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bunny_ninja
09-19-2010, 12:02 PM
So, I have this problem...

I am trying to get serious on the bike again. I want to go fast! I have plateaued with my speed. I have 'Bicycling for Women' - Gale Bernhardt and 'The Cyclists Training Bible' - Joe Friel and I want to set up a plan for going fast and getting into racing shape (and probably doing lots of TT's next season, just for fun).

Until the weather gets really bad again (new england, 21.1 mile round trip commute), I want to continue to commute to work most days. This goes against most of the sample training plans in the books. On those rides, I can't easily do a proper variety of workouts - per my schedule.

So here is the conundrum... To people who follow a basic periodization training plan - how do you incorporate / handle your leisurely (16-17mph) daily commute? Is it just 'normal' life and not time in the saddle?

It is hard being such a perfectionist... I haven't gotten on the bike yet today, because I am determined to start the training *today*. Daylight is gone in 4 hours! eeeep!

tulip
09-19-2010, 12:14 PM
Just ride your bike. Commuting is the best and most efficient way to incorporate training into your lifestyle. Of course, you already know this, I suspect. Perfectionist is another word for procrastinator. Commute on your bike; it is good for you. And it is fun.

OakLeaf
09-19-2010, 12:46 PM
Just make sure the emphasis is on leisurely. You will have days when you want to hammer and compete with the car traffic. Don't do that if it's supposed to be an easy day (or just do it for a couple of stoplights ... when it's safe ;)).

An EASY ten mile cruise, twice a day, shouldn't interfere with muscle healing. But IF there are many tough hills or severe winds on your commute - parts that hurt no matter how slowly you go - then you'll have to choose your priorities, while also being realistic about the benefits.

If traffic is light, you can incorporate some of your drills into your commute, but choose your times and places, because serious training takes serious attention, which really isn't compatible with rush hour traffic.

Your age is also an issue ... younger people heal quicker and need less focused recovery.


This is really my magic 8-ball (aka my running coach) talking. I've commuted and I've raced, but never both at the same time. But I've found that most of the time I can tell when I need extra recovery and when I don't, and I think have a pretty realistic idea of how competitive I will (or won't) ever be in races. Listen to your body, listen to your common sense, and you'll make the decisions that are right for you.

maillotpois
09-19-2010, 01:57 PM
My husband uses some of his commute days for interval work. since he started commuting 6 or 8 years ago his speed has improved dramatically.

bunny_ninja
09-19-2010, 05:57 PM
Tulip: yes, there is some truth there :) I went out and did a fairly neutral ride (and I still haven't finished figuring out my plan). If I stop enjoying riding while incorporating more structure (the training plan) - then I will drop the plan. The most important thing is that riding makes me smile :)

OakLeaf: age... I am getting to where I don't heal as fast, indeed. That is part of why I gave up running about a year ago. My body was never made to run, and I made it do it for too long. Eventually, its protest won.
Thank you for the advice! I have trouble with listening to my body, common sense, and prioritization... I do have someone that knows me better than I know myself (often), so I will have to rely on him in the beginning *grumble*.

maillotpois: :-) Intervals... that is most definitely do-able. I have so many stops on my commute! Often the load I travel with, however, is not so good for sprints. If I have my laptop and the bike is going back and forth as I am out of the saddle - I fear I will just topple over on a particularly hapless day. I had been doing a few sprints and hill repeats on my way home on days w/o my laptop :D Gosh, if I have my chrome messenger bag, laptop, lunch, etc etc - I think that sucker weighs 20lbs on its worst day.

chicagogal
09-19-2010, 07:22 PM
Just make sure the emphasis is on leisurely. You will have days when you want to hammer and compete with the car traffic. Don't do that if it's supposed to be an easy day (or just do it for a couple of stoplights ... when it's safe ;)).

An EASY ten mile cruise, twice a day, shouldn't interfere with muscle healing. But IF there are many tough hills or severe winds on your commute - parts that hurt no matter how slowly you go - then you'll have to choose your priorities, while also being realistic about the benefits.

If traffic is light, you can incorporate some of your drills into your commute, but choose your times and places, because serious training takes serious attention, which really isn't compatible with rush hour traffic.

Your age is also an issue ... younger people heal quicker and need less focused recovery.


This is really my magic 8-ball (aka my running coach) talking. I've commuted and I've raced, but never both at the same time. But I've found that most of the time I can tell when I need extra recovery and when I don't, and I think have a pretty realistic idea of how competitive I will (or won't) ever be in races. Listen to your body, listen to your common sense, and you'll make the decisions that are right for you.


I agree with all of this!!!!

Most likely, your commute is going to be your easy time in the saddle. I think it will be very difficult for you to use that time for training, so it probably isn't worth trying. You will need to schedule in specific training sessions outside of your commute. Use your commute for active recovery and fun rides - we all need that too!!!!!

bunny_ninja
09-20-2010, 04:36 PM
I did really well 'riding slowly' and 'easily' to work, as I am half asleep anyway. I rode in the little ring mostly to keep it slow and I was lugging a ton of stuff (monday, more stuff to lug.) In fact, I had so much that I ended up with a sore on my spine! :( I have a really bony spine.
It's a total Elevation Gain: 395 ft / Elevation Loss: 254 ft.
It was my slowest pace ever! :D 14.9mph

Home... not so well. I am always so excited to go home and it is generally downhill... I have to do some defensive (zippy) biking in areas around traffic. I didn't really pay attention to speed or cadence. I just had a fun, happy commute. When I got home, I plugged in my garmin to find that my avg moving speed was 17.7mph. That is probably not a 'rest' day pace. :o

Next time I see the bf, I am going to talk to him (he knows me, unfortunately, very well). I will see how it goes this week -- making the separation between training and commuting for my muscles. Technically - this is the beginning of the preparatory 'phase' in those periodization schemas.

tulip
09-20-2010, 06:15 PM
You might want to consider getting a commuter bike that can accommodate panniers. All that weight on your back and shoulders will do nothing positive for your training, and will just make you sore.

Time in the saddle is important in the off-season. You can work on specialization closer to spring.