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I've got one shot...

bompingtonbompington Posts: 7,604
edited September 2014 in Training, fitness and health
... to go from really overweight, slow, and unfit, to moderately overweight, slow, and unfit.

I've posted often enough on threads on "time-crunched" training, mostly whingeing about how you lot don't really know how lucky you are, or what the meaning of time-crunched really is.

Now I'm signed up for the 3 pistes and I've barely been on a real bike* for 8 months. For the last few years I've done the Etape Cal, usually taking about 4:20 to 4:30, which might be a useful comparison for those familiar with it. I'm guessing I would take 5 or more right now.

What I need is some training.

I'm a teacher and have 2 weeks off at Easter. The question is, how to maximise the benefit from two weeks?

Week 1 the rest of the family are still at school/work so I've definitely got some time - I can maybe spare 3 hours a day with a couple of longer rides. Week 2 we'll be on holiday in Aviemore, so I'll be in the caravan literally at the foot of the final climb of the 3 pistes: the 5.5km/310m ascent up to the ski car park, which is good, but I'm not willing to take so much out of family time to ride so 2 hours a day is the max. Then maybe one long ride at the end of week 2.

What I'd like advice on is how to structure the fortnight for maximum gain? Left to my own devices I suspect I would push it too hard, too far, too soon, and give up after about three rides. Should I try and get in lots of esier miles at the start? Or harder intervals? I haven't a clue, can anyone advise? (flippant, condescending and downright insulting advice all welcome, it's what I'd do ;-))


* I probably total about 3 hours a week on the mtb exercising the dog

Posts

  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    Try to do something about the weight now.
    Your two weeks of training need to be suitably fuelled if you want to gain speed/fitness you don't want to use them purely to lose weight - I put weight on when I started really cycling - muscle build ...

    Is there no way you can get some sort of training in outside those two weeks? Ride to school, turbo at school/home, ride to the shops when the wife goes shopping (in the car) - any activity where you'd normally drive, consider riding or walking instead.

    Anyway - good luck with it - we're signed up to the Etape Loch Ness - and I need to get my non-mountain-goat wife from avg 10-12mph to >13.5mph - the speed wouldn't be so bad if there wasn't a flippin great climb 1/2way round the course!
  • bernithebikerbernithebiker Posts: 4,148
    I think the danger is that you get carried away with the 2 week project and attack it too hard, and end up knackered after a few days and give up or reduce dramatically.

    I have trouble following my own advice, but I would start with 2 hours nice and easy on the first day, plenty of easy spinning, you should finish feeling like you could do it all again.

    Then on the following days introduce some short efforts (2 to 5 minutes) where you build up to Zone 4 ish.

    By the end of the 2 weeks, you can try (after easy warm up) a good, hard 20 minute flat out effort and see how you get on.
  • markhewitt1978markhewitt1978 Posts: 7,614
    Two weeks of training will give you marginal if pretty meaningless gains really? You need to be doing something every week, even if it's just an hours cycling on a Sunday morning, for example.
  • alihisgreatalihisgreat Posts: 3,872
    If it was me, I'd look to get as many hours in over the next two weeks as possible to give a good base, then start doing intervals when you're back at work and have less time.

    You need to ease into the training though, don't go mental and risk ruining the second week.

    For intervals, I would recommend doing The Sufferfest 'Angels' on the turbo if you want to improve quickly... you have to be willing to really push yourself though. If you can do 8 min intervals at the intensity they're looking for then you can do anything! (especially if you ride in areas where the 'hills' are all ~5mins like me!)
  • top_bhoytop_bhoy Posts: 1,421
    My opinion is a bit harsh but based solely on what information you have given....102 hilly miles for an untrained, unfit, overweight cyclist will be hell. I think you should have given it a miss if you are as unfit and overweight as you say and can't commit to some time on the saddle before your holiday or after. It seems pointless to me infringing upon family holiday time unless you have a plan to make the necessary time and continue cycling regularly afterwards. If you can commit time to eat and train better then great, do so. If not, enjoy an interrupted holiday with the family.
  • markhewitt1978markhewitt1978 Posts: 7,614
    +1 on this. Unless there's regular training planned then infringing in the holiday will be a waste of family time.
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    +1 on this. Unless there's regular training planned then infringing in the holiday will be a waste of family time.
    Unless the family can/want to be involved ... depends on their age & fitness level ...
    The way to get fit isn't necessarily all about huge efforts - a lot can be achieved in slow/easy sessions too - it may not be as effective to trundle along for a few miles with kids in tow, but just being more active than usual will be a significant boost - doesn't even have to be on the bike - anything that gets the OP moving will do - a game of Tag even....
  • LegendLustLegendLust Posts: 1,022
    bompington wrote:
    ... to go from really overweight, slow, and unfit, to moderately overweight, slow, and unfit.

    I've posted often enough on threads on "time-crunched" training, mostly whingeing about how you lot don't really know how lucky you are, or what the meaning of time-crunched really is.

    Now I'm signed up for the 3 pistes and I've barely been on a real bike* for 8 months. For the last few years I've done the Etape Cal, usually taking about 4:20 to 4:30, which might be a useful comparison for those familiar with it. I'm guessing I would take 5 or more right now.

    What I need is some training.

    I'm a teacher and have 2 weeks off at Easter. The question is, how to maximise the benefit from two weeks?

    Week 1 the rest of the family are still at school/work so I've definitely got some time - I can maybe spare 3 hours a day with a couple of longer rides. Week 2 we'll be on holiday in Aviemore, so I'll be in the caravan literally at the foot of the final climb of the 3 pistes: the 5.5km/310m ascent up to the ski car park, which is good, but I'm not willing to take so much out of family time to ride so 2 hours a day is the max. Then maybe one long ride at the end of week 2.

    What I'd like advice on is how to structure the fortnight for maximum gain? Left to my own devices I suspect I would push it too hard, too far, too soon, and give up after about three rides. Should I try and get in lots of esier miles at the start? Or harder intervals? I haven't a clue, can anyone advise? (flippant, condescending and downright insulting advice all welcome, it's what I'd do ;-))


    * I probably total about 3 hours a week on the mtb exercising the dog

    What time do you have available on a day to day basis? There is always somewhere where you can grab some time.

    I start work at 9:00 but get up early and do up to an hour and a half training on the way to work. Then spin the 8 miles back home in the evening as recovery
  • aw1808aw1808 Posts: 91
    Bit of a suggestion but I get up at 5.30 and get a good solid hour in at sweet spot and still back at home for 7 when I have to get my eldest ready for school and the youngest fed etc . I know 5.30am seems extreme but it means I get some riding in that's of benefit and pushing myself .

    I have a wife and two kids and don't get from work till 6.30 pm then have dad duties , I found this has been more helpful than not riding and the intensity is hard enough but not to hard to make a difference and can do it 3 or 4 times a week.

    This has been working for me but it's a suggestion and may not fit in with your family/work life.
    I may be slow going up but i will pass you going down !
  • bompingtonbompington Posts: 7,604
    Well thanks for all the replies - no sarcasm, I do mean that - even all the ones answering the questions I wasn't asking.
    5:30 am? I'm a teacher, I refuse to do prep & marking in the evenings, so all I can say is that I would relish the extra half hour in bed.
    Family hols? I just get up a bit later than that and ride - the two hours I'm allowing are before anyone else is awake.

    Despite what some are reading into what I posted, I am getting out and about - just not much on the road, and not as much as I would like. My normal baseline is not that of a fit club rider, but it's not that slow either: I'm not starting from zero, I'd like to think that my Etape C times put me somewhere in the top page of the "grey-haired, unshaved legs" category. I know people who have done the etape C from zero and it's clearly possible - but I'm going for the 3P because it's harder, and I fully expect to suffer. I hope to be able to put in around 5 or 6 hard hours a week, plus one long ride, for the remainder of the time available (it's on the first weekend in June), so, I apologise if the title is misleading, I don't intend to stop training after Easter!

    I'm fully aware that throwing such a question to the tender mercies of the forumites is hardly likely to be as effective as hiring a coach, but the question remains - how can I best make use of the one period when I can get out more than usual? Obviously build it up steadily is the answer, but can anyone give any clues as to how I can recognise if I'm pushing it too hard (or alternatively not enough)?

    I'm guessing that a series of longish, steady rides in the first week followed by shorter and harder (2 or 3X ski road?) in the second would fit best.
    I think I'll try to benchmark things with a best effort up a local hill (maybe this one - or would something longer be better?), tomorrow, followed by the same again after Easter.

    And to the doom-mongers I offer extra thanks, as I now have all the motivation I need to try and achieve better than "pretty meaningless gains".
  • aw1808aw1808 Posts: 91
    Good luck with it .

    My sister is a teacher and spends her life marking and preparing so know it's difficult . I'm happy with 5.30 am starts as the wife and kids are still asleep :-)

    shaved legs will never catch on :-) lol
    I may be slow going up but i will pass you going down !
  • ai_1ai_1 Posts: 3,060
    To be fair you're initial post looks very misleading in light of the new info.
    As I read it you portray yourself as completely out of shape and only doing 3hrs of dog walking a week with the intention of getting up to speed in a 2 week holiday period. All of the replies you got indicate everyone else understood it that way too.
  • markhewitt1978markhewitt1978 Posts: 7,614
    ai_1 wrote:
    To be fair you're initial post looks very misleading in light of the new info.
    As I read it you portray yourself as completely out of shape and only doing 3hrs of dog walking a week with the intention of getting up to speed in a 2 week holiday period. All of the replies you got indicate everyone else understood it that way too.

    Same here, and it's still about as clear as mud what the OP is actually asking.
  • bompingtonbompington Posts: 7,604
    Fair enough, I was aware that it was a bit of a vague request, and I'm sure the waffle doesn't help, it's just what I'm like. I tried to quantify things by the references to my Etape C times - FTR the fastest times tend to be about 3½ hours, and I would have thought that my estimate of what my time might be at the mo would give a clue as to how far off my best I am.
    And I never mentioned dog walking - OK, so he looks at me a bit contemptuously as I flog up the rutted, muddy, uphill trail to the woods at about 4mph in low range, but the effort required to keep going at all, and the desire to avoid the obvious fail of coming to a total halt, actually gets my heart rate up higher than I can ever reach on the road. Specific training for sportives - no, exercise - yes.
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    IMHO you still need to split it into two distinct categories
    a) losing weight
    b) gaining speed/fitness

    yes doing one will help the other but trying to do both at the same time will likely leave you fatigued and get you nowhere fast.

    Problem I see with your climbing the hill 2 or 3 times is that it's a low number of repetitions with a long period of recovery - times up that hill range from 12 minutes to the hour - even if you took 1/2hr to ride up and 4 minutes down you're not doing "intervals" as such. You may be better to look at doing short hill repeats - possibly carrying on up the hill to the top - say 3 minutes up, 30 seconds to turn round, coast down turn round and then 3 minutes up (hopefully that'll end up going up although for some I guess they'd end up further down! ;) )

    I'm not a coach - so don't take my numbers seriously - I do think you need to work up to longer intervals so starting with short and sharp efforts would be the way to go.
    The first week when you've got time to put in some long rides will help, but careful not to overdo it - you could end up fatigued and unable to put much into the intervals later on.
    I rode 200 easy miles last week (double my usual weekly max but much easier) and I could feel it when I got back on the bike wednesday - that's after 3 days off ... much better today though ... :)
  • tried to send you a PM but can't :( will try again in the morning
  • top_bhoytop_bhoy Posts: 1,421
    ai_1 wrote:
    To be fair you're initial post looks very misleading in light of the new info.
    As I read it you portray yourself as completely out of shape and only doing 3hrs of dog walking a week with the intention of getting up to speed in a 2 week holiday period. All of the replies you got indicate everyone else understood it that way too.

    Same here, and it's still about as clear as mud what the OP is actually asking.
    Agreed and quite obvious that flippant, condescending and downright insulting advice wasn't at all welcome. Lordy knows what the OP response would have been if someone had given a flippant, condescending and downright insulting reply. :P
  • bompingtonbompington Posts: 7,604
    TLDR version then:

    - I've got a big ride (the 3 Pistes) coming up and I'm not as fit as I'd like to be.
    - I've got the 2 week easter holiday when I've got more time than normal to get out and ride
    - How can I maximise the benefit?

    There, that wasn't so hard now was it? Apologies if my OP indicated some sort of mental or moral deficiency on my part :roll:
  • ai_1ai_1 Posts: 3,060
    bompington wrote:
    .....And I never mentioned dog walking - OK, so he looks at me a bit contemptuously as I flog up the rutted, muddy, uphill trail to the woods at about 4mph in low range........
    You did mention dog walking.
    The "walking" in "dog walking" refers to the activity of the dog not the escort.
    I understood that you're on a bike but presumed the dog isn't.
    You can walk your dog by walking with him, towing him out a car window, on your bike sending him out with a robot. Will your dog still be walked? Yes. The dog is not ridden unless he's... well, you know....

    Are you sure you're a teacher? :wink:
  • bompingtonbompington Posts: 7,604
    Thanks for clarifying that for us. Let's go with your interpretation rather than mine, 'cos it's so much more useful, isn't it?
  • ai_1ai_1 Posts: 3,060
    bompington wrote:
    Thanks for clarifying that for us. Let's go with your interpretation rather than mine, 'cos it's so much more useful, isn't it?
    Yes
  • If you're wanting some steep longer hill work then Craigowl up the back of Tealing is worth a visit, it even has a 25% section for a couple of hundred yards !! ... The first 1.3 miles are a good 5-12% or so, then the 20-25% section for a couple hundred yards before tailing off to 8-14% for the last 0.5mile. Just watch out for the cows and sheep though.
    http://www.strava.com/segments/1129128
  • mamba80mamba80 Posts: 5,032
    bompington wrote:

    - I've got a big ride (the 3 Pistes) coming up and I'm not as fit as I'd like to be.
    - I've got the 2 week easter holiday when I've got more time than normal to get out and ride
    - How can I maximise the benefit?

    I think you can improve a lot in 2 weeks, I would go for 2,3 and 4hr rides, rest day and repeat over the next 3 days.
    rest and then do 3 x 2hr rides, rest day repeat, on these shorter rides, mix in some tempo 15 to 30min efforts.

    to carrying on with improvements then you need to ride reg either on a turbo, doing 2/3 x 20 mins at tempo or longer road rides.

    you could spend all your time doing high level intervals but maybe do that later when time is really short.

    sitting around doing SFA isn't going to help you or listening to doom mongers.
  • LegendLustLegendLust Posts: 1,022
    ai_1 wrote:
    bompington wrote:
    .....And I never mentioned dog walking - OK, so he looks at me a bit contemptuously as I flog up the rutted, muddy, uphill trail to the woods at about 4mph in low range........
    You did mention dog walking.
    The "walking" in "dog walking" refers to the activity of the dog not the escort.
    I understood that you're on a bike but presumed the dog isn't.
    You can walk your dog by walking with him, towing him out a car window, on your bike sending him out with a robot. Will your dog still be walked? Yes. The dog is not ridden unless he's... well, you know....

    Are you sure you're a teacher? :wink:

    I'm just glad he spelt 'walking' properly.
  • bompingtonbompington Posts: 7,604
    I'm not going to bore everyone with all the stats, but as a baseline:
    84kg
    6:15 up the reference hill
    92km
    850m
    3 hours 42 not including cakestop with family in St Andrews

    Probably overdid it trying to keep up a steady pace into the nasty easterly. Recovery ride tomorrow.
  • Tried to pm you mate but not sure if it came through, I'm about to sign up for this fir next year, how did you get on. The lecht ascent looks something ridiculous :D
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