Quads burn when attempting higher speeds...

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by turtletocheetah, Jun 5, 2014.

  1. turtletocheetah

    turtletocheetah New Member

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    Is there any specific type of training for this or do I just need more time on the bike to remedy this? I have only gotten into cycling a few weeks ago. My training is pretty simple, I ride 1 hour a day, along with 3 day split at the gym for moderate (leg ) weight lifting program. After weights I proceed with 30 minute HIT intervals. This is 3 times a week as well. But I ride every day on the bike, and have noticed some significant improvements in my endurance, but my speed suffers tremendously because of my weak quads. I seem to have good endurance, after 15 or 20 miles( for me thats a lot since I'm new at this;) I'm not really winded or anything and my legs feel fine as long as I don't try to reach higher speeds 18-20mph. If I do, it's only for a few seconds to a minute before my quads begin to burn to high hell. Is this just an issue of needing more time riding the bike, or am I missing something in my training? I don't usually eat anything before a ride. Kind of wing it most of the time and just drink a whole bottle of water. Is there any food or supplement that might help with leg muscle burns? Thanks for your time Mike
     
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  2. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    Leg strength isn't a big factor for going fast on the bike. You can see from the chart below that anything over a couple minutes is primarily aerobic. It's the reason guys with legs no thicker than pencils can win the Tour de France ;) If your quads are tiring maybe try increasing your cadence a bit. Typically the faster I go, the higher my cadence. A common beginner mistake is to slog away in a gear that's too big. There's no "ideal" cadence but try finding something between 80-100rpm that works for you.

    [​IMG]


    A good dose of miles 4x or 5x/week with varying speed done consistently over time with appropriate recovery is the main thing to getting faster. A few weeks isn't much, but keep at it regularly for a couple months riding an hour or two a day and you will start to see some improvement. Adding a longer ride of 2-3 hours on the weekend (or whenever) will go a long way to improvement. You should be getting your heart rate above 70% of your maxHR for most of the ride, and to maximize your potential should spend some of that time close to or even above 90% of your maxHR, although for a beginner that shouldn't be the priority unless of course you just enjoy it. A few minutes at that level of intensity sprinkled into a moderately paced ride goes a long way.

    Once you have some basic fitness ( a couple months of daily rides), a more advanced strategy to increase cruising speed are intervals. One commonly used type is known as SST (sweet spot training). Sweet spot because it's enough intensity to bring about physiological adaptations, but not too intense as to exhaust one so regular riding is interrupted, which is enemy #1 toward making progress.
    How to do it: Warm up at an endurance pace (65%-70% maxHR) for 15-20 minutes, ride fairly hard for 15 minutes (about 80% maxHR), ride easy for 10 minutes, then repeat a second time. If you start to fade out toward the end, adjust the next time and go a little easier. The key is maintaining a steady effort across both of the intervals. Finish up by riding easy the last 10 minutes to cool down. The workout can be done in an hour and many guys on the forum have seen nice gains doing these workouts mixed in a couple times a week with their other riding. Many serious riders do 20 minute variations of these intervals (you'll often see this referred to as 2x20), but you can easily make progress starting out with a couple 15 minute efforts.

    Eating something before a ride is good... imagine trying to drive a car without gas in the tank.
     
  3. maydog

    maydog Well-Known Member

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    Ensure that you have your bicycle properly adjusted. There are alot of resources on the interwebs about proper fit; the main takeaway is to get the seat height to the point where you have only a slight bend at the bottom of the pedal stroke with your foot parallel to the ground. Many riders have their seats too low.

    Cadence is a key factor is riding efficiently. Mashing a big gear may feel macho and may be good for building big legs. Bulking up muscle, hypertrophy, requires that the muscle accumulate damage / micro tears which gets rebuilt. The quads, glutes and hams can take only so much abuse on a ride, maintaining a proper cadence will spare the muscles for the current ride and the next day. A bike computer with cadence is a good investment or there are ways of getting cadence using a cheap 2nd bike computer, or you can count and use a stopwatch - but that becomes tedious.

    Finally, give it time. You body has to adapt, cycling is a unique motion and requires training. Over time neuromuscular and cardiovascular changes will make what seems difficult to do today become second nature.
     
  4. turtletocheetah

    turtletocheetah New Member

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    Thanks Danfoz and Maydog for the great info :)

    Yeah my legs do get fried using the big gears.
    I did not know this whole deal was more aerobic than muscle strength. I thought it was 50%50% :/
    Talk about having it all wrong LOL

    I guess I have to find the perfect median where my cadence is high enough yet on a gear that will actually move me forward.
    I can keep a pretty fast cadence but on 3 gear or so, get passed by kids in their Mongoose LOL

    I will take your guys advice, train more efficiently using some of the methods pointed out here, eat before riding, and I guess just be patient and give it time. This certainly sounds like a quantity builds quality type of sport.

    Its cool, I am a patient man:)

    Thank again fellas,
    Mike
     
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