Improving my Average MPH



Fujiman

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Sep 25, 2007
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I just rode 43 flat miles this past weekend and averaged 17mph. I would be interested in learning how to train to improve my pace, maybe inter a time trial. I started riding again this summer after about 17 years off the bike I'll turn 47 this December. I would be grateful for any advice on how to improve my pace..



Thanks
 

daveryanwyoming

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Oct 3, 2006
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Fujiman said:
... I would be grateful for any advice on how to improve my pace..
Ride for an hour or two per ride 4 to 5 times per week and ride some steady 10 minute to 45 minute harder efforts during those rides. Don't kill yourself with a lot of hard minute long make ya puke efforts, just build your aerobic base with some focused efforts that get you breathing deeply and steadily. Mix up the rides a bit, some harder, some easier, some flat, some hilly.

That's plenty to get you started but surf these forums for info on SST, FTP, 2x20s and time trials. There's volumes of training info for folks in your situation but start by just riding regularly with an emphasis on good solid aerobic efforts not necessarily miles or peak speed as much as good steady work.

-Dave
 

Frigo's Luggage

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Sep 16, 2006
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1. Buy an indoor trainer.

2. Buy a heartrate monitor.

3. Buy Joe Friel's Cyclist Training Bible.

4. Follow Friel's plan.

5. Ride at least 4 times per week.
 

Mr. Bill

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Sep 4, 2007
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Fujiman said:
I just rode 43 flat miles this past weekend and averaged 17mph. I would be interested in learning how to train to improve my pace, maybe inter a time trial. I started riding again this summer after about 17 years off the bike I'll turn 47 this December. I would be grateful for any advice on how to improve my pace..



Thanks
I'm in a somewhat similar situation to yours - been riding for over twenty years; did a bit of MTB racing quite a few years ago, but this is the first year that I've had a real road bike and been taking my road riding really seriously. While I certainly can't pretend to the expertise and experience of many here on the forums, I can offer a few observations based on my experiences of late.

Once you've established a baseline MPH average on a certain route, every little tenth of a MPH gained costs you a great deal of agony. I can't tell you how many times I've set out to smash a previous record on a favorite route, only to get home and find that all my pain has only bought me a measely two tenths of a MPH increase. It still feels great, though.

I find that a lot of increasing your average speed isn't so much due to increases in fitness and strength, but to increases in riding skills. Knowing when to get down in the drops and spin, when to be more upright on the tops and mash, and when to get up out of the saddle and blow the top off a small hill.

I live in New England hill country, and there are precious few flats around here that are more than a few hundred yards long, but on those flats I find that setting my breathing to a rythm based on my pedal strokes really helps me get dialed in, and stay that way.

Whenever I've reached a steady speed where I know for certain that it's the maximum that I can sustain, I'll throw in four extra hard, forcefull pedal strokes in a row, wham! wham! wham! wham!, like a very tiny sprint; go back to the previous pace for a few minutes to rest up, and then do the same thing again. Every time I do that it'll bump my speed up by maybe two or three MPH. It soon drifts back down, but each of those brief spurts of speed takes seconds off the clock, as well as increasing my overall strength.

You're lucky if you don't live on a hill. No matter which direction I set off in, I've got to climb to get back home. On some of my favorite 30 to 40 mile rides, I can average 19 MPH right up to the base of that final hill before home, and then that hill proceeds to eat away at my average until by the time I get into the driveway it's been whittled down to 18 MPH or less. But really, it's all for the better, training wise, because it makes me get mad at that hill; determined to defy it and hang on tooth-and-nail to my hard won speed, where otherwise I might just slack off and relax in my last couple of miles before home.

It does me good, once in a while, to take the bike out and take it easy, ride upright and relaxed, and just enjoy the experience without pain. Otherwise, I'm afraid, the bike will become purely an instrument of torture, and I'll lose motivation. Stop and smell the roses, as they say.

Good luck. Who would ever have thought that something that hurts so much could be so much fun?
 

sogood

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Aug 24, 2006
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I agree with all of the above except the absolute need to invest in more hardwares.

The key in my experience is just to ride along what Dave has suggested. Joining a club and ride with faster guys also helps in setting a target. You'll ride faster when you can ride faster, and that depends on your aerobic capacity and muscle adaptation.
 

dhk2

Active Member
Aug 8, 2006
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sogood said:
I agree with all of the above except the absolute need to invest in more hardwares.

The key in my experience is just to ride along what Dave has suggested. Joining a club and ride with faster guys also helps in setting a target. You'll ride faster when you can ride faster, and that depends on your aerobic capacity and muscle adaptation.
Some good advice here. I'd add that patience is needed. The kinds of adaptions you need to go faster and longer take time. No matter how efficient and effective a training program is, the body only responds at a given rate. Pumping up billions of mitochondria and growing thousands of miles of capillaries doesn't happen overnight.

Good dietary and sleep habits are important too. I've read that they can be just as important to progress as the training stress.