Most productive way to use my commuting hours in the saddle

daniel_bdaniel_b Posts: 8,347
Afternoon all,

I've been a Trainerroad devotee for the last 2.5 years or so, with my lifestlye and commitments it just works really well.
For the first year I rode mid volume, which is 5 rides \ 7 hours per week, and for the last year or more I've been on low volume, which is 3 rides 3.5 hours, plus a 2\2.5hr ride outside at the weekend.

For the last 6.5 years I have been very fortunate to live 5 minutes walk from work, but from the spring I will have an actual commute again.
New workplace has multiple showers, covered bike storage, lockers AND a drying room, plus there is noise we can keep a computer at work, and not have to lug one in on the bike, so I am hoping to be able to go in with just a large saddle bag, and shouldn't be too much of a slog.

Distance is pretty much bang on 20 miles, so with working from home 2\3 days a week, that will equate to an average of 100 miles each week.
It's got a bit of elevation, but on the main rolling would describe it pretty well.
I estimate to start with each journey should take around 1hr 15, so saddle time will be 5 hours \ 7.5 depending on the number of days I am in the office.

Still keen to get a weekend ride in, but may need to factor in that to how hard I ride on the commute on a 3 day commute week.
Outdoor ride is normally Saturday, so thinking to commute Monday, Wednesday one week, and then Monday, Wednesday, Thursday the next - to give some rest time, as opposed to getting home Friday evening, and then riding fairly hard some 14 hours later.

So in light of the above, is there anyone out there with a similar commute that uses some kind of scientific approach to ride it in a specific way?
I don't think there are 'that' many junctions and trafic lights on my route for the middle 12 miles or so.
I had considered either picking, or making myself some strava segments across the route there and back, and trying to tackle different segments each day of the week or something.

Cheers
Felt F70 05 (Turbo)
Marin Palisades Trail 91 and 06
Scott CR1 SL 12
Cannondale Synapse Adventure 15 & 16 Di2
Scott Foil 18

Posts

  • hopkinbhopkinb Posts: 5,245
    Will there be fellow cycle commuters to "race"? If so, race them! If not, race imaginary ones. I batter it every day, unless it's raining, no acknowledgement of headwinds - I just push the same ratios harder. I do have a lot of traffic lights though, so guaranteed a breather, and it's only half your distance, but I do it every day, so 100 miles per week minimum.
  • timothywtimothyw Posts: 2,481
    Those days when you have someone similarly strong to you (or preferably a bit stronger!) are the best. Nothing motivates me like wheels to chase!

    Unfortunately it's mathematically inevitable that most of the people you see are either rather slower or a lot faster (or going the other way ;-))

    But yeah, given you have the flexibility to work a couple of days a week from home (and so rest) I'd say you can approach it however you want - you could just ride the commutes easy and get home and hit some intervals, or you could try and smash the commute home a couple of days a week, up to you.

    Do you have a proper power meter? This would be good so that you can compare how much actual effort you've made on a given commute/over the past few days and so base any additional sessions on that information.

    I'm a big fan of Xert, although with my 14 mile each way commute five days a week I find it hard to get quality sessions into all the mileage.

    Keep in mind that you might actually get better training results from smashing some hard intervals one evening then riding an easy commute the next day, giving your legs a solid recovery spin. Full rest can leave your legs in knots.
  • daniel_bdaniel_b Posts: 8,347
    Thanks both,

    There is a possibility of some organised groups, as there is prospectively a fair few going from a similar area, however (not that I deem myself to be fast) but the chances are if we are looking at getting people into the commute from scratch, those rides would be pretty slow - very happy to take part in them sometimes, but would not want to do that 6 times a week.

    Though could work as a easy recovery ride.

    10 miles each way sounds great, guess you can crack that out in 30 minutes or so if the light are kind to you - hoping to get my 20 down to an hour, the one trial run I roe was 1hr 7, and that was with a wrong turn, and not absolute full gas, though it was two of us, so some drafting etc.

    Agreed, riding with someone faster is great, and a real motivation, but as you say th chances are relatively slim that will happen.

    I do have access to a proper power meter, though currently do not have one on either of the likely commute bikes, but this could fairly easily be rectified, and that's actually a really good point, if I'm looking to compare actual wattage output, versus times, then that will be a key tool to helping me.

    I don't really think an easy spin home followed by some intervals would work really, but I will contemplate a short 30 or 45 minute session in my lunch hour on my wfh days - that could be a nice little boost to fitness, and not require getting up really early.

    Interesting point on the hard efforts and then a recovery spin, I think the hard efforts, sprints, over unders etc, seem to have the most effect for me in terms of improving power.
    I've also started to commiting to some basic strength training for my legs, just simple squats and lifts purely leg wise, to see if that will yield dividends or not, just want to keep it up through the winter and see if I see any benefits.

    Thank you for the thoughts, plenty to think about :-)
    Felt F70 05 (Turbo)
    Marin Palisades Trail 91 and 06
    Scott CR1 SL 12
    Cannondale Synapse Adventure 15 & 16 Di2
    Scott Foil 18
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,417
    Sounds like a good commute - not sure I'd have the will power to do it all the time - but then, I don't see any bikes on my commute, so it's just me - which is kinda good and kinda bad - I can go at my own pace and know it's all my own effort - but that's the bad bit, it's fairly easy (especially at this time of year) to go easier.

    Not suggesting you're not up to the route - but have you considered the option of part way commute? Either PT or drive'n'ride - even if it's just to mix it up a bit.
  • daniel_bdaniel_b Posts: 8,347
    edited December 2019
    PT is not an option, trains go in the wrong directions.

    Drive and ride could be an option, but I'd like to not use the van, and also my gf tends to need it for her work.

    I don't yet know if I'll be able to hack it week in, week out, but I really hope I can - time will tell.
    Felt F70 05 (Turbo)
    Marin Palisades Trail 91 and 06
    Scott CR1 SL 12
    Cannondale Synapse Adventure 15 & 16 Di2
    Scott Foil 18
  • drhaggisdrhaggis Posts: 779
    I'm really late to the party but what the heck. Have you started commuting? I feel intervals would leave you shot, although you might squeeze one intervals session a week. However, sweetspot/tempo sounds like it could work. It won't trash you, it is repeatable and, apparently, it's good for overall fitness. Con? It feels so slooow uphil, and unnaturally hard downhill.
  • davep1davep1 Posts: 694
    Have you got a Garmin or other bike computer? I can program interval sessions into mine, and sometimes do these on my commute. I don't have an indoor setup, so this is the only "organised training" I do.

    I've got 40/20 second sprints - basically just a beep every 40 or 20 seconds, and I either blast it/go easy or go easy/blast it for 10 minutes, repeat that 3 times, and a 10 min warm up and cool down to book end it.
    I also have temp intervals, 3 lots of 15 minutes in z3 with 5 mins recovery between, and a warm up and cool down. I've added HR zones to these, and you can do it on power if you have the meter.
    My commute is about 7 miles, but that's on the shortest busiest road, so I go off into the countryside and make it anything from 10-25 miles. I work 5 days a week, but try and commute 2-3 times with a social ride at the weekend. With the weather how it is at the moment, that sometimes means commuting 3 days in a row, which is tiring; I don't do the intervals often when it's like this.
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 23,969
    It's not clear what the OP wants to achieve...
    Approaching any training regime without a clue of what is that you want to achieve seems a bit of a shot in the dark.
    Intervals are the answers to most training questions, but what is exactly that you will be "intervalling" for?
  • daniel_bdaniel_b Posts: 8,347
    drhaggis said:

    I'm really late to the party but what the heck. Have you started commuting? I feel intervals would leave you shot, although you might squeeze one intervals session a week. However, sweetspot/tempo sounds like it could work. It won't trash you, it is repeatable and, apparently, it's good for overall fitness. Con? It feels so slooow uphil, and unnaturally hard downhill.

    Hi Dr H - not yet, and it looks like it won't start now until May, as the new building is nowhere near finished, or even has a data connection yet :D
    I'm coming around to the idea of riding in twice a week, every week, and on the week when I go in 3 days, to drive - that way I can take in a new batch of clothes, foody type items, and should mean I am more rested for a Saturday ride, or more turbo work etc.

    As it happens, I quite enjoy sweetspot / tempo work, TR is littered with it!
    davep1 said:

    Have you got a Garmin or other bike computer? I can program interval sessions into mine, and sometimes do these on my commute. I don't have an indoor setup, so this is the only "organised training" I do.

    I've got 40/20 second sprints - basically just a beep every 40 or 20 seconds, and I either blast it/go easy or go easy/blast it for 10 minutes, repeat that 3 times, and a 10 min warm up and cool down to book end it.
    I also have temp intervals, 3 lots of 15 minutes in z3 with 5 mins recovery between, and a warm up and cool down. I've added HR zones to these, and you can do it on power if you have the meter.
    My commute is about 7 miles, but that's on the shortest busiest road, so I go off into the countryside and make it anything from 10-25 miles. I work 5 days a week, but try and commute 2-3 times with a social ride at the weekend. With the weather how it is at the moment, that sometimes means commuting 3 days in a row, which is tiring; I don't do the intervals often when it's like this.

    I have a Garmin 1000 - I used to 'program' quite complex intervals both running and cycling, into my old school forerunner 305 - so basically press the lap button to begin, and it would flash up a message I had put in, to keep it in this specific range for this long, and then the timer would begin, was really useful I found, but that was using the archaic training centre software, which has probably not been updated for 15 odd years, and last time I looked Garmin Connect did not offer the same customisable features - namely the ability to type in free text and have it come up on the screen.

    It's not clear what the OP wants to achieve...
    Approaching any training regime without a clue of what is that you want to achieve seems a bit of a shot in the dark.
    Intervals are the answers to most training questions, but what is exactly that you will be "intervalling" for?

    Hi Ugo, all I'm trying to achieve is more power, and a better w/kg figure.
    I've been increasing my FTP steadily over the last 3 years, and want to continue that upwards trajectory - though I realise at some point it will level off.
    If I can use the commute to help the process, than all well and good.

    Going back to my first sentence (Driving in once every 2 weeks, and riding in 2 days each and every week) I am thinking that could be the way forward, and then use my wfh lunchtimes to carry out a 45 or 60 minute TR session.
    I could potentially cane it into work when I am rested and fresh, soft pedal home, in time for the turbo the following lunchtime.

    I'm sure it will evolve over time :-)
    Felt F70 05 (Turbo)
    Marin Palisades Trail 91 and 06
    Scott CR1 SL 12
    Cannondale Synapse Adventure 15 & 16 Di2
    Scott Foil 18
  • It might start relatively dull, but the Zwift "TT Tune-Up" workout plan ramps up around weeks 5/6, there's been a few sessions recently where I've either not been able to match the z5/6 requirements or I've had to reduce the requirements by 10% to scrape through them.

    https://whatsonzwift.com/workouts/tt-tuneup/#tt-tuneup

    My commute is sub 5 miles each way, but between the traffic light concentration and the volume of motor vehicle traffic, there's no way I could contemplate much in the way of training while commuting in Southampton... Simply riding the fatbike, especially up the hills on the way home is enough!
    ================
    2017 Cube Attain GTC Pro Disc 2016
    2016 Voodoo Wazoo

    Formerly known as NitrousOxideUK (used new forum settings to sync name with my STW account alias)
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