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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've been cycling a little over a month now, and as a former runner, I'm trying to use some of the same types of routines I used with running and applying them to my cycling in order to get better/stronger/faster/etc.

Here is what my routine sort of looks like:

- Right now I'm riding 4 days a week with 3 days off until I find out how much my body (and specifically my left knee, microfracture knee surgery in 2012) can handle

- On my four days of riding I try to do something different each day:
a) one day I concentrate on keeping a high cadence...going between 6 and 10 miles
b) one day I leave my bike in one gear, such as today I left it in 2-6 (bike is 21 speed 3x7), so I have to get up off my rear going uphill and really push...10 miles tonight
c) one day I go for a long ride...between 15 and 30 miles
d) one day I pick a distance and travel it as fast as I can...last time it was just 7 miles - OR I use this day to just ride to enjoy being out on my bike and take in the scenery, the sounds, the smells, the rabbits/squirrels crossing my path/etc.

So are there routines you like to follow or can suggest that will help be get the most out of my riding so I can get stronger/faster/better?

Background info: 49 years old, 6'2" 200 pounds, somewhat active before cycling with tennis for 44 years a running a few years, riding a 2000 $300 Gary Fisher Mamba mountain bike (Shimano STX-RC / Acera components) with 26x1.5 road tires, as mentioned above bike is a 3x7, live in a hilly area

Thanks for your help and advice!

TripleB
 

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My opinion:

General weight/strength training, yoga/core are important to get more muscles engaged while cycling. While you may not notice a definitive power increase in whatever metric (30 power for example) you will be more powerful late in the ride as compared to not doing those things. You'll have better long term general health too...

On the bike training I believe in periodization (systematic increase in stress) to some peak performance in the future. To peak I believe in polarized training even for those that only ride say 8-10 hours a week. Polarized training is basically 80% of your time easy and 20% hard. In that 80% I really believe aerobic capacity is important. The 20% would be a mix of threshold and anaerobic capacity/VO2 work all in interval form.

Recovery is probably the most important for a guy your age. Stretching, ice/heat, message, stim, boots, sound nutrition (eat lean, whole, nutrient rich food) etc...

Sleep. The more the better. Naps are the most beneficial aspect to my day if I can squeeze them in. But, quality sleep is paramount to be able to be ready to stress your body.
 

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So are there routines you like to follow or can suggest that will help be get the most out of my riding so I can get stronger/faster/better?
If sprint has any place in your faster/better goal, perhaps resistance training can be an option.

 

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So are there routines you like to follow or can suggest that will help be get the most out of my riding so I can get stronger/faster/better?
With a bum knee, the absolute worst thing you could do is crazy stuff with cadence. Why on Earth would you ride around in one gear? What's the point of gears in the first place?

Anyway, routines? Just like running. A lot of easy stuff, a little med-hard tempoish stuff, and a little really hard stuff. Mix it up, keep it fun, ride more.

Pretty simple in theory.
 

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Polarized training is basically 80% of your time easy and 20% hard. In that 80% I really believe aerobic capacity is important. The 20% would be a mix of threshold and anaerobic capacity/VO2 work all in interval form.
Nooooo!

Polarized is 80% of your workouts are easy, 20% hard. It's utterly impossible to do 20% of your riding hard.

A hard workout might be 6x4 mins at VO2 pace, so 24 total minutes. You might do that in the middle of a 120 min ride. One hard ride which would comprise part of the 20% of hard rides, but actual time in the context of a training week would be much less.

A very important distinction.
 

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With a bum knee, the absolute worst thing you could do is crazy stuff with cadence. Why on Earth would you ride around in one gear? What's the point of gears in the first place?

Anyway, routines? Just like running. A lot of easy stuff, a little med-hard tempoish stuff, and a little really hard stuff. Mix it up, keep it fun, ride more.

Pretty simple in theory.
Honestly, this.

Further injury and/or burnout is the last thing you need to do at this point. Get in some miles. Mix up the terrain. Don't artificially limit yourself just to conform to a specific goal. Have fun. Push yourself here and there, but find time to look around and just enjoy the ride. When the base is strong, you can add a more structured approach ifthat's what you want to do. However, there's no need to rush things.
 

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This time of the year and just getting started in cycling it would be a good idea to just put in lot's of base miles. Then in the spring start training specifically to achieve whatever goals you have in mind. Build on a good foundation.
 

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Nooooo!

Polarized is 80% of your workouts are easy, 20% hard. It's utterly impossible to do 20% of your riding hard.

A hard workout might be 6x4 mins at VO2 pace, so 24 total minutes. You might do that in the middle of a 120 min ride. One hard ride which would comprise part of the 20% of hard rides, but actual time in the context of a training week would be much less.

A very important distinction.
Yes. Excellent thank you for pointing that out! Huge!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Get your weight below 170 lb
LOL...last time I got down below 175 I had my 'friends' telling me I look anorexic!

With a bum knee, the absolute worst thing you could do is crazy stuff with cadence. Why on Earth would you ride around in one gear? What's the point of gears in the first place?
I think it goes back to the 3 months in my life I thought I was going to become a muscle man. In that activity high reps (which I equate to a high cadence) toned your muscles but didn't do much to build muscles any larger. So in cycling, when I'm sitting on my tail in 2-1 or 2-2 going up hills, even though I may be at a high cadence and possibly out of breath, I didn't feel like I was adding any muscle to my legs to get them stronger.

I appreciate everyone's advice so far!!!

TripleB
 

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One thing you should do is identify your goals. Do you want fitness for centuries? Criteriums? Short road races? The types of workouts you do should be geared to what your goals are. If it's overall fitness and being able to hang with and then crush the Wednesday Night Worlds, that's a different kind of training from finishing a century. Yes, there's some cross over, but given the amount of time and your age, a focused plan would be better.

I'd stay away from grinding in one gear. High cadence work can help your aerobic conditioning and if you can learn how to spin a progressively higher gear, you'll go faster and eventually be more efficient on the bike.

Recovery at your age is important and periodization is important as well as recovering during the week.
 

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I didn't feel like I was adding any muscle to my legs to get them stronger.
If you want to go faster, you need to generate more power. Power is made by blending force on the pedals with turning the pedals in a circle at a certain speed. For example, if you exert 150 Newtons on the pedals and turn them at 1.5 meter/second (about 90 rpm) you'll generate 150 x 1.5 = 225 watt. I estimate that this wattage would get you about 18 mph on your Mamba.

To put this into the context of your post: 150 Newtons is the force required to lift 15.3 kilogram, which is 34 pounds. This tells you that pedal forces are relatively low when riding a bike. A bike is not a very good machine on which to "add muscle" to your leg if you want to go faster.

There are many recreational riders out there with huge leg muscles. But often, they're not very fast. They push the same big gear at the same cadence and the same mediocre speed all the time. If you want to get faster on a bike, drop the "add muscle" thing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
One thing you should do is identify your goals. If it's overall fitness and being able to hang with and then crush the Wednesday Night Worlds, that's a different kind of training from finishing a century.

I'd stay away from grinding in one gear. High cadence work can help your aerobic conditioning and if you can learn how to spin a progressively higher gear, you'll go faster and eventually be more efficient on the bike.
See, there's the thing. I truly don't know what my goals are and I think they will change over time...heck, they already have.

Starting a month ago my goal was 30 minutes on the bike. Then it became 10 miles on the bike. Then it became an hour on the bike. Then it became riding in the neighborhood I grew up in. Then it became 20 miles on the bike. Then it became riding at a higher cadence. Then it became 2 hours on the bike. Then it became 30 miles on the bike. So just starting out it was really about time and distance spent on the bike.

Obviously at my age overall shape is probably one of the top priorities. Being able to "hang in a pack with the guys" is definitely on the list. Going 100 miles wasn't really in my mind last month but going past 30 miles within a month makes me wonder if one day....I guess the main goal is to push myself to see what I can accomplish as far as cycling is concerned!

When I see cyclist who have been riding a while, they have huge legs. Does this just automatically come from then riding thousands of miles on the bike? My wife has called me "chicken legs" for the past 26 years...I want to lose that nickname :D

I just now saw wim's post and that makes a lot of sense...huge legs don't necessarily mean fast speeds---still want to lose that nickname though!

Thanks for the help!

TripleB
 

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My wife has called me "chicken legs" for the past 26 years...I want to lose that nickname :D
I can certainly relate to that. But way back when during my mediocre racing career, every so often I was miserably dropped by someone riding away from me at 28 mph or so pushing their pedals with scrawny (and sometimes ghostly white!) chicken legs. Also keep in mind that muscle definition has a lot to do with your genetic makeup.
 

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It was a serious comment about the weight. Don't worry about what your friends say or think- If you are serious about getting faster on the bike you've got to lose a bunch of weight. Like 30 lbs..

LOL...last time I got down below 175 I had my 'friends' telling me I look anorexic!




TripleB
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
It was a serious comment about the weight. Don't worry about what your friends say or think- If you are serious about getting faster on the bike you've got to lose a bunch of weight. Like 30 lbs..
Oh, I know it was! The last time I was down that low I was on some fad diet about 10 years ago...lost the weight way too fast and without much exercise while I was on it (lack of energy) - so I'm sure I did look awful!

Typically I feel my best when I'm under 185 so that will be my first goal. What I've found since I started riding is that I've lost some weight (7 pounds in about 4 weeks) without changing my eating habits. Unfortunately, looking at what I usually eat, my eating habits are going to need to change if I want to reach my maximum potential on a bike.

TripleB
 

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Don't worry at all about building muscle. Focus on recovery and getting base miles. You will want to ease any wt you can off. Eat a lot of vegetables.
After getting some miles in and strenghening everything, you can start thinking about some intervals or VO2 max outputs.
 

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It was a serious comment about the weight. Don't worry about what your friends say or think- If you are serious about getting faster on the bike you've got to lose a bunch of weight. Like 30 lbs..
So you're saying that a 6'2" person has to be 170 lb. to be a successful cyclist? Maybe to be a upper level racer, but you are really off based for the rest of us.
 
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