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CarbonFrame
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Alright,
I just want to improve by 5 %. I want to be 5% faster,stronger whatever you want to call it. I use average speed as my guide in similar conditions on the same route...I consider wind and temp, but all that aside I would like to think I can improve my performance by 5%, actually 10% would be great but I feel that would be unrealistic. Last season my goal was to average 20 mph. I attained that goal but would like to increase to 21mph for the same course under similar circumstances. It seems no matter how hard I ride I am in the 20.0-20.6 mph area but not 21 (technically I guess it would be a 2.5% increase on my fastest days) anyway how realistic is it to achieve these gains and what should I try to achieve my goal? Do we get faster and stronger year after year as we increase our fitness base? Can I expect to slowly improve every year?(That seems unrealistic) I notice that there is a HUGE difference in the amount of effort required to try for that extra 2.5%. Any words of wisdom would be appreciated.
 

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Cannot bench own weight
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I think the addage is that you can only get fast by riding fast. Interval workouts would probably do it.

Hitting 20mph seems to be a goal shared among many amateur cyclists (myself included). I too reached the goal however moving that 1 mph more was damn near impossible.
 

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Don't...

CarbonFrame said:
Alright,
I just want to improve by 5 %. I want to be 5% faster,stronger whatever you want to call it. I use average speed as my guide in similar conditions on the same route...I consider wind and temp, but all that aside I would like to think I can improve my performance by 5%, actually 10% would be great but I feel that would be unrealistic. Last season my goal was to average 20 mph. I attained that goal but would like to increase to 21mph for the same course under similar circumstances. It seems no matter how hard I ride I am in the 20.0-20.6 mph area but not 21 (technically I guess it would be a 2.5% increase on my fastest days) anyway how realistic is it to achieve these gains and what should I try to achieve my goal? Do we get faster and stronger year after year as we increase our fitness base? Can I expect to slowly improve every year?(That seems unrealistic) I notice that there is a HUGE difference in the amount of effort required to try for that extra 2.5%. Any words of wisdom would be appreciated.
Don't use average speed as an indicator of anything. Get a power meter. You want to see how to improve and train better, power is the way to do it. Speed actually means very little most of the time. For example, say you go out, and ride the same route time and again, and only make 20.4 average speed. If you had a power meter, you'd know if you were doing it with less average power, or more, or what, chances are good that you're doing the same route with less effort, and therefore less average wattage being produced, average speed is not an indicator of fitness, ever.

That being said, you want to get faster and strong, there are these things called intervals. Use them. Do them, and yes, you too will become faster, and stronger. Just riding your bike will only get you so far, to get stronger, you need to train with intent, and do different things (intervals, hill repeats, strength work, sprint work and so on). Just riding will only make you "so" strong. Good hard work needs to be put in for you to get stronger, and faster, and to maybe see that average speed creep upwards. Then again, it may not, but you might get stronger.
 

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Not 5%

CarbonFrame said:
I just want to improve by 5 %. I want to be 5% faster,stronger whatever you want to call it. I use average speed as my guide in similar conditions on the same route...I consider wind and temp, but all that aside I would like to think I can improve my performance by 5%, actually 10% would be great but I feel that would be unrealistic.
Using 20 mph on the flats as a basis, it takes about 14% more power to go 5% faster, and 28% more power to go 10% faster. You have forgotten that the power to overcome aerodynamic drag increases with the cube of speed. It puts these speed increases into perspective.
 

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I ride with alot of people that are always concerned with "speed" and "distance". When you learn how to train first of all you go by "effort" and "time". The only time I look at speed is when Im im a paceline and I want to hold the speed or I glance down on climbs to see how fast I'm going at a particular HR. I never increase my effort to hold a speed though. You didn't mention how far this route is either. You would need to train a bit differently for a short distance vs. a longer distance. In the end, time on the bike and intervals will do the trick. Before you know it, 20 mph will be a piece of cake and you be trying to figure out how to do 25.
 

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CarbonFrame
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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
The speed is only my reference point

As stated I know the wind, temp, and other variables involved and consider them when I compare todays avg speed with yesterdays. In general I would like to make a 5% gain in performance on the exact same route (26.5 miles with lots of rolling hills) in very similar conditions. My average heart rate is usually 151-155 with a max of 170-173. My average heartrate is probably a little low from the redlights I encounter, my cycling computer stops when the bike stops but my heart rate monitor does not. I know the deal about power output and don't really have or want to spend the $ for a power meter. I want to know what I would do to improve my power If I did have a power meter. My ride simulates intervals (Basically) due to its continuous rolling hills. I want to have a plan for improving performance, When I ride I usually don't look at my avg speed I concentrate on keeping my cadence between 90-110 and also monitor my heartrate. If I ride my route with no wind on a 78 degree day when I feel good and ride with an avg speed of 21then I will know I am getting fitter and stronger because I have completed my route before under similar conditions but I just did it faster than ever. I keep riding the same route with similar results under similar conditions which indicates to me I am maintaining not improving. Again I know avg speed isnt the "BEST" tool to use but when you know the variables and take them into consideration isn't it a reasonable (inexpensive) measure of performance? Thanks everyone for your input! I think I'm going to look for Joe Freils' book on cycling..The cyclists training bible maybe there is something in there that can help me.
 

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increase your time spent at the higher heartrate. If the route is interval based go even harder. Attack some of those hills as hard as you can. Do this once or twice a week. The rest of the rides you do should be really easy. ride the route slower at a much lower heart rate. If your riding all the time at around 155 bpm with spikes up in the 170s your riding in no mans land. To improve you ride really easily most of the time then really hard a couple days a week. you'll improve in no time this way. by the way really easy will more than likely be 118-135 bpm with hill spikes up around 143-148 at most.
 

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Are you listening?

CarbonFrame said:
In general I would like to make a 5% gain in performance on the exact same route (26.5 miles with lots of rolling hills) in very similar conditions.
Again, if you are talking about a 5% speed increase, that's 14% more power. If you want a 5% increase in power output, you'll get a 0.4 mph speed increase. You might want to look at your position on the bike as a way to reduce aero drag and get the speed increase with less effort required.
 

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CarbonFrame
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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
O.K... So the recommendation to gain 14% more power is what then? I don't have or want a power meter. I appreciate the calculations and the perspective. I am not trying to be difficult, I am looking to make the necessary power to go 5% faster under the same conditions. Intervals seems to be a common response, however as I said earlier my routes are full of rolling hills which simulate intervals (sort of). I also got a response which indicated I may be over training?? Any thoughts on that?
 

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CarbonFrame said:
O.K... So the recommendation to gain 14% more power is what then? I don't have or want a power meter. I appreciate the calculations and the perspective. I am not trying to be difficult, I am looking to make the necessary power to go 5% faster under the same conditions. Intervals seems to be a common response, however as I said earlier my routes are full of rolling hills which simulate intervals (sort of). I also got a response which indicated I may be over training?? Any thoughts on that?
You are kind of doing intervals. But without recovery, you're not doing a proper interval.

I would focus on two kinds of intervals. One, do your usual ride, going extremely slow on the flat sections. Probably around 15 mph, or zone 1-2 HR. Then hammer up the hills, hopefully 2-5 minutes long, with the highest power you can sustain for the duration of the hill. You want 1:1 recovery and interval time, not including warmup/cooldown.

On another ride, do 15-20 minute intervals. Keep the highest power you can sustain for that duration, then recover for 5 minutes. Do 2-3 of these, working up to doing 4 per hard ride.

Silas
 
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