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I ride in circles..
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As many times as I’ve read this and tried going hard it’s never really sunk in. During college swimming when I was busting my ass in the pool I was constantly racing my teammates and getting pushed by my coach. Now that I’m out on the road by myself spinning along on my bike I only have me to push.. I’ve done intervals and hard sets out on my bike many times this year but never to the extent where I think it elevated my level of fitness or performance. Reading the various cycling books they even mention that most riders have a hard time pushing themselves past their comfort zones on their own.
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Last weekend during my race (First race ever) I pushed myself harder than I ever have for longer than I have in any sport before. I constantly pinged my heart rate over 185.. set a new max heart rate 2 beats higher than before and I felt great. Yes I was beat, tired, and sore but it kicked ass. Racing and feeling that much effort pour out of my legs was amazing. I had no clue I had that much in me… (While I marveled at how much stronger everyone else was).
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Anyhow..
Yesterday I went for a 17 mile training ride with plans on going pretty hard. After I warmed up I just started pushing. I glanced down to my computer and noticed my heart rate was over 180 and I was over 21mph.. I kept going.. I settling into a pace around 20.5 around 176ish.. dipping up and down a little. I ended up finishing the 17 miles with an average pace of 18.6mph... my fastest ever for this loop by more than 2 mph. I couldn’t believe it because I was also fighting some really harsh wind.
I honestly don’t think I could have done that prior to this past weekend’s race. By racing at my max, even for only 2 races I taught my muscles and brain to go harder.
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I guess my point is that going as hard as possible for longer is a pretty damn good thing to do. Everyone is different but I think it’s safe to say that destroying yourself every so often will help out in the long run!
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Feel free to chime in!
 

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That is good to hear. I ride 4 or 5 days a week, usually with the same friend who continually follows the mantra of "you have to go slow to go fast" and he doesn't like to ride hard.

I have switched it up recently and started riding on my own or with another friend and and I forgot how much fun it is to ride hard. I believe that pushing your limits will force your body to go harder. Of course, recovery is always necessary, but going hard a few days a week is good.
 

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sounds like you need to find some local training races. These are perfect for getting in speed work/anaerobic time - so long as you use them to train and don't sit in just to try to win the final sprint. I do these Tuesday and Thursday, each a bit over an hour of crit-like racing. They are better than solo rides, since they simulate race demands, which is much more variable power/speed than a solo ride.
 

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you can do a lot more effective training by yourself then with a group. I find hills the best for interval training.

but mix up some shorter intervals.

on the long end... 60 min all out efforts (good warmup and cool down)

20 min all out with 5 rest and another 20 on (start with 2 sets and work up)

3-5 min above max efforts. (unsustainable tempo) recover with about as much time off as on. do 4-6 sets. Longer warmup needed for these short intervals.

60s big gear crosseyed hammering.
rest for 90s, repeat. can you do 8 sets?

I don't recommend doing more then two days of tough intervals a week
say do them on tuesday and thursday. Do a long ride with some good efforts on wed. rest monday and friday. Saturday, Sunday race or simulate race efforts

mix it up!

don't forget to give yourself an off week every month. The weeks building up to it should increase in bike time.
 

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Domestic Drivin' E-Thug
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ZoSoSwiM said:
As many times as I’ve read this and tried going hard it’s never really sunk in. During college swimming when I was busting my ass in the pool I was constantly racing my teammates and getting pushed by my coach. Now that I’m out on the road by myself spinning along on my bike I only have me to push.. I’ve done intervals and hard sets out on my bike many times this year but never to the extent where I think it elevated my level of fitness or performance. Reading the various cycling books they even mention that most riders have a hard time pushing themselves past their comfort zones on their own.
<o></o>
Last weekend during my race (First race ever) I pushed myself harder than I ever have for longer than I have in any sport before. I constantly pinged my heart rate over 185.. set a new max heart rate 2 beats higher than before and I felt great. Yes I was beat, tired, and sore but it kicked ass. Racing and feeling that much effort pour out of my legs was amazing. I had no clue I had that much in me… (While I marveled at how much stronger everyone else was).
<o></o>
Anyhow..
Yesterday I went for a 17 mile training ride with plans on going pretty hard. After I warmed up I just started pushing. I glanced down to my computer and noticed my heart rate was over 180 and I was over 21mph.. I kept going.. I settling into a pace around 20.5 around 176ish.. dipping up and down a little. I ended up finishing the 17 miles with an average pace of 18.6mph... my fastest ever for this loop by more than 2 mph. I couldn’t believe it because I was also fighting some really harsh wind.
I honestly don’t think I could have done that prior to this past weekend’s race. By racing at my max, even for only 2 races I taught my muscles and brain to go harder.
<o></o>
I guess my point is that going as hard as possible for longer is a pretty damn good thing to do. Everyone is different but I think it’s safe to say that destroying yourself every so often will help out in the long run!
<o></o>
Feel free to chime in!
A lot of racers go by the "race myself into shape" method, and it works for them. They may be slow as hell in March, but come June, when lots of riders are burning out, they have become uber strong just by racing every weekend.

And I don't doubt for a second that this race may have made you a little faster. Pushing yourself far beyond what you believe to be your limits is the only way to ever get faster.

Like another poster said, those racers that are able to do the faux crits on Tuesdays and Thursdays will have a HUGE advantage over you in racing. Each year, come April when daylight savings time comes, I start my Tuesday night hammerfests, and all the snap comes back to my legs within a month. Where in early season races I'm mostly just holding on and trying to keep position in front, post April I am now honed for attack mode, an dictating the pace, and am always in breaks. It's night and day.
 

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Domestic Drivin' E-Thug
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bwhite_4 said:
That is good to hear. I ride 4 or 5 days a week, usually with the same friend who continually follows the mantra of "you have to go slow to go fast" and he doesn't like to ride hard.

I have switched it up recently and started riding on my own or with another friend and and I forgot how much fun it is to ride hard. I believe that pushing your limits will force your body to go harder. Of course, recovery is always necessary, but going hard a few days a week is good.
Be careful. Your friend is right. You do have to ride slow to go fast. The trick is that you also have to ride very, very fast on the days when you're riding fast. Race-pace intensity rides should be limited to 2 or 3 times per week max for most riders. Much more then that, and you will eventually get slower because you're never giving your legs a chance to recover.

This is the problem with most new racers, and even most Cat4s. You see them out there on the road hammering every ride, every hill, taking all comers. This will get them medium fast, but they'll never come close to reaching their real potential if they don't do some specific workouts/intervals, and mix that up with a fair amount of recovery rides. Those "I hammer all the time, 5 days a week" riders aren't winning many races.

Personally, my intensity comes on Tuesday night crits, Thursday night hill repeats, and races on the weekend. Often, the Thursday is out, and I only need Tuesday night.
 

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Domestic Drivin' E-Thug
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fleck said:
you can do a lot more effective training by yourself then with a group. I find hills the best for interval training.

but mix up some shorter intervals.

on the long end... 60 min all out efforts (good warmup and cool down)

20 min all out with 5 rest and another 20 on (start with 2 sets and work up)

3-5 min above max efforts. (unsustainable tempo) recover with about as much time off as on. do 4-6 sets. Longer warmup needed for these short intervals.

60s big gear crosseyed hammering.
rest for 90s, repeat. can you do 8 sets?

I don't recommend doing more then two days of tough intervals a week
say do them on tuesday and thursday. Do a long ride with some good efforts on wed. rest monday and friday. Saturday, Sunday race or simulate race efforts

mix it up!

don't forget to give yourself an off week every month. The weeks building up to it should increase in bike time.

You need both to get fast, both time alone to do specific workouts, and time with a group to simulate racing and attacking. No matter how diligent you are, there's no chance that you're going harder alone then you would with a very fast group. If your a new rider who has a forum to mix it up with the Cat 1/2s in your area, then you will be on the fasttrack to significant improvement.
 

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I ride in circles..
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I've asked the shops in the area about group rides.. Not much of a group out there..

As for racing myself I am going to set up some time trial loops for me to chart my progress. I want to race more.. I really enjoyed this past weekend.
 

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First, congrads on enjoying your first race. You seem to be 'hooked'. Your thoughful analyzing of your own performance will help you improve your training. If you use that same approach to learn something more from each race, your race-savvy will also improve.

I suggest doing some reading now as your next 'task'. There's a huge collection of knowledge on training for racing. Tactical racecraft, the other part of it, is not so widely written about, but many of the "bicycle racing" books do go into it. By reading, you'll maybe 'shortcut' a few "Doh!, that was so stupid" moves during future races. You may pick up on a few basics you'll find useful in some race situations and you may find some tricks that would take you numerous races to figure out on your own.

As for "going harder longer" in training...That may work for you for a while. I trained like that in the past, (almost) always hammering as hard and as often as I could..It worked... OK, but after a few years of that, I went on to try something different..

I've also tried following some of the more structured training plans, seeing some small improvment that way. But I found/find it boring and tedious to ride a tightly structured training plan..

This season I've been trying a more flexible but still 'defined' training technique. I do more interval training, leg strength drills, sprint sessions, but not on a totally rigid schedual. I get ready, mentally, to go out on the bike by thinking "What do I need to work on this session?" I "listen to my body" and consider my upcoming goals, then train accordingly. I also make sure to recover from extra hard days or races. I've picked the brains of a few of my riding partners who're really good racers, too.

Going out and hammering as hard as you can day after day, well, it's "easy"..simple, really, because you don't have to "think". Unthinking training is not that effective. Say, If it's Monday and your legs are screaming at you from Sunday's race, perhaps a 2 hour mountain climbing session at max effort isn't the right thing to do... "No pain, no gain"..? Not totally right, at the level we work to race..That day might be better spent doing 'fast pedal drills' or riding long and flat at low intensity, or even napping in your hammock..

Maximum effort intervals seem to be helping my racing this season. A session of those is quite similar to the efforts required to stay in the lead group of a race. Recently I have also been working again on my pedal stroke during these max effort intervals and sprints.

Don Hanson
 

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The Human G-Nome said:
Be careful. Your friend is right. You do have to ride slow to go fast. The trick is that you also have to ride very, very fast on the days when you're riding fast. Race-pace intensity rides should be limited to 2 or 3 times per week max for most riders. Much more then that, and you will eventually get slower because you're never giving your legs a chance to recover.

This is the problem with most new racers, and even most Cat4s. You see them out there on the road hammering every ride, every hill, taking all comers. This will get them medium fast, but they'll never come close to reaching their real potential if they don't do some specific workouts/intervals, and mix that up with a fair amount of recovery rides. Those "I hammer all the time, 5 days a week" riders aren't winning many races.

Personally, my intensity comes on Tuesday night crits, Thursday night hill repeats, and races on the weekend. Often, the Thursday is out, and I only need Tuesday night.
I agree, recovery is very important, but riding slow 5 days a week with a couple of 1 minute intervals (trying to pass the freds) won't help the fast-twitch muscles much. What I primarily meant was, if you are participating in group rides or races, it is beneficial to be challenged to keep your skills sharp.
 

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Some more thoughts on intervals and intensity:

I tend to agree with what I've read about intervals in a couple of different books. It's said that you can only sustain maximum effort for a very short time..60-90 seconds is the number I've seen often. Then the 'burn' comes on and your output is diminished until you clear out the lactic acid. Seems to fit with what I feel.

It's been suggested that many short intervals with partial recovery between help to build your ability to 'clear out' the build up of lactic acid that inhibits muscle output. So I've been doing short intervals, like 30, 45 sometimes 60 seconds, with like 90 seconds recovery...I do 8-10 sets of these in a row, using a climb for resistance, on my interval days. The first few "reps" are easy, harder to complete at #10.. My last Crit I was thinking..."Hey, just like my interval days"..until someone decided to "delete" a few of the 90 second recovery period to attack.. Try this. Pay attention to how long someone goes at MAX, when they "put a move" on the pack.. It really isn't that long until they have to 'notch-back' to what may still seem really outrageously fast, but below what they can manage during their 'interval' (attack).

I also do long "intervals", over a known route at Maximum Sustainable Effort.Like a benchmark time trial. Different than full out Max-effort intervals..And just for fun, I sometimes throw in, during my "time trial", a couple of 'eye-popping' lung ripping all-out sprints for as long as I can go...Usually about 30 seconds, out of the saddle, shifting up as I get all the acceleration I can dredge up..I sometimes do these 'practice sprints' at the top of a mountain pass, too. Just when you think your gonna fall off the bike at the summit, I reach down inside and try to rip out another 5-10mph burst...Hard to do, but good training for your next race..

Don Hanson
 

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bwhite_4 said:
I agree, recovery is very important, but riding slow 5 days a week with a couple of 1 minute intervals (trying to pass the freds) won't help the fast-twitch muscles much. What I primarily meant was, if you are participating in group rides or races, it is beneficial to be challenged to keep your skills sharp.
I didn't mention anything about riding slow 5 days a week. On non-race weekends, I'm either doing hilly group rides, or multiple pass mountain rides, concentrating mostly on cadence drills. What I'm not doing is trying to race every other guy in lycra up the mountain. If you did your due diligence in the off-season, and you have the base, just 2 to 3 hours of intensity per week, coupled with a few more hours of recovery is all you really need. But again, your intensity efforts need to be very, very intense. Quality over quantity.
 

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The Human G-Nome said:
I didn't mention anything about riding slow 5 days a week. On non-race weekends, I'm either doing hilly group rides, or multiple pass mountain rides, concentrating mostly on cadence drills. What I'm not doing is trying to race every other guy in lycra up the mountain. If you did your due diligence in the off-season, and you have the base, just 2 to 3 hours of intensity per week, coupled with a few more hours of recovery is all you really need. But again, your intensity efforts need to be very, very intense. Quality over quantity.
Agreed - the 5 days a week thing was specific to my previous situation :)
 

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I ride in circles..
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I try to mix up everything depending on how my body feels. I haven't had clear cut goals or anything but if I start racing I want to start building my goals to reflect my abilities and what I want.. I tend to throw easy days in after a few hard days. I usually do the easier stuff on my longer distance days.
 

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Ah...........................

You have learned the first rule of training; you have to ride fast to ride fast.

Who ever said you have to ride slow to be fast was/is wrong. Off/slow days are important and those should be easy-riding-with-grandma-pace days. Those are just as important as the hard days. In fact, more important. Which brings up an interesting point about base miles and LSD training, in the offseason. But I digress................

At some point if you want to go faster (more wattage) you have to go faster (more wattage). I'll never forget my first "real" workout with an SRM after I had established my FTP via a test. It was hard. Real hard............

The PM has helped me redefine what "hard" is in PRE language. Now a days I can ride at a "7" for a long time. It is by no means comfortable but it can be done. That is something that has to be trained. No so much the actual physical part but the "ouch, stop, this hurts" part.s

These is some good advice in the above posts, some good suggestions for intervals, and some insight to be gleaned. You are on your why to being faster :thumbsup:

Starnut
 

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I usually put my ipod on shuffle when im out alone. Theres some slow chill songs and some really hard fast songs. I just switch it up accordingly. that or if im on my usual route I have certain spots where I really ramp up the effort and then others where I hold back a little.
 

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Game on, b*tches!
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Wasn't it Eddy hizzelf who said "in order to ride fast, you have to ride fast" or something along those lines....
 
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