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Longer or more often?

raz_kazraz_kaz Posts: 9
Since I started biking not long ago I just have a quick question as to which is more optimal for working up endurance, reducing saddle pain?

I'm just wondering if all things are the same, elevation, speed, HR etc.. Is it more beneficial to do 1-2 long ride a week or 3-4 shorter rides that amount to the same distance traveled?

Reason I'm asking this is because I'm trying to work my way up to being comfortable in the saddle for at least 20km, as this will be my one way commute to work in the summer months, but I am getting either cramps, or pain in the saddle. I've read that the saddle pain goes away with time on the bike but wondering if it's better to have shorter breaks between rides, ie multiple short rides, vs a longer break, one longer ride a week. So far my short rides are more fun as I am seeing an avg of almost 2 mins being shaved off per ride as I get used to the bike. I just worry that keeping rides this short hampers my long term endurance.

Thanks in advance for any info

Posts

  • lostboysaintlostboysaint Posts: 4,252
    Change the saddle, now. You shouldn't be getting any pain from it and little or no "getting used to it" will change that.
    Trail fun - Transition Bandit
    Road - Wilier Izoard Centaur/Cube Agree C62 Disc
    Allround - Cotic Solaris
  • jeremy1jeremy1 Posts: 71
    Get a Brooks saddle
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,089
    raz_kaz wrote:
    Since I started biking not long ago I just have a quick question as to which is more optimal for working up endurance, reducing saddle pain?

    I'm just wondering if all things are the same, elevation, speed, HR etc.. Is it more beneficial to do 1-2 long ride a week or 3-4 shorter rides that amount to the same distance traveled?

    Reason I'm asking this is because I'm trying to work my way up to being comfortable in the saddle for at least 20km, as this will be my one way commute to work in the summer months, but I am getting either cramps, or pain in the saddle. I've read that the saddle pain goes away with time on the bike but wondering if it's better to have shorter breaks between rides, ie multiple short rides, vs a longer break, one longer ride a week. So far my short rides are more fun as I am seeing an avg of almost 2 mins being shaved off per ride as I get used to the bike. I just worry that keeping rides this short hampers my long term endurance.

    Thanks in advance for any info

    If you only ride short distances, you will become good at riding short distances. If your goal is longer rides, then continuing to ride short distances is not going to help much in achieving that. Mix up your rides, some shorter/faster, some longer/slower.

    If you have saddle pain, then try a few different saddles until you find something that suits better. Loads of different saddles going cheap on ebay for this very reason.
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,123
    Don't give up on the saddle too soon. It's normal to experience a bit of tenderness around the sit-bones when you're not used to it, but that should ease as you build up time on the bike. If on the other hand you are experiencing numbness or loss of feeling in your more delicate parts, maybe it is time to try something different.

    And buy some decent padded cycling shorts.

    Brooks B17 is still the comfiest saddle for me, but everyone's backside is different.

    My advice would be to gradually increase time on the bike, and don't worry about speed and distance initially. You'll be up to 20 miles before you know it. Three rides a week will give you recovery days in between. Maybe a longer ride at the weekend, and some shorter, faster ones midweek?
  • raz_kazraz_kaz Posts: 9
    I have some padded bib shorts that I got after my very first ride, the pain and warnings from other riders was enough for me to invest in some of those. The pain isn't bad enough where things go numb or I'm forced to stop, but I definitely feel it the next couple of days after riding.

    So just to confirm, 1x24km is better than say 3x8km rides? With all things being equal as mentioned and for endurance purposes.
  • ProssPross Posts: 25,524
    Just riding regularly should tone up your glutes so they protect you sit bones. However, if you are getting discomfort in such a short time chances are the saddle is either not right for you or is set up incorrectly.
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,089
    raz_kaz wrote:
    So just to confirm, 1x24km is better than say 3x8km rides? With all things being equal as mentioned and for endurance purposes.

    Depends what you mean by 'endurance' I suppose. You don't say how long you've been riding, but 24km is a short ride by most definitions of the word. 8km is barely worth getting changed for.
  • raz_kazraz_kaz Posts: 9
    Imposter wrote:
    raz_kaz wrote:
    So just to confirm, 1x24km is better than say 3x8km rides? With all things being equal as mentioned and for endurance purposes.

    Depends what you mean by 'endurance' I suppose. You don't say how long you've been riding, but 24km is a short ride by most definitions of the word. 8km is barely worth getting changed for.
    My riding experience is basically zero. last time I was on a bicycle was almost 20 years ago as a kid riding around so nothing serious.

    I'm still getting used to the bike but I guess my question is more in regards to saddle "pain". My average rides are about 8.5kms and I am limited to time more than physical ability. My times have been getting better as I have been able to shave off 2 mins everytime I go out and I attribute that to just being more comfortable on the bike by slowly adjusting saddle height, fore and aft position etc.

    In order to get over this "pain", I'm wondering if frequency is better than length of time.
  • lesfirthlesfirth Posts: 1,104
    My experience is that your backside does not make a B17 move one millimeter, no matter how long you sit on it. It is your backside that adjusts to the saddle. Once your B17 and your backside have reached a state of harmony your backside/B17 interface is something to cherish. This experience was several decades ago, my current life expectancy does not have time to try a b17 again so a bit of plastic is doing the job quite well.
  • raz_kaz wrote:
    Since I started biking not long ago I just have a quick question as to which is more optimal for working up endurance, reducing saddle pain?

    I'm just wondering if all things are the same, elevation, speed, HR etc.. Is it more beneficial to do 1-2 long ride a week or 3-4 shorter rides that amount to the same distance traveled?

    Reason I'm asking this is because I'm trying to work my way up to being comfortable in the saddle for at least 20km, as this will be my one way commute to work in the summer months, but I am getting either cramps, or pain in the saddle. I've read that the saddle pain goes away with time on the bike but wondering if it's better to have shorter breaks between rides, ie multiple short rides, vs a longer break, one longer ride a week. So far my short rides are more fun as I am seeing an avg of almost 2 mins being shaved off per ride as I get used to the bike. I just worry that keeping rides this short hampers my long term endurance.

    Thanks in advance for any info
    Frequency matters for fitness improvement (due to the time course for various physiological responses to training stimulus, the reversibility principle kicks in fairly quickly) and so I would suggest that over less frequent rides, but you'll also need to include a longer ride in your routine at some stage if that is your goal.

    However you need to take time to build up your training, many attempt to do too much too quickly and it often results in niggles, injuries or other problems.

    Of course there are other things as some have noted that might help improve your saddle issues (a saddle more suited to you, wearing proper bike shorts) but one i didn't see was ensuring that the bike fits you properly. This is the #1 thing everyone needs to get sorted before attempting to do lots of regular riding.

    Incorrect saddle height, and fore-aft placement and angles can cause issues, as well as handlebar placement will affect the way you are sitting on your saddle.
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,123
    lesfirth wrote:
    My experience is that your backside does not make a B17 move one millimeter, no matter how long you sit on it. It is your backside that adjusts to the saddle. Once your B17 and your backside have reached a state of harmony your backside/B17 interface is something to cherish. This experience was several decades ago, my current life expectancy does not have time to try a b17 again so a bit of plastic is doing the job quite well.

    My B17 Special was armchair comfy out of the box. 7 years on and there's just the faintest hint of a dimple where each sitbone resides, and the honey leather is taking on a slightly darker hue. I think we get on so well together because my riding position is more touring than racing. Don't think a B17 would suit a more aggressive fit or a large saddle to bar drop
  • bucklesbuckles Posts: 694
    Longer or more often? What about better?
    25% off your first MyProtein order: sign up via https://www.myprotein.com/referrals.lis ... EE-R29Y&li or use my referral code LEE-R29Y
  • Mikey23Mikey23 Posts: 5,306
    Some good advice here. I agree with @imposter. Mix your training and have a purpose for everything you do. Fast/slow/fartlek/intervals/recovery/hills/flat all have their place. Doing loads of junk miles will just make you good at doing junk miles. Give yourself short and long term goals. They should be SMART ie specific, measurable, achievable etc and should be appropriate to you and you only. And above all, enjoy yourself!
  • onionmkonionmk Posts: 101
    Where is the pain? If in the sitbones it will help to do longer rides as there is only bone and fat in this area which can adapt to deal with the pressure. If it's in the perineum (in between the sit bones and the privates) then it's time to see a bike fitter or atleast change your saddle or current saddle setup. Your perinuem consists of soft tissue which has delicate nerves and blood vessels. Unlike your sitbones they won't adapt well to pressure and compression of the nerves and blood vessels will only cause damage and could lead to further injury.
  • Hi, I am new to cycling and have not ridden since childhood either. Been cycling now for 5 weeks and am up to 60km rides. If your getting faster by two mins every ride you should start upping your distance to around the 20km Mark. For me this distance seemed daunting at first, however it's actually really not that bad. My discomfort was numb hands, however have been working on my core since and this has helped. How long is it taking you to do 8.5km? When I first tried 10km it took me an hour with 6 rest stops..now I'm under 30mins and not stopping for around 30km. If you take any advice from me please take this.. go out and do the 20km even if you have to stop and rest for a bit. You will be amazed at what you can do if you just get out and do it!
  • imafatmanimafatman Posts: 351
    In my experience you are better off doing shorter rides in the early stages. This will help your censored by not ruining it with too much too quick and giving it time to toughen up. As a fat man I stopped getting pain after about the 3rd week of riding every other day.

    Get a good saddle that matches your riding style and censored bone width and get the seat height and angle right and you should be able to go 2-3 hours and not feel too sore.
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,865
    I do a bit of bike fitting often I could sell a new saddle but often it is actually an improperly postion saddle that causes discomfort. Once I correct this the existing saddle is fine.

    you should not be in discomfort after 20km on a saddle. I did 320km (this is nothing special many people ride this sort of distance) this sunday gone on a selle Italia SLR saddle (no cut out). this a hard flat narrow saddle, not like a Brooks B17. I had no pain. So saying get a B17 misses the point. Keff66 has it right. The B17 works for some but not other (I own a B17 as it happens it is nice) but it is not the only saddle that can work. I dont think I could sit on the B17 in the position I have on my race bikes. It width means I want to be more upright. Saddle shape is in part dictated by your overal position. The narrower the saddle the more stretched out you are. The wider the saddle the more upright you are. It is not just sit bones, that is a misconception.

    I used to find the Selle Italia flite 1990 uncomfortable until I figured how to position saddles. Now I can sit on one with no problem.

    Alex makes a good point about riding frequently. it works. Ride regulary ride a mox of distances. If you can vary your route to work some days hilier other days flatter this is a good way if building in a mix of efforts. I you can make some of your commutes an hour or 1.5 hrs on the way in or on the way back then your fittness will build rapidly. A mix is better than the same every day. No point in grinding your legs into pulp. Training does not mean eyeballs out all the time, that can make you slower in the long run.

    However make sure you are sitting right on the bike. The saddle should be at the correct height (a very rough starting point is your proper inseam *0.885). the saddle should be level, fore/aft should be correctly set. To do this pedal on a turbo and note where you are sitting. you should be right at the back of the saddle. Position the saddle so your bum is right at the back. now if you are now more upright or stretched DO NOT correct by moving the saddle. This position is FIXED for a seat tube angle. as Alex said you may not have a bike right for you. stem length/angle and handlebars can be changed to correct your position but if it way out sell the bike and get another that fits properly. All bike fitting starts with saddle height then saddle fore/aft then moving to the stem/bars then finished pedals/cleats. If after position the saddle correctly then try a new one, however which one is for you is educated guesswork at best. No one can actually tell you for sure.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • My beginnings of riding were on a mountain bike, but it's mostly similar, as far as building up fitness goes.

    A good rider isn't one who can ride fast or far, but one who can do both and do it frequently. That's what sets hobbyists and casual riders apart.

    Best to keep in mind that whatever fitness you build up, you'll start loosing it in a matter of weeks. And in my experience, endurance stays longer than speed.

    So riding short high effort distances daily with two or four long rides a month is beter than 10 long rides a month, at least for building up and staying fit.
    But don't forget your resting days.

    As for saddlo sores, it's perfectly normal and you'll feel improvent within the first month of frequent riding. Some may even have back sores, as they're not used to the riding positon.
    Do, however, make sure that your riding position is correct and the bike fits you.

    My very beginnings, I used to ride less than 10km - distance I could do in one go. But i found quickly i could do that every day, sometimes even twice. I was gradually building up that distance and next month, I was doing 25km off-road trips with ease.

    As soon as you can ride comfortably about 30km, get into climbing. I can't overstate how important climbing is and how beneficial it is to your fitness. If you can't climb, you're not really riding.
    It's pain at first, but once you get used to it, you'll get hooked on.
  • zefszefs Posts: 484
    Putting the saddle nose about 4 degrees downwards makes a huge difference for me (when it's straight I can do 20k before getting sore but at 4-7 degrees I can do 100k without issues). Taking breaks and getting off the saddle while riding will also help.

    Oh and try putting less air on the tyres depending on your weight, most cyclists over pump their tyres.
  • stueysstueys Posts: 1,332
    Desperately trying not to make the obvious 'longer always leading to more often' joke....;-)

    So I would go and get a bike fit. A good fitter will advise you on saddle choice and sit bone width as well. If you aren't comfortable for 20km (which can't be more than one hour) than there's an issue somewhere. The other thing that's worth checking is the quality of bib shorts you've got; the pad and the comfort of the pad varies massively between the brands. I only run with castelli or rapha bibs (and of those I prefer rapha) because I've found the pad in those suits me. YMMV, there are loads of reviews online. Spend money on bibs.

    In terms of getting fit both frequency and duration matter. Your sit bones will adapt to cycle and the saddle over time, but getting onto a bike often will help. Doing at least one long ride a week is great for building up your endurance, on your shorter rides try to increase the intensity. There's a training triangle of duration, intensity and frequency.
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