Training Tips to increase general speed

Dear AC members, 

I am seeking some genuine advice on how I can improve my time taken to complete events such as Amy's Ride, TDU, RLC... etc.

My endurance is pretty good, and on the flat I could probably ride across Australia  lol... but I am not fast.

I can ride the hills,... but slowly.. Downhill is not an issue, I love the speed, and I guess that's where I make up lost time, but in general I am only riding an average of 25-28Kms/hour overall... 

I ride out to Outer Harbour approx once a week, and other times ride up to Crafers...and I go to the Gym... so I'm pretty fit... I just can't seem to get faster!

I beat my RLC ride by 20mins this year, so I guess there is some evidence of improvement,  but I don't think I pushed myself to the limits..

Does anyone have any training tips that could help?

Views: 473

Comment by Kevin White on January 16, 2012 at 12:42

No offence intended at all Fluiddelta but I often wonder why everybody seems so hell bent on going faster

if cycling is supposed to be so much fun, then what is the attraction for getting it over and done with quicker?

Comment by FLUIDDELTA on January 16, 2012 at 13:53

Hey none taken Kevin...   I'm not really hell bent on speed,... but I would just like to improve my overall Cycling fitness so that I can confidently keep up with group riders... and also complete a 100kms ride  and arrive before the event organisers start packing up the stands!!  lol

Comment by Davidtcr on January 16, 2012 at 14:20

Fluiddelta, is it just the hills that you are having issues with - or are you struggling to keep up with some groups that you want to ride with? The reason I ask is that the 25 to 28 kmh average that you quote is quite reasonable if this is your average on your own - I can guarantee that if you maintain that average for a 100km ride you will not be the last person to finish.

From a training perspective, it mainly depends on how much time you have, and how committed you are to it. Generally putting in some hard efforts - both repeated short efforts and longer sustained efforts will help; just remember to be consistent with the training and also to include some recovery time. If you have specific issues with hills, then make sure that some of these efforts are up hills.

Comment by M@tt on January 16, 2012 at 14:31

I'm in a very similar situation, ok with flat / low sloping stuff, but my legs gas out pretty quick when it gets hilly, the only way is to train your muscles to get used to this work, which means lots more hills, I'm targetting 1 up and down the old freeway a week, apparently 48hrs rest between workouts is optimal for recovery as well.

Comment by FLUIDDELTA on January 16, 2012 at 14:59

The trouble I have with the group rides is that the people are mostly men with stronger legs than mine  lol

I just watch them whizz past... even if I wanted to keep up I'm sure the last rider would get frustrated and leave me behind!

I guess hills are the issue,  I'm fit enough to stay on the bike, but slowly ... Then at the top I speed down like everyone else.  It slows my whole ride down and for example I tackled Amy's Ride and managed 85kms comfortably and still had some energy left as I was well hydrated etc.. but after achieving Willunga Hill I was more than happy for the support crew to take me home..  When we arrived at the visitor's centre... almost all had packed up.. including the free lunch!!!  LOL

I suppose I will just have to get out there more often.. 

Do 'Spin' classes help?  I've never tried them, but I do interval training on my own in the Gym.

Yes.. the 25-28Kms is my current overall average (mostly on the flat)    I have only been Cycling more seriously for the past two and a half years.. and yes I have a Hybrid - hoping to upgrade later this year.

Comment by M@tt on January 16, 2012 at 15:06

No-one gets left behind on the SSRC L rides, trust me I know. I usually get to know the TEC quite well.

Comment by Davidtcr on January 16, 2012 at 15:10

With the group rides it would be really worth finding some groups that are doing a similar speed to you - it is ideal if you can find a group that is just a bit faster so they push you a bit to hang on, but not that have to keep wiating; there are a few rides from this forum that you might find ok. You will find that you will quite rarely meet any people on the road that are going the right speed for you - if they are going at around the same speed as you they won't catch you, and you won't catch them.

Group rides are good for a couple of reasons - they help to keep you motivated, and also they are good for learning to ride in a group, which is a very important skill (and it does need to be learned and practiced).

Like you I have never done Spin classes, but from what I have heard they are quite good for the shorter interval work; however I find the only way to improve on hills is to get out there and ride them. You will find changing to a lighter bike will make a big difference - but that definitely isn't a reason to wait until you have upgraded before you start working on hills :)

Comment by Roger ... on January 16, 2012 at 15:44

get yourself a cheap GPS (garmin) unit and join (free) then start comparing your rides. nearly everywhere you ride you will complete a couple of stava sections that you can see how you are going. As you get faster the database will tell you and your rank on that section improves. This is really motivates personal improvement. Many riders form this A/C group are also on strava so you can see if generally you could keep up by checking your position. Strava isn't a competition just a comparison tool and it will also show you where the most popular rides are rather than doing the same old same old all the time.

Comment by Darren B on January 16, 2012 at 19:36

If you can get out for a ride 3 to 4 times a week you'll be well on the way. More time on the saddle with a combination of flat and hilly courses is the simplest thing to do.

If you wanted to get right into it you could program specific speed sessions (interval repeats), tempo session (sustained effort) and a long ride.

Weight loss is also a ticket to faster ride.

The spin session is a great way to supplement your training. Keep it to once a week and use the rest of your available time to get on the bike.

Most of my rides are no longer than 90mins (with the exception of the long ride). But they are specific, not just junk miles.

Comment by Adam Brown on January 16, 2012 at 20:21

Average speed is a temperamental beast at the best of times as it depends on so many variables.

E.g. The terrain, how many other riders there are (especially in community rides when there's so much bedlam and congestion at the start), how much energy you have, effort, cramping or other health issues, mechanical dramas, even electrical interference with one's trip computer etc.

As others have said, training regularly, smartly and consistently is the key, both individually and in group situations..

But just be aware that you will have your good days and your bad days on the bike. Just try to remain motivated and enjoy it, regardless of your performance - the gains will surely come nonetheless.

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