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  1. #1
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    Training Program suggestions?

    OK, so I got my new bike, lovin' it, and starting to look at new routes to take to extend the 10-mile loops I've done a few times.

    When I started running, there was variety to choose from on training programs to build strength and endurance up to running 5k from no running at all, and then to go from 5k to 10k, 10k to 1/2 Marathon, etc. Even had smart phone apps to help make the programs even more logistically simple.

    I'm not finding so much for cycling, and some of the stuff I do find seems to be written in some language I don't get, because it's heavy on acronyms and shorthand. I find it humorous and ironic that plans for "beginners" use such notation, as only a cyclist presumably beyond that level of training would know what they mean. LOL

    So, anyway, suggestions for plans to help me boost my strength and endurance? I am not great hill climber, so that's an area I could focus, and I've done a pretty mild 14-miler, so I can go farther than my 10-miler if I keep to a mild pace. So I guess I'm looking to work on hills, endurance, and eventually speed. When I did the longer ride, it was actually 13.8 miles at about 12.9mph average. My ride on the 10.3-mile loop yesterday averaged 14.1mph, just to give some indications on where my pace is at currently.

    Any suggestions would be fantastic.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    It will go into more detail than you need but I would highly recommend the Cyclists Training Bible by Joe Friel. It will give you a good foundation for cycling training, it is geared towards racing but the ideas can be adapted to your cycling goals.

  3. #3
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    Thanks, I'll check that out, for sure.

    I'd also be curious how folks integrate cycling and running, as ideally I'd like to cross-train both.

    I've had these crazy notions of swimming, as well, but that needs to wait, lol. I have enough on my plate.

  4. #4
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    Couldn't you take the concepts from the running programs and adapt them to cycling. (distance days, speed days, hill days, rest days, etc.) I am not a runner by any means, and not much of a cyclist at this point, but I would think the concepts would align fairly well between these two activities. I might be naïve, but it would seem like any activity where you are looking to build performance and fitness would all follow a similar plan, starting with proper form, then progressing to strength and endurance while maintaining proper form.

  5. #5
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    forget training at this point and just ride your bike and have fun without pressure to "train" or perform at a certain level. Ride longer one day a week. Ride some hills and ride some flats. Build your endurance slowy but steadly-10% increase in long rides. Back off every 4th week. Leave the computer off the bike and just ride for time for 1 hr or 1.5 hrs for example. Your body doesn't know miles but it knows time. Once you start counting miles you will be focusing on speed. Just ride and your body will adapt and you will be riding further and faster. Maybe next spring start putting some structure in your rides or just ride like I discribed above for awhile longer-whatever feels right. Even if your weight is good and you are aerobically fit you need time/miles to develop cycling muscles as well as skill handling the bike.
    "The problem with losing your mind is that by the time you realize it's gone, it's too late to get it back."
    Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

  6. #6
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    For where you are at now I'd say your proper training program would be quite simple. Ride lots. Try to make your rides gradually longer and you'll notice that they'll get gradually faster as well. Intervals and all that jazz aren't really what you need right now.
    Amassing Miles - My Little Cycling Blog

  7. #7
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    I'm essentially with the 'ride lots' crowd. Building base miles comes before getting into a more regimented training program. And when that time comes, it should be tailored to your goals, short and long term.

    I part slightly with some members, though. I think cadence should be monitored, good form and a smooth pedal stroke developed, so don't leave your computer at home.

    I also think there's a place for an interval or two. Could be something as simple as racing to that sign post up ahead. Considering that you mentioned challenging yourself, I think that would serve to keep you interested/ entertained along the way.

    Here are two linked related to cadence/ smoothing the pedal stroke. Not specifically traniing related, but kinda....
    VIDEO: Pedaling Technique

    Cycling Cadence

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by PJ352 View Post
    I'm essentially with the 'ride lots' crowd. Building base miles comes before getting into a more regimented training program. And when that time comes, it should be tailored to your goals, short and long term.

    I part slightly with some members, though. I think cadence should be monitored, good form and a smooth pedal stroke developed, so don't leave your computer at home.

    I also think there's a place for an interval or two. Could be something as simple as racing to that sign post up ahead. Considering that you mentioned challenging yourself, I think that would serve to keep you interested/ entertained along the way.

    Here are two linked related to cadence/ smoothing the pedal stroke. Not specifically traniing related, but kinda....
    VIDEO: Pedaling Technique

    Cycling Cadence
    +1 for cadence. just keep your eyes off the speed. ride. have fun. develop some basic handling skills. forget the big chain ring. spin.
    "The problem with losing your mind is that by the time you realize it's gone, it's too late to get it back."
    Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by PJ352 View Post
    I'm essentially with the 'ride lots' crowd. Building base miles comes before getting into a more regimented training program. And when that time comes, it should be tailored to your goals, short and long term.

    I part slightly with some members, though. I think cadence should be monitored, good form and a smooth pedal stroke developed, so don't leave your computer at home.

    I also think there's a place for an interval or two. Could be something as simple as racing to that sign post up ahead. Considering that you mentioned challenging yourself, I think that would serve to keep you interested/ entertained along the way.

    Here are two linked related to cadence/ smoothing the pedal stroke. Not specifically traniing related, but kinda....
    VIDEO: Pedaling Technique

    Cycling Cadence

    THANK YOU!

    Those two links are now in my bookmarks for my browser for frequent reference. Gonna work on pedal stroke tomorrow on my AM ride. Whenever my computer does arrive (no ETA yet, I ordered a Sigma ROX 5.0, which has technically not been released, but was supposed to come out sometime in July), I'll start to focus on specific cadence, but I've been working on keeping it higher and spinning up hills most of the time. There are a few slopes where the gearing and my legs just can't spin the whole way up, and I do have to stand up briefly, but my focus has been to get "over the hump" and back on my saddle as soon as possible.


    The area where I live is just southeast of the eastern-most ridge of the Appalachians as they run through Pennsylvania. Rolling hills are the name of the game, and while there are no Alps or Pyrenees here, for a new guy such as myself, they can be daunting.

    I'm gonna explore the backroads a bit tomorrow, maybe stretch my distance out a little more, and bring the speed down a touch.

  10. #10
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    Agree to ride lots, work on form, and CADENCE!!! I helped a beginner cyclist prepare for a very difficult mountain bike race. The first thing I recommended was to get a computer with a cadence function, immediate improvement. We did lots of road riding for fitness, even though it was it a mountain bike race.

  11. #11
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    The Rox 5.0 I have coming....some time, no ETA yet..... has speed functions, distance functions, HRM, and cadence. Also can be used with my running when I get healed up from this achilles injury and back to running. It's feeling almost back to normal, but I figure it should have AT LEAST another week off, if not two, before I even think about easing back to it.

    At any rate, when that comes in, I can monitor HRM and cadence, which I think will be important data.

    Tomorrow I'm planning to focus on my pedal stroke, and my time/speed fall where they may.

    Good stuff here! Thanks for the help thus far, and keep it comin'!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by tddeangelo View Post
    THANK YOU!

    Those two links are now in my bookmarks for my browser for frequent reference. Gonna work on pedal stroke tomorrow on my AM ride. Whenever my computer does arrive (no ETA yet, I ordered a Sigma ROX 5.0, which has technically not been released, but was supposed to come out sometime in July), I'll start to focus on specific cadence, but I've been working on keeping it higher and spinning up hills most of the time. There are a few slopes where the gearing and my legs just can't spin the whole way up, and I do have to stand up briefly, but my focus has been to get "over the hump" and back on my saddle as soon as possible.
    I took a quick look at the ROX 5.0 specs. Looks pretty nice. I think it'll work out well for you.

    Except for the bold statement, everything you offer here is perfectly fine. Below is a link that provides some hill/ climbing tips:
    CYCLING PERFORMANCE TIPS -

    Re: the bold statement, don't fixate on any particular number related to cadence. Rather, as you work on smoothing the pedal stroke, vary cadence (within a range) based on riding conditions/ terrain. As an example, a cadence of 80 cresting a hill with little pressure on the pedals is fine, but you don't want to do that seated and climbing.

    Quote Originally Posted by tddeangelo View Post
    The area where I live is just southeast of the eastern-most ridge of the Appalachians as they run through Pennsylvania. Rolling hills are the name of the game, and while there are no Alps or Pyrenees here, for a new guy such as myself, they can be daunting.
    I ride in similar conditions. Few flat stretches of road, but no real mountainous climbs. I call it undulating. That's good terrain for learning what gear to be in for what conditions. You'll shift a lot.

    Quote Originally Posted by tddeangelo View Post
    I'm gonna explore the backroads a bit tomorrow, maybe stretch my distance out a little more, and bring the speed down a touch.
    Perfect. Let us know how it goes...

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schneiderguy View Post
    forget training at this point and just ride your bike and have fun without pressure to "train" or perform at a certain level. Ride longer one day a week. Ride some hills and ride some flats.
    Life isn't for training.... life is for living.

    I am also in the "ride lots" group. There is a lot more to cycling than heart rates and average speeds. Take the time to learn to ride safely. And enjoy the experience. I sometimes say that: I don't exercise.... but I do bicycle a lot.
    If I didn't bicycle when the weather is bad... I wouldn't be a cyclist. I'd just be another old fat man... with a bicycle hanging in his garage.

    Urban Cycling.... Overcome your fears (a YouTube Link).
    Learn to cycle in traffic
    Or... just HTFU

  14. #14
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    Will do.

    I guess by "specific" cadence, I more meant "a known cadence," as I honestly can't fathom counting it out as I'm riding. My mind just doesn't work like that, lol.

    So, when the computer is in, I'll know what it is rather than the fairly crude "I think I should be spinning faster" estimations I make now.

    I'm also glad I had one somewhat moderate ride first, and then yesterday, I wouldn't say I was "hammering," but I wanted to see what the bike and I could do on a loop I'd ridden on the mtb a few times already.

    I have some ideas on a loop of about 15 miles or so tomorrow. If I'm feeling up to it, I can stretch it some places. Tomorrow I just want to work on the pedal stroke stuff in the vid that was linked a few posts up....keep what I perceive as a fairly high cadence, but focus in on making my strokes better/smoother, and see what that does for me in how the ride goes.

    THIS is my motivator...biking, running, my martial arts, my bow/rifles (I hunt and shoot)......finding "focus areas" and working for that incremental improvement. I have learned through those other endeavors that practice doesn't make perfect, practice makes permanent. While I'll never be perfect, if I don't learn basics now, I will later have to unlearn bad habits. So...the form tips and ideas are HUGELY appreciated.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by tddeangelo View Post
    I have learned through those other endeavors that practice doesn't make perfect, practice makes permanent. While I'll never be perfect, if I don't learn basics now, I will later have to unlearn bad habits. So...the form tips and ideas are HUGELY appreciated.
    Definitely applies to cycling. I've been doing adult/ fitness riding for ~30 years now and am sometimes amazed at how poor my form can be when fatigue sets in.

    Gotta be ever vigilant of maintaining good form or fit issues crop up.

  16. #16
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    Having watched my wife transition from cycling to also running over the past 6 months, I think one of the reasons some of the intro to running programs are more prescriptive is that running provideds a greater potential for injury from going too far or too hard too soon. At each and every break through workout she has come home with a new niggle or sore spot.

    "Ride lots" is a bit vague. Generally I have heard new riders encouraged to accumulate at least 2000 miles before worrying about a "training plan". That's not to say you can't or shouldn't be working on form, spinning, bike handling, climbing hills, occsassionally going fast, etc. But, accumulate some miles in your legs and get part way up the fairly steep early adaptation curve before worrying about committing to a "plan".

    Friel's book has been a bit of a gold standard for a long time. But, it's pretty heavy reading with lots of those acronyms you mentioned. There are plenty of other more basic books out there more suited to beginners. I'd recommend starting at your local library and seeing what they have. While investing in a book like Friel's is a good idea because it can be a useful reference throughout one's cycling career, you'll be likely to outgrow the beginners books. So, borrow those if you can.

  17. #17
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    Just got back from the morning ride....

    14.5 miles and 1,111 feet of climbs. Biggest ride so far, and I muttered some very unkind things about a few of those steep spots, but I got through them all the same. The descents were just as steep, if not moreso, and I rarely just let it roll, just because I didn't know the roads well enough to anticipate where in the lane I should be, possible hazards, etc, so I played it pretty safe and relatively slow going down, too. There were some steeper spots where I just couldn't spin them, even in my lowest gear, so I had to get up and grind it out. It does feel good to get over the top, though.

    I can feel the efficiency of what Friel was talking about in the video linked a few posts up....the "horizontal" pedal stroke, so to speak. When I would retain my focus on pushing my toes front and heel back, I immediately felt the bike surge ahead slightly. Now I just need to keep practicing it so it becomes second nature.

    I also focused on staying in a gear until my cadence came up high enough to make my hips just start to bounce. Then, depending on terrain, I'd either slow up a hair to stay in that gear, or up-shift.

    I only went to the big ring once, on a BIG down hill that was arrow straight and had a long straight up hill on the other side. I just wanted to go fast down that hill.

    So far so good. And I held 13.1mph for the ride. I'm gonna guess my riding will be like my running. Hard runs versus "ok, go easy" runs wind up being close in pace. Probably means I'm terrible at pacing myself, lol.

  18. #18
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    I think I am in much the same position as you are, here are my thoughts….
    So what is your end goal? Are you looking for a 1 hour ride for fitness or are you looking to eventually be able to do an all-day pleasure ride, or something in between? Or, maybe you don't really know at this point. At this point it probably doesn't really matter. What is your limiting factor now, what is still sore an hour after the end of your ride? Sounds like you are on the right track to start with.... proper stroke form, and cadence, add in proper posture. (If you’re a runner, you should already be aware of proper hydration and nutrition.) Get these three things established first. Once you have that down, start working on what is limiting you. For me there are three considerations, time, distance and speed, decide which your primary goal is. For example if you are looking to go for a certain time, (2hrs, 4hrs, etc.) then work on increasing your time in the saddle, and don’t worry about speed and distance. If looking for a certain distance, (25 miles, 50 miles, etc.) then works on increasing distance and don't worry about speed or time. Decide which your primary goal is: time, distance or speed, establish a base line, and then work on increasing it. Most people recommend increases of no more than 10% per week. Concentrate on your primary objective first, then you can work on the secondary goals. There is no reason that you can't inter-mingle these into the same ride. Just decide which is primary and which are secondary. But first establish proper “form” (stroke, cadence, posture, etc.) It sounds like you have the perfect terrain for natural interval training; work going up the hills, recovery going downhill. As for using a HRM, you may find using “rate of perceived effort” (google it) effective as well. For me it is easier, as I don’t have to monitor another number on an instrument. The only number I need to monitor is cadence. Once I have the feel for the proper cadence range, then I can worry more about other numbers, (speed, distance, etc.). I’m still working on establishing the proper “form”. Most importantly – enjoy your ride!!! All the time, distance, speed should be secondary to enjoying your time on the bike!!

  19. #19
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    I've passed in and out of doing structured training as my goals have dictated.

    I think there's a lot to be said for just going for a ride and having fun with it. As long as you don't do too much volume too soon, you're a lot less likely to hurt yourself on a bike than by running. And it's also a lot harder to hurt yourself on a bike with too much intensity, although when people insist on mashing around at low cadence, it can certainly happen. After a couple of false starts that ended in me messing up my ankle, it took following Couch to 5k to get back into running without getting hurt.

    Just explore your area. Try to get in a couple rides during the week with whatever time you have available. Ride for as long as your inclination and the rest of your life allow on the weekend. Leave a more structured plan for when (if) you have a competitive goal in mind. Since bicycles can coast, you ought to be able to do everything up to and including a Century on "ride lots," possibly with a little attention paid to volume.

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    I like the concept of working fundamentals and building time on the bike, as I can feel I'm getting a little better already, as far as the hills I managed to pull today.

    My long term goals..... Not too sure. I don't envision competing, other than with myself. I want to develop some stamina and speed. I would say life will hold me to 1-2 hours for rides for the foreseeable future, except for some weekends. A Century might not be in th cards, just from a time perspective, and that's ok.


    I have some nutty thoughts of maybe doing a triathlon at some point just to say I finished one, who knows.


    For now, it's to get stronger, ride incrementally longer, and climb without dreading it. Lol

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by tddeangelo View Post
    I don't envision competing, other than with myself. I want to develop some stamina and speed. I would say life will hold me to 1-2 hours for rides for the foreseeable future
    This (essentially) sums up what I've done for (literally) decades. I call it adult fitness riding. Served me quite well. And just a BTW... all those 1-2 hour rides can add up to around 6k annually, which is about what I've done the last 2-3 years.

    Quote Originally Posted by tddeangelo View Post
    For now, it's to get stronger, ride incrementally longer, and climb without dreading it. Lol
    Worthy goals, IMO. I have no doubt you'll get there, and sooner than you'd think. Well, the hills part may take a little longer.
    (j/k)

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    No, you're probably quite right about the hills, lol. I'm running my gears to the "bottom" and still had to get off the saddle for a couple of the steeper spots in the ride. I hit a 14% grade about 10 miles into the ride that was not a joy to climb, and was mercifully not that steep for more than about a quarter mile, but I was pretty happy to get past it without a stop.

    I just looked at my data on MapMyRide and Strava, and I'm seeing that my pedal stroke work showed up in the data. My speed is more consistent. Not great, but the wild variations are smoothing out a bit.

    I think I'm going to see if I can find a fun looking route of about 15-17 miles for tomorrow.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by tddeangelo View Post
    No, you're probably quite right about the hills, lol. I'm running my gears to the "bottom" and still had to get off the saddle for a couple of the steeper spots in the ride. I hit a 14% grade about 10 miles into the ride that was not a joy to climb, and was mercifully not that steep for more than about a quarter mile, but I was pretty happy to get past it without a stop.
    If you maxed out on your low gears and got yourself over the hill 'out of the saddle', that's fine, but avoid mashing. A better alternative may be to look into lower gearing and as your fitness improves, switch back to the OE setup.

    Quote Originally Posted by tddeangelo View Post
    I just looked at my data on MapMyRide and Strava, and I'm seeing that my pedal stroke work showed up in the data. My speed is more consistent. Not great, but the wild variations are smoothing out a bit.

    I think I'm going to see if I can find a fun looking route of about 15-17 miles for tomorrow.
    It all takes time, but you'll get there. Just remember, increase saddle time incrementally and watch intensity.

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    Didn't get to do much time tonight...thunderstorms rolled through, but let me have a brief window close to the end of the day, so I knocked out 8.1 miles in just under 32 minutes, or ave speed (according to Strava) of 15.5mph. I was pretty happy with that.

    Tomorrow I will hopefully have time to get for a longer ride at a slower pace.

    I also felt a bit more "on target" with pedal stroke. Not great, but an improvement. Put it this way, I was able to spin the whole way up a hill that the last time I pedaled it I had to stand up for about 50 yards, so I'm making progress.

    I'm also up to 46.7 miles on the Roubaix. Not huge mileage, but I've had it under a week, so I'm doing ok.


  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by tddeangelo View Post
    Didn't get to do much time tonight...thunderstorms rolled through, but let me have a brief window close to the end of the day, so I knocked out 8.1 miles in just under 32 minutes, or ave speed (according to Strava) of 15.5mph. I was pretty happy with that.

    Tomorrow I will hopefully have time to get for a longer ride at a slower pace.

    I also felt a bit more "on target" with pedal stroke. Not great, but an improvement. Put it this way, I was able to spin the whole way up a hill that the last time I pedaled it I had to stand up for about 50 yards, so I'm making progress.

    I'm also up to 46.7 miles on the Roubaix. Not huge mileage, but I've had it under a week, so I'm doing ok.

    I think you're doing better than ok. You're making real progress. Just make sure you don't overexert/ do too much, too soon. Dunno why I feel compelled to say that.

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