speed or distance

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by leightjohn, Sep 28, 2009.

  1. leightjohn

    leightjohn New Member

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    Hi hope some one can help me with this

    is it better to improve speed or distance first? thanks for any tips
     
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  2. jhuskey

    jhuskey Moderator

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    Let me help you out by asking a few questions.
    What do you want to accomplish? (Race, lose weight, get more fit, meet girls).
    What is your fitness level now?
    How much time can you devote to training?
     
  3. taricha

    taricha New Member

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    I will tell you what I did.
    As I was just beginning, I lengthened my rides carefully until I reached a distance that is effective for a short workout I planned to do. Then I began to do that workout once or twice a week and continued carefully increasing the distance on the other days until I reached a good training distance for my longer workouts. At that point I began to focus on doing the workouts properly and getting faster, but one ride per week I continued to allow to get longer (and very slightly faster).

    I started at the beginning of June, barely able to complete a moderate effort 7 mile ride. Yesterday I did a 75+ mile group ride. My 1hr time trial has gone from 14.2 mi/hr to 20.1mi/hr.
    One more thing. When increasing the distance, 10% per week as an upper limit gets thrown out a bit, but it's just a rule of thumb. Listen to your body carefully, it is the boss. Having said that, most of my long ride increases have been 5% to 10% longer in time, so because I was also riding faster, the distance increase was often greater than 10%.

    Good luck, feel free to add more specifics to your questions, it'll get you much better answers in these parts.
     
  4. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    That's a classic 'it depends' question as jhuskey implies with his very good questions. What do you want from cycling and where are you in the process?

    But in general, for a beginner it usually makes sense to focus on distance before speed. IOW, if you're already going out and riding 30 to 50 mile training rides on a regular basis but struggle with speed or get dropped on group rides then it makes sense to shift focus to intensity a bit instead of doing even longer slower rides in hopes of building speed.

    But for the typical beginner who's out doing 10 or 15 mile rides that feel long it makes sense to gradually extend distance till you can get out and ride for several hours and get out onto longer more interesting rides before introducing structured higher end work.

    When do you transition from one approach to the other? Tough to say and it depends again on your goals, available time, ability to recover, athletic background, etc. But in any case the transition to intensity should focus first on long sustained efforts ridden hard but still sustainably instead of diving right into short hard gut busting efforts. IOW, learn to build your sustainable speed and power through longer uncomfortable but still manageable efforts as it's your best bang for your training buck in terms of becoming a stronger rider.

    Good luck,
    -Dave
     
  5. 64Paramount

    64Paramount Active Member

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    Distance first...speed later.
     
  6. fergie

    fergie Member

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    Increase both at same time.
     
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