Riding faster - need advice and training tips

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by noseknows7, May 27, 2013.

  1. noseknows7

    noseknows7 New Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2013
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm looking to increase my overall, maintained speed, particularly for group rides. Until recently, I've almost always been riding solo. I can usually hold a 16-18 pace for a bit but slow a bit on hills, etc. For group rides averaging 18 mph, most cyclists seem to be riding steady for several mile portions in the 20+ range. Any advice for the non-group portion of my training to pick up the pace and stay fast?

    I've been doing spin HIT & speed intervals (both in spin class & on the trainer). Aside from going out on the road on my own 2-3 days a week and forcing myself to keep my cadence high and pushing / watching my bike computer, what else can I do to get faster?
     
    Tags:


  2. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2011
    Messages:
    2,432
    Likes Received:
    92
    It sounds like you are on the bike a few days a week. How long are the outdoor rides? How long have you been on the current plan? What is your physical background? And how much time do you have available or want to invest are some of the questions that folks may ask.

    There is a great thread about someone who measurably increased their cruising speed by several mph (I'm guessing from the mid teens to low 20's) in just a few months if you are willing to do some reading: http://www.cyclingforums.com/t/492377/new-guy-with-140ish-ftp-looking-to-hit-225-by-may-2013

    (You don't need a power meter to grab the jist of the recommended workouts and the path the fella took. And if not familiar already looking up general terms you aren't familiar with will also help with future advice)

    In a nutshell - after a brief warmup, a workout of a couple of longer intervals (20 minutes or more at about 85-90% of the effort required for the max cruising speed you could sustain for a hour or so) are recommended. It would be an intensity slightly above what is defined as "tempo" (where only short sentences would be possible if tried, and the effort is tough enough to require concentration to maintain, but obviously a level of intensity one could hold without petering out before the 20 minutes is up). Then 10 minutes of easier pedaling in between to rest. If you can't hold the effort steadily for both of the 20 minute efforts you went a bit hard and need to dial it back a bit the next time.

    This workout can be done a couple times each week but ideally should be tackled when adequately rested, and in your case sounds like it could easily replace one or two of your outdoor rides (the workout can be done indoors or out but if outside it's best to have a circuit or stretch of road where the effort can be done uninterrupted). Longer and slightly less intense intervals give great bang for the buck (i.e. invested time) and aren't as likely to burn one out (either physically or mentally) over the long haul.

    One thing important to understand is that different workout intensities all focus on building fitness but in slightly different ways. Different intensities target different energy pathways (each with their own associated physiological adaptations, some of which overlap between workout intensity levels) and some have greater potential to develop over cumulative years of training than others. The nice thing is the benefits of the workout described above can be developed and stacked cumulatively year after year. Frequency, consistency, and quality of workouts along with adequate rest are the key to getting faster on the bike.

    Welcome to the forum.
     
  3. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2006
    Messages:
    3,857
    Likes Received:
    97
    +1 on a lot of very good advice above, but this part in particular is good:


    In terms of your original question this is important because those short super fast HIIT intervals aren't really targeting the same system as sustained 'steady hard' sub-maximal work. IOW, even though it seems logical to get faster with short intense bursts of speed, it really isn't the best approach to being a faster overall rider who can sustain more power and speed for extended periods.

    Those sustained longer sections of hard but not gut busting or impossible work is the key to building sustainable power and speed and what will help you become one of those riders that sustain 20+ for extended periods alone or at the front of the group. Short intense bursty work has it's place for a bike racer but it's really top end and icing on the cake for competitive situations and not the bread and butter that makes you an overall faster rider. Stick with the sustained hard work for that and make the individual faster efforts at least 10 minutes an preferably 12, 15, 20 or more minutes each to really see improvement.

    Stick with it for long enough (and that's months and years, not days and weeks) and you should move in the right direction.

    -Dave
     
  4. maydog

    maydog Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2010
    Messages:
    1,333
    Likes Received:
    90
    The chances are that the other, faster riders are not working as hard when in the pack.

    In addition to training, you need to pay attention to the group dynamics. Good riders use other's efforts to their advantage. It takes practice to be able to ride another's wheel and find the sweet spot for drafting in a crosswind. Many cyclists I ride with will do 18'ish on a solo effort, but the group efforts are usually 20+, the difference being that the workload is shared and everyone gets a good rest before a pull.

    Get comfortable riding in the drops. Reducing your frontal area gives you "free" speed. Don't wear any baggy clothing, it catches the wind and will slow you as well.
     
    noseknows7 likes this.
  5. noseknows7

    noseknows7 New Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2013
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi danfoz - thanks for the note and quick reply! This is really helpful info that I'll give some thought to and try to incorporate. So far (I'm in Michigan and it's been colder, rainy later this year), my outdoor rides have been under 50 miles. Usually 25-45 miles in length. I've cut back to spinning 1-2 days a week as I've been doing 2-3 weekly rides outside with this variable weather. I really don't have a plan right now and have been kind of trying to figure it out. Randomly, at best. Joining group rides this year is a new thing for me. I've been fairly active (swimming, cycling, some running, yoga) for several years and have been cycling for 8-9 years a fair amount but have tended to ride alone or with 1-2 friends.

    My job keeps me busy, but I'm willing to commit multiple days per week just to outdoor rides.

    I'm not familiar with using a power meter, but like the interval work you describe as 20 minutes at 85-90 percent. I'm not entirely sure what that will feel like for me, but I'll try to go nearly all out with t he mindset that I need to be able to rest 10 minutes and keep it up again for another 20ish minutes.

    If you have other suggestions for how to gauge that 85-90 percent or have any additional tips, let me know! :)
     
  6. noseknows7

    noseknows7 New Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2013
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    daveryanwyoming: thanks so much! This really is helpful and confirmed something I've been worrying about. spinning doesn't feel like wasted time, but I keep thinking "okay, you really need to do longer hill sets, etc. on the road." I appreciate your input.
     
Loading...
Loading...