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Improvement Targets

apprent1ceapprent1ce Posts: 86
edited June 2016 in Road beginners
I took up cycling about two years ago, ride throughout the year in spare time and cover about 2,500 miles per year. Because of time constraints joining a club has not been possible so learn mainly online.

I recently did the Tour of Cambridgeshire, 84 miles, and recorded a time of 5hr 20, average 16.2mph (this included an 8 min stop at the 70mile feed station). In the weeks leading up to the event I did a couple of 80 mile solo rides with similar stats. Next year I’d like to target 4:45 and wondered what the best training regime is to achieve this?

Typically my riding involves a couple of short 1-2 hr evening rides where I try to do hilly circuits (NB this is the mountainous region of Suffolk with average elevation of 45ft /mile!!) and then do a 60-80 mile ride at weekend with less average elevation. On the shorter rides I will normally target a couple of strava segments to attack to mix the tempo up a bit.

I’ve worked on cadence and this now averages 86; heart rate 150.

I’m 52 and 68kg and have been a journeyman sportsman – made all the school teams but never a star. From reading other posts I understand my mileage is not great but given other constraints I would find it difficult to increase this significantly. Is this a realistic aim and generally what could I be doing differently?

Any advice appreciated!

Posts

  • iPeteiPete Posts: 6,076
    You might not have much time for lots of miles but how are you measuring the quality of the time that you do have?
    Are you just riding along or applying any structure like intervals, threshold, etc.
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    Hard to target a time. You have no control over the wind.

    Focus on getting yourself fitter. So use something like trainerroad. Plenty of plans there and to suit all time restrictions. You get better value for time on a turbo.
  • BobbinogsBobbinogs Posts: 4,841
    Agree with the comment by Cougie about target times being a bit difficult to predict as conditions will make a big difference, as will sitting behind some big chap happy to tow you around on the day. I think part of how to improve is to ride your bike like you think you do but don't:
    apprent1ce wrote:
    I took up cycling about two years ago, ride throughout the year in spare time and cover about 2,500 miles per year.
    ...
    Typically my riding involves a couple of short 1-2 hr evening rides where I try to do hilly circuits (NB this is the mountainous region of Suffolk with average elevation of 45ft /mile!!) and then do a 60-80 mile ride at weekend...

    So I reckon 2 rides of 15-30 miles and one of avg 70 miles. That is about 110 miles a week or over 5,000 miles a year, yet you actually do half that. Hence, the easy way to improve is to actually DO 2 rides of 15-30 miles and one of avg 70 miles ;-)
  • 86inch86inch Posts: 161
    To the OP, i think you need more structured training - if you aren't actually racing, you don't need to go overboard on the science but quality time really counts.
    I've ridden since being about 12, and i'm 45 now, don't race any more and don't do anything like the miles i would like to. Not sure of my annual mileage as i don't use Strava or keep any continuous tally but its not huge. I target our trips to France as a goal and therefore train to be as fit as possible for that.

    I mix it up, but usually manage 2-3 sessions between 1-2 hours, plus another 3+ hour ride per week. The shorter sessions will contain a variety of hard intervals and hill-repeats, the longer rides will be a mix of zone3 plus harder components and including as many hills as i can. There might be an occasional "recovery ride" with my boys or wife too.

    A 1-hour ride might contain 10-15min warm up, one set of 6 intervals, a set of 6 hill repeats and perhaps one more set of intervals followed by a cool down. The interval duration and rest-period will vary depending on how i'm feeling. A slightly longer ride might contain the same structured bits with some zone-3 or 4 in between.
    For a change, other short rides might just be a warm-up followed by an hour or more of very hard paced riding, including such hills as i can plan in, followed by a cool down.

    I live in Lincolnshire, so its not exactly hilly here either (but the wind!!!!), I'm at least lucky that there are a few short-ish hills of 15% that are ideal for hill repeats.

    Luckily this approach works for me and i can keep reasonably fit and really enjoy my trips to the Alps and never feel slow.

    Try reading Chris Carmichaels "The Time Crunched Cyclist", even if you don't follow the plans, you will take lots of pointers from it and be able to make the principles work for you.
  • BobbinogsBobbinogs Posts: 4,841
    Blimey! Do you ever ride your bike just to enjoy it?
  • webboowebboo Posts: 3,154
    It doesn't have to be fun to be fun :D
  • 86inch86inch Posts: 161
    Bobbinogs wrote:
    Blimey! Do you ever ride your bike just to enjoy it?

    Good question! But if i want to get fit enough to actually enjoy a trip to the Alps, i don't really have time to potter, but as Webboo says most of it is "type 2" fun... :D

    My other main hobby is climbing and mountaineering, and much of the fun in this can very definitely be classed as the "type 2" variety!
  • webboowebboo Posts: 3,154
    And my other main occupation is bouldering.
  • apprent1ceapprent1ce Posts: 86
    Thanks for the feedback. You’re right that a target time is rather arbitrary, I think what I should have said is I’d like to be closer in performance to those that did this event in 4.45. Similarly, gauging my general efforts against others on Strava doing similar rides on any specific day, I’d like to be averaging 1 mph more than I currently do.

    Proper training plans seem to be the way to go so I need to sort out max threshold. The 220 – age for heart rate makes most of my sessions in the high zones so definitely need something more accurate! I’ve also ordered “The Time Crunched Cyclist"

    Will report back, cheers!
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,052
    If you are using 220-age as your HR calculation, then you are probably training in inaccurate zones. So you are probably wasting a lot of potential training hours.
  • supermurph09supermurph09 Posts: 2,471
    apprent1ce wrote:
    Thanks for the feedback. You’re right that a target time is rather arbitrary, I think what I should have said is I’d like to be closer in performance to those that did this event in 4.45. Similarly, gauging my general efforts against others on Strava doing similar rides on any specific day, I’d like to be averaging 1 mph more than I currently do.

    Proper training plans seem to be the way to go so I need to sort out max threshold. The 220 – age for heart rate makes most of my sessions in the high zones so definitely need something more accurate! I’ve also ordered “The Time Crunched Cyclist"

    Will report back, cheers!


    I did a comprehensive blog when using the TCTP, you may find is useful: https://supermurph.wordpress.com/
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