of country road linking the two urban sections which allows me to ride it as a TT effort when I want. I'm not sure that urban commuting will be much use training wise as anything other than possibly some short interval sessions if traffic conditions allow plus adding some base mileage.
  • mrc1mrc1 Posts: 852
    Guess that would help. Ver specifically to do 10-mile TTs. I'm hoping that I'll also be building my fitness enough that I can finish one 100 mile sportive after doing a few TTs.
    Few. if any on these boards, get paid for our cycling and so we all have to be time smart with our cycling regardless of the need or discipline, but it's great that you're cycling and are keeping the motivation going by applying yourself in many ways, including using a blog to record your progress.

    This is the nail on the head for me. In simple terms and given all the time in the world, then no, using your commute as your sole or main part of training isn't the most efficient way to do things. However, you live in the real world and have a limited amount of time to train and therefore use your commute, which is great.

    As someone else has mentioned, the make up of your commute will have a massive effect on its usefulness. If its all stop start traffic lights then the benefit will be pretty minimal for 10 mile tts and of little use for 100 mile sportives, however, it is certainly better than nothing. The best bit of advice is to try and use any decent stretches to hold a steady pace. Don't do max efforts between lights all commute long. I used to commute from North to South East London so had a very stop start commute, but there were a couple of stretches where I could hold a steady tempo for four or five minutes. Of course if you can add an extra loop in at the start/finish of the commute then that is great.

    On the 100 mile sportive, you should definitely try and get some longer rides in but don't build it up too much in your mind - if you are looking to do a quick time in such a sportive then clearly you will need to have done some proper structured training, but if your goal is simply to finish, then I think most people could manage it if they set their mind to it!
    http://www.ledomestiquetours.co.uk

    Le Domestique Tours - Bespoke cycling experiences with unrivalled supported riding, knowledge and expertise.

    Ciocc Extro - FCN 1
  • I've been meaning to return to this for a while, because I was contacted by quite a few people who wanted to know more about how this idea of commuting as training might work. I'm also grateful for all the advice.

    I never intended to train only on my commute, I intended it to be part of my training. However, the way work and life has turned out this year I haven't done a single ride that wasn't a commute, a TT or a sportive. So, 100% of my training was done on a 14ish mile extra-urban commute.

    Even so I managed to complete all 114-miles of The White Rose Classic (http://www.project4cycling.com/2012/08/how-bike-commuter-rode-114-mile-white.html). That was my first ever sportive and a whopping 100-miles longer than my normal commute.

    I've also taken my 10-mile TT time down by six minutes (actually 7, but I haven't had chance to write that up yet): http://www.project4cycling.com/2012/07/commuter-smashes-tt-pb.html. There is the caveat that my benchmark course was rather hilly but even so... a commuter completing a sub-25 10-miler on a Specialized Tricross isn't bad.

    In short, it seems to be feasible to build up a good deal of endurance and speed by training this way.

    Thank you all for your advice.
  • I'm grateful to Huw Williams who wrote the article on RoadCycling UK quoted above for an interview he agreed to do for my blog: http://www.project4cycling.com/2012/09/ ... coach.html

    Great advice for anyone who wants to commute for training from an actual expert.
  • davidofdavidof Posts: 2,354
    About 30 years ago I got my first job and use to ride into work and back every day, about 7 miles one way. That was nearly all the training I did. I was able to do 22 minute 10s on a flat course (Thatcham A4). I was rubbish at 50 miles and above though.
  • HerbsmanHerbsman Posts: 2,029
    How profitable is your blog?
    CAPTAIN BUCKFAST'S CYCLING TIPS - GUARANTEED TO WORK! 1 OUT OF 10 RACING CYCLISTS AGREE!
  • It isn't profitable at all. I've stuck some adverts on there and made less than £10. I'm not in it for the money. Mind you if you've got some I'll have it.
  • Trev The RevTrev The Rev Posts: 1,040
    davidof wrote:
    About 30 years ago I got my first job and use to ride into work and back every day, about 7 miles one way. That was nearly all the training I did. I was able to do 22 minute 10s on a flat course (Thatcham A4). I was rubbish at 50 miles and above though.

    22 minutes pre tri bars is a damn good effort.

    I find I have as much power now, when all I do is commute 4 to 6 miles each way depending on the loop I do, as I had when I did considerably more miles on top of the commuting. I keep up the intensity though even though I never do more than 20 minutes at threshold.
  • davidofdavidof Posts: 2,354
    I could ride further than 10 miles, I sometimes used to ride from Reading down to my mum and dad's house in Bournemouth on a Saturday morning, coming back on Sunday afternoon but lacked punch on longer distances. I never went under the hour for a 25 although the year I was doing well in 10s I don't think I rode any. I was doing 10s and road races of around 50-60 miles.
Sign In or Register to comment.