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  #1  
Old 07-20-2012, 01:44 PM
gforcepdx gforcepdx is offline
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Default Best way to build endurance

I'm 52 and been riding regularly for a couple of months and trying different routines looking for the best way to build endurance. Is there a consistent line of thought as to the best way to approach this? I've been riding 30 miles a day now going on 2 weeks and felt my endurance improve beginning with the second week. But before this, I'd been riding greater distances but taking days off in between to recover, starting with 5 to 10 miles and expanding to my longest of 50 miles, two weeks ago. All of it on a mountain bike by the way. Last week I swapped my 1.5x26 smooth tread's for 1.25x26 slicks and found myself doing 15 to 16 mph on a good day.

So, my question is, am I going at this the right way? Is daily riding better at building new muscle and endurance, or is it better to train on longer rides that I need more recovery time from? When you read about strength training for other muscle groups in the body, ie weight lifting, its recommended that you work area's separately and no more then 3 days a week. Is riding a distance that feels truly challenging to the rider on a daily basis counter productive? I've reached the point where I'm finding the line on the back of my calf now. Very happy with those results but am training for 100+ days and looking for the best way forward.
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Old 07-20-2012, 05:11 PM
boneshaker boneshaker is offline
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I guess the question is what are you training for? If it is just general fitness I'd say ride as much and as often as possible. If you are wanting to go fast or far you should focus more on higher intensity or longer rides to build endurance. You could also "cheat" and go talk to Upper Echelon or one of the other amazing bike specific gyms around if you are really wanting to take it to the next level.

For most people I'd say ride the wheels off the bike and you'll be fit as a fiddle in no time. Tons and tons of daily miles are also the most fun way to go.
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  #3  
Old 07-21-2012, 08:40 PM
gforcepdx gforcepdx is offline
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Hey Boneshaker, thanks for the reply. What am I after? My first goal is general fitness. I'm 52 and carrying 5 extra lbs from last winter that used to shed with activity and diet. I've managed to drop 15 but the last 5 won't budge. So to shed that, I guess I could just stick the daily 30 miles and wait for results. But I get bored doing the same thing every day, so I decided I wanted to train for century rides.

The longest ride I've yet to manage has been 50 miles after two months of training. And while I like longer rides, they started getting in the way of other things, not to mention the fact that I needed to take 3 or more days to recover and I thought that much time off was a bad thing. So, at that point I thought it might make more sense to ride 30 miles every day instead of 40 or 50 every 3 to 5 days. The first week my daily 30 wasn't much fun and I was having to down shift to make the distance. By the second week however felt better and my energy improved. But then I started thinking about one of the general fitness basic's. That to build muscle, you need to tear it down, then allow it time to rebuild and increase.

And the two weeks I rode daily helped drop my weight a little, but not the sort of results that I had hoped for. So then I thought in order to metabolize my belly off in the long term, it might make sense to work on building more muscle. I've been looking at my goals through different lenses. Losing all of the weight right now might make less sense than focusing on other goals like distance training and let the muscle building that requires, take care of the extra 5 lbs over time.

Lately I've read its important to mix things up. To do a single distance ride once a week and increase that distance by 5% to 10% each week. And to mix in other types of rides through the week. Perhaps a couple of 30 mile rides and a couple of shorter 10 or 20 mile rides pushing at top speed or to do hill climbs. Eventually I'm going to mix in a couple of days for dumbbells and swimming to tone my upper half. But that's not for a while yet. For now, my goals are to be able to hold my own on hill climbs and distance rides. I know I can ride 50 miles which really feels like entry level for Portland. Not ready for rides to the coast yet, but perhaps ready to keep up with people that are, while they take shorter training rides.

The last thing is that I'm feeling a little overwhelmed with all of the different schools of thought in regards to training. But something I know about myself is that I like to keep things pretty simple. Having to run around with a heart monitor to run a lot of calculations is not the sort of training I will ever honestly do. Simplicity for me is a very good thing. Also, for the time being I'll be doing all of my training on a mountain bike with 1.25x26 slicks so 16 mph is my limit. But I figure that until I compete in a race or something, equipment isn't really that important.
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Old 07-23-2012, 12:17 AM
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dmc dmc is offline
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Consistency counts most. Be on your bike everyday. Even if you are only doing 10-15 miles. I like to call those days my mental days. When I ride slow and enjoy the scenery.

When you start riding over 35 miles, food becomes very important. Make sure you are eating good food before your ride and make stops to refuel your body. If you are starting to fatigue then you have waited too long to refuel. Everyone's body is different but I like to take a break after 75-90 minutes and eat for 10 minutes. Then every 45-60 minutes after that I take a short 5 minute break to eat some more.

Cross training is important to get those other muscle groups built up as well. It's important so you can avoid injury. For example, the day following a longer ride I will go play basket ball for an hour and keep a light sweat going.

Personally, I wouldn't enjoy doing 30 miles every day. I'd rather mix it up like: 20, 35, 15, 40, 10, 45. You get the idea. Thats just what I personally prefer though.

Odometer's are a nice accessory but I haven't used one in over two years. The speedometer portion of the apparatus the main reason I don't use one. I feel the speedometer can influence your pace negatively. I know my body a lot better than a speedometer does.

MOST IMPORTANTLY, change your routes as much as possible. Make them exciting and try to go places you haven't been or go very infrequently.
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Old 07-25-2012, 05:47 AM
boneshaker boneshaker is offline
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Also, not all 30 mile rides are equal. Hit them west hills... they'll make you strong. You start riding up & down those every day and you'll lose 5 lbs in no time.

I don't think it makes much difference if you ride 30ish miles every day vs. 50 every other day. Having a good time and enjoying yourself is more important. If your goal is to ride a century though, then you should start increasing distance gradually. If you're running out of time ride in the morning and wake up earlier. It is possible to ride a century and make it home in time for lunch.
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  #6  
Old 07-25-2012, 07:47 AM
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lynnef lynnef is offline
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Go on some group or club rides. You'll be introduced to new territory, and will push yourself some as well. You are well within the gender/age demographic. Check out Portland Velo Saturday rides - they divide up by riding pace.
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