Forum home Road cycling forum Training, fitness and health

Stronger, faster and endurance

slowmartslowmart Posts: 3,948
edited August 2015 in Training, fitness and health
So my previous fitness level was so poor that any riding increased my fitness and reduced my weight and I'm currently just 4lbs off my upper limit for my BMI.

I usually do a couple of tempo rides 28-34 miles from 16-17mph and a 60mile ride at weekends at a slower pace but still strenuous and I've built up to this over a period of 4 months.

I'm determined to increase my fitness over the winter but as I am short of informed insight I'm considering different options.

Certainly i can continue along the same lines, enjoy the lack of structure and ride for the most part for the pure pleasure and be content with the resultant gains or i can look to adopt a more structured plan and target my speed, strength and endurance which is something I'm willing to do given the winter weather is pants and i know I'll enjoy the performance gains that will accrue.


I suppose the question i'm asking is will a structured training plan deliver much more in gains than just two high tempo rides and a 4-5 hour ride at the weekend?

Thanks in advance
“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

Posts

  • KheSanhKheSanh Posts: 62
    Yep you should see better gains with a more structured approach over time. Check out the training plans on the British Cycling website, they're a good starting point. It's also good to keep a log of each training ride detailing what you did, how you felt and things to work on the next time.
  • cadseencadseen Posts: 170
    edited July 2015
    You will continue to improve for the first few years of adaption. My advice will be to mainly enjoy it while building in some structured sessions if you wish. But to motivate you and improve I would suggest trying to ride with a group or a training partner, preferably someone experienced that could even coach you.
  • So my previous fitness level was so poor that any riding increased my fitness and reduced my weight and I'm currently just 4lbs off my upper limit for my BMI.

    I usually do a couple of tempo rides 28-34 miles from 16-17mph and a 60mile ride at weekends at a slower pace but still strenuous and I've built up to this over a period of 4 months.

    I'm determined to increase my fitness over the winter but as I am short of informed insight I'm considering different options.

    Certainly i can continue along the same lines, enjoy the lack of structure and ride for the most part for the pure pleasure and be content with the resultant gains or i can look to adopt a more structured plan and target my speed, strength and endurance which is something I'm willing to do given the winter weather is pants and i know I'll enjoy the performance gains that will accrue.


    I suppose the question i'm asking is will a structured training plan deliver much more in gains than just two high tempo rides and a 4-5 hour ride at the weekend?

    Thanks in advance
    Gains will eventually plateau if your training doesn't change. Given you have gradually increased your workload to now, that's a good approach and sounds like you are doing well.

    Once the training level plateaus then your body will ultimately adapt to it and will no longer be stimulated to improve fitness further. To improve you will need to up the workload (being a combination of frequency, duration and intensity). Structure is one way of doing that, but not the only way. Good structure will however mean the workload is appropriate to continuing to build fitness, rather than an ad hoc approach.

    Are you able to ride more frequently than 3 times per week? Lifting that to 5-6 days over time would likely help somewhat.

    Structure will help to an extent but needs to be in a way that maintains the enjoyment factor for you, and is in accordance with your goals, which are a little vague.

    Some really enjoy structure in their training as it gives a distinct purpose for days they head out on the bike instead of being a bit aimless. But you don't want to lose enjoyment either, not everyone likes an overdose of discipline either. Of course it can be a mix, with some free form riding with specific work mixed in, although development of fitness is an integral of all that you do, so the nature, frequency and volume of free form riding will affect the level and amount of specific work you do. Finding a balance that's right for you takes a bit of experimentation, and sometimes some encouragement.

    It does help to have a plan that is suitable for you, your background/experience, available ride/training time, goals and so on.

    Good luck with it!
  • slowmartslowmart Posts: 3,948
    So my previous fitness level was so poor that any riding increased my fitness and reduced my weight and I'm currently just 4lbs off my upper limit for my BMI.

    I usually do a couple of tempo rides 28-34 miles from 16-17mph and a 60mile ride at weekends at a slower pace but still strenuous and I've built up to this over a period of 4 months.

    I'm determined to increase my fitness over the winter but as I am short of informed insight I'm considering different options.

    Certainly i can continue along the same lines, enjoy the lack of structure and ride for the most part for the pure pleasure and be content with the resultant gains or i can look to adopt a more structured plan and target my speed, strength and endurance which is something I'm willing to do given the winter weather is pants and i know I'll enjoy the performance gains that will accrue.


    I suppose the question i'm asking is will a structured training plan deliver much more in gains than just two high tempo rides and a 4-5 hour ride at the weekend?

    Thanks in advance
    Gains will eventually plateau if your training doesn't change. Given you have gradually increased your workload to now, that's a good approach and sounds like you are doing well.

    Once the training level plateaus then your body will ultimately adapt to it and will no longer be stimulated to improve fitness further. To improve you will need to up the workload (being a combination of frequency, duration and intensity). Structure is one way of doing that, but not the only way. Good structure will however mean the workload is appropriate to continuing to build fitness, rather than an ad hoc approach.

    Are you able to ride more frequently than 3 times per week? Lifting that to 5-6 days over time would likely help somewhat.

    Structure will help to an extent but needs to be in a way that maintains the enjoyment factor for you, and is in accordance with your goals, which are a little vague.

    Some really enjoy structure in their training as it gives a distinct purpose for days they head out on the bike instead of being a bit aimless. But you don't want to lose enjoyment either, not everyone likes an overdose of discipline either. Of course it can be a mix, with some free form riding with specific work mixed in, although development of fitness is an integral of all that you do, so the nature, frequency and volume of free form riding will affect the level and amount of specific work you do. Finding a balance that's right for you takes a bit of experimentation, and sometimes some encouragement.

    It does help to have a plan that is suitable for you, your background/experience, available ride/training time, goals and so on.

    Good luck with it!


    I've just gone to four days and then from September I'll move the focus to hours on the bike and setting 10 hours a week as my target as this seems a decent benchmark for now and see how the mileage increases over the winter using the 10 hours as a baseline.

    I'm conscious I need to allow my body to recover and use a third/fourth week as a recovery and that will depend on how my body adapts.

    The suggestion of finding a balanced approach is interesting and I'm going to have one day for intervals and as an absolutely last resort a session on the turbo as and see how that goes.

    It's the plateau I'm looking to avoid but I'm nowhere near that yet!
    “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
  • A recovery every 3-4 weeks is unnecessary for most and can end up being less effective, mainly because most people already have breaks in "training" due to rest of life issues. e.g. if the weather is nice and there a no particular restrictions to being on the bike, why make this week a recovery (when it's not really needed), when next week might end up being completely lousy weather?

    Just gradually increase the workload, e.g. on average add just 15-min per week to total ride time and your body will adapt just fine (e.g. 2 months from now you are doing 2 hours more per week than you are now). Recover when you really need it. Keep it fun.

    Biggest mistake made by most is attempting to do too much too quickly. That doesn't usually end well.
Sign In or Register to comment.