Forum home Road cycling forum Amateur race

How to get faster

cheaterkillercheaterkiller Posts: 159
edited April 2013 in Amateur race
Am going to start training for races soon but dont know where to start. On a flat with little or no wind I will typically ride about 20 mph or so. If I try to ride faster I will quickly fucḳ myself up and will need to slow down to catch my breath bacḳ which wrecḳs my average speed. My longest ride so far is about 50 miles but adding miles is easier than adding speed which is bloody hard! Advice appreciated.

Posts

  • okgookgo Posts: 4,368
    BikeRader wrote:
    Am going to start training for races soon but dont know where to start. On a flat with little or no wind I will typically ride about 20 mph or so. If I try to ride faster I will quickly fucḳ myself up and will need to slow down to catch my breath bacḳ which wrecḳs my average speed. My longest ride so far is about 50 miles but adding miles is easier than adding speed which is bloody hard! Advice appreciated.


    Find people faster than you, ride with them as long as you can hang on, repeat untill you can hang on, then start to take turns on the front, when you can ride on the front the whole time and it doesn't feel too taxing, find faster people are repeat (that is the easiest way, if you ride with a club)

    If you don't then you need to get that silly worry about 'ruining' your average speed out of your head, and push yourself harder than you thought you could. An hour as hard as you can go, and really push it, a couple of times a week will bring gains quite quickly. The issue is that you will never push yourself as hard on your own as you would if you were trying to cling to someones wheel.
    Blog on my first and now second season of proper riding/racing - www.firstseasonracing.com
  • Several ways but all involve a bit of simple training.

    Interval - doing sets of on off pace work repeated. The flat out speed needs to be above your threshold and the slow to allow you to recover. Will allow you to go with or create a break in a race.

    Hill repeats - find a decent hill climb it at speed then decent & repeat. Can build in short loop for recovery if you want but just need to make sure you are riding at a good speed and repeat, as opposed to just crawling up. Most race courses will have come sort of incline/decline profile & being able to sprint at speed on a climb is always a good thing to have in your bag.

    Speed work - As OKGO say's find someone who you can ride with how is faster than you and do it the hard way of trying to hang on for as long as you can. Alternately buy some rollers/turbo and do some speed work as there is now wind resistance you should find you can train at your threshold and increase it.

    High/Low Speed Cadence - learning to be able to produce good torque power at lower cadence in big gears and also higher cadence in smaller gears will help you again on most courses with undulations, or if a loop with repeats.

    Sure others will recommend lots of other useful training options but you just need to either build them into your ride such as the hill repeats or set aside some specific training ride times.
    Pain hurts much less if its topped off with beating your mates to top of a climb.
  • In other words, ride more and ride harder.
  • Cheers for the advice. What I do a lot of is bomb it down big hills as fast as I can. I use more effort coming down these hills than I do going up them to be honest.
  • marykamaryka Posts: 745
    BikeRader wrote:
    Cheers for the advice. What I do a lot of is bomb it down big hills as fast as I can. I use more effort coming down these hills than I do going up them to be honest.
    Wouldn't worry too much about getting fit then tbh... you'll probably crash and get hurt long before it matters how hard you can ride uphill.

    Maybe try MTB downhill racing? Sounds like it would suit you a lot better than actual road cycling which is more about hard work than gravity.
  • Going fast downhill isn't going to make you a stronger rider and it's not going to help you train for races. Unfortunately it's just hard work, time on the bike and pushing yourself harder. Ignore your average and maximum speeds because they don't really mean anything.
  • okgookgo Posts: 4,368
    Think we have found a troll, unless my radar is not reading as per usual...
    Blog on my first and now second season of proper riding/racing - www.firstseasonracing.com
  • Aye, your "rader" appears to be spot on.
  • An hour as hard as you can go, and really push it, a couple of times a week will bring gains quite quickly. .[/quote]

    i must give this a go.....really want to bring my speed up a bit,only been cycling 6mths or so and avg 16mph at the min,would dearly love to get it to near 18mph or so,still not lightning but would give me a great boost :P
    Lapierre Aircode 300
    Merida
  • Average speed is pretty pointless, it doesn't matter how long you can ride at a steady pace if you can't lift it when the attacks start. Best thing to do IMO is to jump in at the deep end enter a few races and see how you get on, you may find you can sit in ok but struggle with distance, or get dropped when the road goes up or whatever, identify your weaknesses and then work on those. As has been said riding with people faster than you will help make you stronger and also help you to identify your weaknesses.
  • ianspeareianspeare Posts: 110
    Does cycling in a pack bring your average speed up a couple of mph compared to riding on your own?
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,003
    If your question is 'can you go faster when in a group?' then the answer is usually yes.
  • okgookgo Posts: 4,368
    ianspeare wrote:
    Does cycling in a pack bring your average speed up a couple of mph compared to riding on your own?

    Yes, the bigger the pack the more it brings it up. Hence cat 4 races average 25 mph for an hour, yet lots of cat 4 riders would struggle to break the hour in a 25 mile TT on a dual carriageway
    Blog on my first and now second season of proper riding/racing - www.firstseasonracing.com
  • HerbsmanHerbsman Posts: 2,029
    Have you tried pressing your feet on the pedals?
    CAPTAIN BUCKFAST'S CYCLING TIPS - GUARANTEED TO WORK! 1 OUT OF 10 RACING CYCLISTS AGREE!
  • andyebandyeb Posts: 407
    You could also try going right back to basics and (re)build your base fitness - long slow rides will do this, making you more efficient. Then when you ramp the effort up, you will find you travel faster for the same effort.

    It worked for me.
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,003
    andyeb wrote:
    You could also try going right back to basics and (re)build your base fitness - long slow rides will do this, making you more efficient. Then when you ramp the effort up, you will find you travel faster for the same effort.

    It worked for me.

    Some slightly flawed logic going on there. Long slow rides will make you good at.....long slow rides.
  • andyebandyeb Posts: 407
    Imposter wrote:
    andyeb wrote:
    You could also try going right back to basics and (re)build your base fitness - long slow rides will do this, making you more efficient. Then when you ramp the effort up, you will find you travel faster for the same effort.

    It worked for me.

    Some slightly flawed logic going on there. Long slow rides will make you good at.....long slow rides.

    It is counter intuitive, I agree, but I've heard the same from multiple sources and it does seem to work in practice.

    "Slow is the new fast" they say. Apparently.
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,003
    andyeb wrote:
    Imposter wrote:
    andyeb wrote:
    You could also try going right back to basics and (re)build your base fitness - long slow rides will do this, making you more efficient. Then when you ramp the effort up, you will find you travel faster for the same effort.

    It worked for me.

    Some slightly flawed logic going on there. Long slow rides will make you good at.....long slow rides.

    It is counter intuitive, I agree, but I've heard the same from multiple sources and it does seem to work in practice.

    "Slow is the new fast" they say. Apparently.

    I don't know why you think that, or where you got it from. Riding slower will not make you quicker. Logical fallacy.
  • andyebandyeb Posts: 407
    Imposter wrote:
    andyeb wrote:
    Imposter wrote:
    andyeb wrote:
    You could also try going right back to basics and (re)build your base fitness - long slow rides will do this, making you more efficient. Then when you ramp the effort up, you will find you travel faster for the same effort.

    It worked for me.

    Some slightly flawed logic going on there. Long slow rides will make you good at.....long slow rides.

    It is counter intuitive, I agree, but I've heard the same from multiple sources and it does seem to work in practice.

    "Slow is the new fast" they say. Apparently.

    I don't know why you think that, or where you got it from. Riding slower will not make you quicker. Logical fallacy.

    Here you go: http://www.bikeradar.com/fitness/articl ... sts-28838/ see the section "Go slower, get faster". The same advice was found in a book on heart rate monitor training and from my personal coach.

    If you try and get faster by riding faster, you just do what everyone else does. Train smarter, not harder.
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,003
    andyeb wrote:

    If you try and get faster by riding faster, you just do what everyone else does. Train smarter, not harder.

    There's a reason why most people train their race speed by riding high intensity efforts at race speed. But hey, you're obviously onto something nobody else has picked up on, so carry on...
  • marykamaryka Posts: 745
    So Andyeb, how many hours do you actually ride a week?

    Because I track my training with a powermeter and the Performance Manager Chart and I would have to double my hours on the bike to get the same training stress and adaptation from riding slow and long as I get from riding generally fast (not that I spend all 10 hours a week riding fast, but a good portion of those 10 hours is SST or threshold work).

    Pros ride 25-30 hours a week which is why they ride a lot of it "slow" (by their definition, obviously their slow is our fast!) But the average everyday rider with a full-time job and other responsibilities with 8-10 hours to train per week will get a lot more out of higher intensity* work rather than riding 10hrs slow.

    I'm guessing the riding slow thing worked for you because you were so detrained that any amount of riding would have seen you improving.

    *The caveat of course with lots of intensity in training is not to overdo it.
  • andyebandyeb Posts: 407
    maryka wrote:
    So Andyeb, how many hours do you actually ride a week?

    I'm guessing the riding slow thing worked for you because you were so detrained that any amount of riding would have seen you improving.

    At the time I was riding around 15-17 hours a week, mostly commuting from Guildford into London (60 mile round trip) at a hardish pace and taking my folding bike on the train on off days. So while i might not have been race-fit, I was no couch potato either. My Strava times stopped improving and went into reverse so I approached a coach for advice. He explained the training pyramid to me and explained I needed to go back and establish a better base fitness, hence riding slower. As the pace picked up again, I found myself travelling faster for the same HR and RPE. 9 months later, after a slow and gradual progression, we are now moving towards speed/power, I've changed jobs closer to home and am doing a smaller volume of higher quality, focused, higher intensity work.

    Currently I'm doing 3 hard sessions on the turbo a week, plus a longish ride at the weekend - probably 5-7 hours.

    So I've been there doing the harder-is-better thing and have seen the value of taking a different approach. That's not to say it works or is appropriate for everyone
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,003
    Sorry, thay doesn't make any sense. If you were riding 15-17hrs per week (presumably you had been doing this for a while) then your 'base' fitness will already be established, so no need to re-establish it. It is what you overlay on top of that which makes you faster - not riding more, slower, miles.
  • marykamaryka Posts: 745
    andyeb wrote:
    At the time I was riding around 15-17 hours a week, mostly commuting from Guildford into London (60 mile round trip) at a hardish pace and taking my folding bike on the train on off days.
    So from that I would say you fell into a plateau of riding everything "fairly hard" but never "truly hard" (which is what drives adaptations -- hence why people do intervals) or "truly easy" (as in, recovery/off/easy days).

    15 hours a week at tempo pace is enough to burn anyone out and stick them on the highest of plateaus. That's why it's better to train smarter, as you said.
    :wink:
  • NickelNickel Posts: 505
    To the OP, I think ultimately you need to:

    Join a club, ride with the fast group and go on chaingangs, these will teach you how control your bike properly at high speeds in a group.

    But also:

    Do some threshold type efforts, an hour at a hard sustainable pace or ideally 2x 20 min sessions on a turbo.

    Mix in some shorter, harder interval type efforts, this is easier to do on a turbo but can be done perfectly well on the road, try and plan a loop with a few short sharp hills which maybe only take 1-2 mins to climb, hit them as hard as you can and then recover between (obviously you need to have suitable terrain but even short 'climbs' of a few percent can hurt like hell if you push hard enough).
  • andyebandyeb Posts: 407
    maryka wrote:
    andyeb wrote:
    At the time I was riding around 15-17 hours a week, mostly commuting from Guildford into London (60 mile round trip) at a hardish pace and taking my folding bike on the train on off days.
    So from that I would say you fell into a plateau of riding everything "fairly hard" but never "truly hard" (which is what drives adaptations -- hence why people do intervals) or "truly easy" (as in, recovery/off/easy days).

    15 hours a week at tempo pace is enough to burn anyone out and stick them on the highest of plateaus. That's why it's better to train smarter, as you said.
    :wink:

    Agreed - these days my hard rides are much, much harder and my easier rides are much easier. The turbo has turned out to be a good investment, especially in view of the weather this "spring".
  • SpaniardSpaniard Posts: 69
    Overload, adaption - repeat!
Sign In or Register to comment.