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Next steps in getting better?

akc42akc42 Posts: 43
Hi all,

I am a relative newbie, having bought a hybrid after the Olympics, and just starting to ride in 2013. At the end of 2013 I bought myself a light weigh(ish) road bike (Van Nicholas Yukon) and spent 2014 getting better. I set my best time up Box Hill Zig Zag at 9.57 in August 2014.

This year, after illness over Christmas that didn't really clear until the end of Feb, I started out almost as bad as at the end of 2013, but some hard work during the spring (and semi retirement allowing some midweek riding) has brought my strength back towards last years peak. I am however riding more, but not loosing the weight I have before. At my lowest over the last couple of years I was 80KG (down from 103KG when I started riding), but for the last 3 or 4 months I have hovered around the 85KG mark. Try as hard as I can, I cannot seem to break 10:15 this year for Zig Zag.

After loosing a promising ride up zig zag to some dodgy GPS from my Garmin 200, I have splashed out on a Garmin 510 (because of the Glonass facility), which also came with cadence sensor and heart rate monitor.

My first ride out earlier this week has been an eye opener, particularly realising that my cadence was generally quite low, and that at my age (I am 64) my heart rate seems quite strange (resting about 50, max on rides AFTER steepest hils around 170). I only managed 10:46 up zigzag as part of this ride, but on the way up I passed someone who was clearly someone being taught (given her instructors tee shirt) who was employing a very high cadence in a very low gear. It was all the more galling as near the top they passed me still with this very high cadence as I had tired.

I want to set my self a goal of breaking 8 minutes up Zig Zag - using the new tools (cadence and heart rate monitor). I am looking for suggestions as to how to go about it.

I am thinking practising holding high and higher cadences for long and longer times might be a good start. Not only will it help bring my weight down (which must be a factor in climbing speed), but might enable me to imitate the student who passed me up zig zag the last time. However any good suggestions will be gratefully received.

Posts

  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,003
    Either lose weight or increase sustainable power - or both.
  • slowmartslowmart Posts: 3,948
    First thing i'd do is check with your doctor and seek his opinion on your intentions?

    Personally I'd be looking to build a base level of fitness, increase the duration but not the intensity of your rides and while you've set a timed goal I'd refocus on a base? Certainly you can use different measures to benchmark your improvement and longer rides, at the correct intensity are better for fat burning.

    Diet is a massive enabler for recovery, as is sleep and your weight.

    There are a load of 12 week training plans on the net and the link below is a great starting point for training plans, recovery and nutrition.


    https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/sportivetips
    “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime. Teach a man to cycle and he will realize fishing is stupid and boring”

    Desmond Tutu
  • carl_pcarl_p Posts: 981
    Since you've got the hardware, learn how to train with your HRM and zones.
    Specialized Venge S Works
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    Turn the corner, rub my eyes and hope the world will last...

  • I want to set my self a goal of breaking 8 minutes up Zig Zag

    Sort your diet out and ride Zig Zag as often as possible, using it to train on doing repeat climbs.
    I'm sorry you don't believe in miracles
  • ajmitchellajmitchell Posts: 203
    my heart rate seems quite strange (resting about 50, max on rides AFTER steepest hils around 170)..

    Your heart rate is pretty normal for 64, indeed healthy 50 resting is not bad. 170 maximum is not unusual particularly after 50years.

    re training. Increase base miles, try hill intervals record progress, ideally enter event or get someone to observe (for additional motivational effect)

    all in all, well done you!
  • KheSanhKheSanh Posts: 62
    Riding the hill get a good long warm up and get the heart rate up steddy and then a few good short hard sprints. Try and stay seated and hit the hill hard but at a pace you can sustain for the duration. Have an easy few days beforehand.

    Regarding training it's 2.5k hill so interval training is what you want. Do 2 to three sessions a week with a day or two rest between sets.
    - One session do 1min flat out 1 min light spinning x 5, 5 to 10min light spinning recovery between sets, build to 3 sets.
    - Next do 5min hard hill efforts go as hard as you can all the way, 3 to 5 min spinning recovery between efforts, stay seated except last 10s and sprint last 10s. Do 5 efforts.
    - final session is a spinning session. Easy gear and do 10 x 1min fast spinning, 2min easy spinning between efforts.

    Do a good 15min warm up before each and 15min cool down. If you want incorporate the above in easy zone 2 rides. The intervals will help you drop some weight also but stick at dropping some weigth if you have a bit of fat to lose but sometimes weight gain can be from increase in muscle from the exercise so don't stress about it.

    The above is just my suggestion and how I'd go about it. Work out your best cadence when doing the hill efforts and what works best for you.
  • KheSanhKheSanh Posts: 62
    Just re read what I wrote and maybe didn’t answer your question as well as I should. For climbs probably a cadence around 70 to 80rpm. When your fit you should be hitting the climb in high zone 4 (threshold) and holding that for the full climb.

    For your heart rate zones this should set you up for what you need to know: https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/knowledge/article/izn20140808-Understanding-Intensity-2--Heart-Rate-0
    You can set up your heart rate zones in Garmin connect which should transfer over to your Garmin GPS.

    For the sessions above:
    - First session cadence of 90rpm plus and heart rate zone 5. Your heart rate will lag so this is a 100% effort for the minute. If your heart rate hasn’t come down to low zone two in the allotted rest period have some more rest until it does.
    - Second session cadence 70 to 90rpm with heart rate zone 4. Again make sure you have recovered to low zone 2 between efforts.
    - Third session is cadence 110 rpm plus but no heart rate zone needed, it’s easy but fast spinning.
    As soon as you can’t keep your chosen intensity for the duration of the effort, finish and start your cool down. Write down what you did and try and better it the next week. Try and build the sessions over three weeks with the fourth being an easy week. Do this routine; 3 weeks hard building and 1 week easy recovery. Ride the hill in the fourth weeks after a few easy days of recovery when the legs are fresh.

    Hope this helps.
  • plodder73plodder73 Posts: 312
    You are 64, have you considered just going out and enjoying the ride and not worrying about times. Have a look round enjoy the scenery, listen to the birds. It's great, I am a few years younger and that's what I do. Good luck.
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,286
    Well I'm a decade behind you, but this year for the first time I failed to shift the post-Christmas weight by exercise alone. Something clearly changes as we age.

    Never got on with calorie counting all the time; it just sucks the enjoyment from life. Having seen Michael Mosely's documentary about fasting / living longer I decided to give the 5:2 diet a go.

    Now I eat only 600 calories on Mon / Thu and whatever I like the rest of the time. Lost 18 pounds since mid Feb and I'm now down to my target weight of 10st. I thought I'd find it difficult, but compared with trying to watch what you eat 24/7 this has been really easy for me. And astoundingly my blood lipid profile has improved massively; docs no longer threatening statins.

    The other surprise was that I find I can still exercise on the fasting days.

    You'd be amazed how big a difference losing 18 pounds makes when you're climbing!
  • markhewitt1978markhewitt1978 Posts: 7,614
    You are 64, have you considered just going out and enjoying the ride and not worrying about times. Have a look round enjoy the scenery, listen to the birds. It's great, I am a few years younger and that's what I do. Good luck.

    You can do both? I'm a few decades younger than that and I enjoy riding out to new places, and not worrying too much about speed. In fact I quite often concentrate on keeping my effort levels relatively low. But there's nothing wrong with pushing yourself and trying to get better, especially on roads you know well so you've seen the scenery and heard the birds before ;)
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,286
    "Well I'm a decade behind you"

    Hang on, I'm only 6 years behind you... :oops: (and apparently losing the ability to do simple arithmetic!)
  • KheSanhKheSanh Posts: 62
    We had a few elite older guys in my old club who were fantastic riders. I don't think age should be a barrier and having a goal or two keeps you motivated. It’s really only about 2hrs/week of hard work but you’ll really notice the improvement if that’s what you’re after. High intensity training is also good for the heart and really kick starts the metabolism so good for losing some weight too. Personally I do short sessions during the week either in my lunch break or after work (intervals, calisthenics, yoga and foam roller) and predominantly long zone 2 rides on weekends.
  • diydiy Posts: 6,680
    The "official" climb is from the turn in, at the bottom to just past the carpark at the top (the left hand corner) as technically that is the "top", not the national trust cafe.

    50 resting 170 max is pretty good for a person of your age. Assuming there is no medical reason not to, I'd focus on the following:

    1. left turn in at the start - You want to enter as fast as you possibly can (obviously safety being a priority) 20mph with a good gear can last you a fair chunk up to the first section before the first left bend. its actually steepest there just where the little car park on the left is. Try to hang on to your speed as long as you can without pushing the HR too high.

    2. get the weight down to a healthy BMI

    3. experiment with cadence to get a gear that keeps your HR in your Vo2 Max.

    4. train to perform in Zone 4 & 5 for 10 mins using intervals

    5. don't eat much before the attempt.

    6. choose a day without wind, when its reasonably cool

    7. pump your tyres up, lube your chain, check your brakes aren't binding etc.
  • akc42akc42 Posts: 43

    Never got on with calorie counting all the time; it just sucks the enjoyment from life. Having seen Michael Mosely's documentary about fasting / living longer I decided to give the 5:2 diet a go.
    ...

    The other surprise was that I find I can still exercise on the fasting days.

    I've actually been on the 5:2 diet now for about 2 years (except christmas and summer holiday). I use Monday and Wednesday most weeks. Monday I commute into London, so don't get much time to ride (or to notice I haven't eaten). Wednesday is now free (since reaching 64 I now only work 2 days a week) and I happen to live near the top of a hill where there is a nice loop to do a repeated climb and recovery. I did try a few of weeks ago to do 8 repeats of that in an hour using my heaver (specialized cross trail) bike and I seemed to survive (to do some longer rides later in the week).

    I might concentrate on that to do some of the repeat training that others have suggested in this thread :-)
  • akc42akc42 Posts: 43
    You are 64, have you considered just going out and enjoying the ride and not worrying about times. Have a look round enjoy the scenery, listen to the birds. It's great, I am a few years younger and that's what I do. Good luck.

    I do that too - but not all the time. In fact is was the very enjoyment of getting out from my house, on the edge of the London Suburbs, into the country that captured my attention just after I bought the bike and then started riding it at the beginning of 2013, that made me want to do more.

    The very fact I missed riding midweek last summer due to working full time drove a decision to partially retire down to 2 days a week from April this year, just so I could get out there midweek as well as the weekend this summer.

    But the other big driver for me is how much healthier I feel. I probably took 6 to 8 weeks from when I first started to even be able to get up a hill without stopping several times, and it felt awful. But since then I feel the wonderful well being as I get back from a ride of knowing I feel healthy. What prompted my original post in this thread is that buying the Garmin 510, and on the first ride out with it realising I had a relatively low cadence, and deliberately increasing it and maintaining it quite high (relative to my past) over a 40 mile ride and then later the same day a 16 mile one (which had some very steep hills in it) and I got home and my legs were singing with the pleasure of having given them a bit of a workout (rather than tired and strained - which I had often felt before). I felt I had a real chance of improving my performance.
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