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Training whilst bicycle commuting

A fair bit of my weekly riding kilometres is taken up with commuting; the balance is normally a group ride or a Audax ride on the weekend, so there is little to no room for training rides to improve my riding.  Hence the recent blog posting by Neil Pedoe of Cycling Plus in BikeRadar.com caught my attention and has motivated me!  While you can read the full article at BikeRadar.com and I recommend it, the following summary should hopefully wet your appetite.

I commute on Sir Lancelot so my training during the week  is on a nice strong (read heavy) touring bike.  I am hoping this will translate into much better performances on Froggie on the weekends.

Neil’s program suggests the following types of training

  1. Sprint training where your focus is on straight out flat-out speeds. Suggests for sprint training includes racing away from lights.  With sprints one should leave a five to 20 minute gap between sprints for recovery purposes.
  2. Fartlek intervals are randomly occurring and lasting efforts at about 80 percent of your heart rate maximum (where safe) and works your body’s aerobic and anaerobic systems. For me, I like to make use of the “hills” on my commutes to push my speed, cadence and heart rate as I climb the hills.  The other advantage with this is the recovery period varies depending on where the hills are.
  3. Cadence intervals is where you make better use of the gears to try and keep the cadence around 100 rpm or 10% better than your normal cadence. Cadence intervals are incorporated into the sprint training sessions or fartlek intervals.  The ideal is to improve pedalling technique, endurance and acceleration.
  4. Big gear intervals  as the name suggest is all about pushing bigger gears for repeated intervals or on the flats to build leg strength.  I am looking at doing this during my transitions from one fartlek interval to the next.
  5. Food chain numbers are all about being scoring being dropped or rather not being dropped. This may also be referred to as Ergo 500, a little friendly safe competitive spirit out on the road.

My only negative with Neil’s article is that he does not put numbers to the various training suggestions so it is a hard to get a framework for a good commuting based training program.  If you have ideas on same please do share them in the related Australian Cycling Forums thread.

10 Responses to Training whilst bicycle commuting

  1. Lee July 26, 2009 at 8:15 AM #

    I too read Neil’s post. Very good and got me thinking about how I can embed some training into an otherwise mundane commute.

    I have to say though Andrew, that if there is further discussion on this, it should really be on the author’s site and not separate forums. Credit where credit’s due.

  2. Lee July 26, 2009 at 5:15 PM #

    I too read Neil’s post. Very good and got me thinking about how I can embed some training into an otherwise mundane commute.

    I have to say though Andrew, that if there is further discussion on this, it should really be on the author’s site and not separate forums. Credit where credit’s due.

  3. ksteinhoff July 26, 2009 at 1:01 PM #

    In fairness to Andrew, I had not been to that site before and would not have been aware of the topic had he not brought it up. I’ll head over there now.

    He included a link to http://www.bikeradar.com so I think he’s well within the ethical boundaries. He doesn’t make a practice of stealing things without attribution.

  4. ksteinhoff July 26, 2009 at 10:01 PM #

    In fairness to Andrew, I had not been to that site before and would not have been aware of the topic had he not brought it up. I’ll head over there now.

    He included a link to http://www.bikeradar.com so I think he’s well within the ethical boundaries. He doesn’t make a practice of stealing things without attribution.

  5. Lee July 26, 2009 at 1:54 PM #

    You don’t understand me. I have no issue at all with the article and didn’t say I did. Great to spread the word and Andrew fully credits the original author too. Just if you’re inviting discussion you should continue that on the original authors site and not on separate forums. BikeRadar gets funding, but they ultimately need advertising revenues and thus site visits too.

  6. Lee July 26, 2009 at 10:54 PM #

    You don’t understand me. I have no issue at all with the article and didn’t say I did. Great to spread the word and Andrew fully credits the original author too. Just if you’re inviting discussion you should continue that on the original authors site and not on separate forums. BikeRadar gets funding, but they ultimately need advertising revenues and thus site visits too.

  7. ksteinhoff July 27, 2009 at 11:50 AM #

    Lee,

    OK, we’re on the same page.

  8. ksteinhoff July 27, 2009 at 8:50 PM #

    Lee,

    OK, we’re on the same page.

  9. nimm August 1, 2009 at 2:05 AM #

    If you want to get faster Andrew you should do 2x20min efforts near maximum sustained effort. Also you only need to do this twice per week on subsequent days, the rest of the commute days can be easy riding.

    The problem I guess is if your commute isn’t long enough and/or the route doesn’t allow for good hard sustained riding (corners, traffic, stops, etc…). In both cases it might be possible to change your commute to allow for the training.

    I shoot for this on tue/wed (now on a trainer, previously down/up the kwinana freeway bike path) and noticed large improvements in speed. It’s not that I can just go faster it means everything else is easier and your speed over longer distances also improves (especially since this long distance cycling seems to be one of your goals).

  10. nimm August 1, 2009 at 11:05 AM #

    If you want to get faster Andrew you should do 2x20min efforts near maximum sustained effort. Also you only need to do this twice per week on subsequent days, the rest of the commute days can be easy riding.

    The problem I guess is if your commute isn’t long enough and/or the route doesn’t allow for good hard sustained riding (corners, traffic, stops, etc…). In both cases it might be possible to change your commute to allow for the training.

    I shoot for this on tue/wed (now on a trainer, previously down/up the kwinana freeway bike path) and noticed large improvements in speed. It’s not that I can just go faster it means everything else is easier and your speed over longer distances also improves (especially since this long distance cycling seems to be one of your goals).

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