Cycling - making improvements

Been struggling with an achilles niggle this week which combined with the good weather has led to a fair bit of cycling

Assumed I was quite brisk until I got effortlessly passed by a bloke today and wondered what tips anyone would have for a relative beginner? If I could have had some similar tips when first starting running rather than blasting out runs as close to 7m/m every time I went out it would have helped massively!

I also find for example when climbing my breathing is controlled but the legs burn like hell, is this just the body not used to the demand whilst still having a decent fitness base?

Comments

  • Ride your bike as often as you can, seek out hills, don't avoid them. On flat roads use lamp posts for sprint intervals. 

  • time in the saddle...

    Also, work on getting your cadence (or pedal speed) up... watch the pros... at or above 100rpm.

    then buy the sufferfest video series, a turbo trainer, and prepare to suffer like you've never suffered before!image

    lets be honest.... its all prep for an Ironman on my 100th birthday
  • Cheers guys, I actually enjoy the hills in a perverse way!

  • Whats the thinking behind the 100rpm cadence?

  • LSH88 wrote (see)

    Whats the thinking behind the 100rpm cadence?

    Something to do with efficiency... pushing a big gear at slow cadence isn't good for long term power output, and also buggers up your knees!

    lets be honest.... its all prep for an Ironman on my 100th birthday
  • So, i would ignore the cadence thing...just because the pro's do it doesn't mean it will work or even help you.

    Mo Farah averages a 100 miles a week...do that and you will end up injured.

  • Big cadence is not for me

    i just can't keep my legs spinning

    i would rather push the big gear

  • Higher cadence is a proven efficiency - had this discussion with a bloke at work.

    I think we need the engineer but it's about force . . .

     . . . or is that the force? image

    Also, I seem to remember it shifts lactic acid more efficiently  . . .

    Saying that, I'm not the quickest!

     

  • The only research I've seen reported suggested lower cadence was more efficient but that it was marginal so I'd be interested to see the proof that it's otherwise.  

    I know studies have shown peak power can be achieved at high cadence but that's more to do with sprinting.  

    As far as improving goes more time in the saddle and do some rides where you try and go as fast as you can.   Beyond that it really depends on your goals and how much time you have to train.   

  • Magna Carter wrote (see)

    time in the saddle...

    Also, work on getting your cadence (or pedal speed) up... watch the pros... at or above 100rpm. then buy the sufferfest video series, a turbo trainer, and prepare to suffer like you've never suffered before!image

    +1 for sufferfest. Also, try doing a time trial, great fun and will improve your speed.

  • Cheers all, will give the cadence a go! 

  • Flat Footed wrote (see)

    So, i would ignore the cadence thing...just because the pro's do it doesn't mean it will work or even help you.

     

    Oneof42 wrote (see)

    Higher cadence is a proven efficiency - had this discussion with a bloke at work. 

     

    popsider wrote (see)

    The only research I've seen reported suggested lower cadence was more efficient but that it was marginal so I'd be interested to see the proof that it's otherwise.

    Lack of scientific consensus on this issue. You're talking about different factors in a complex process. It isn't an engineer you need but a doctor. 

    "Low cadence is bad for your knees" - higher forces within the joint occur at lower RPM for the same power, that's just mechanics. How low is too low though? And at what power? Grinding out 50rpm at your limit up a hill is going to be worse than spinning, but it's probably indicative that you're either incorrectly geared or attempting something stupidly steep.

    "Higher cadence clears lactic acid" - Firstly lactic acid isn't the problem. If you want to know more google lactate shuttling.

    "Lower cadence is more efficient" - From a mechanical perspective, yes. Less articulation = less energy cost. Even if there was no transmission of power, you'd still burn calories sat spinning your legs with the chain. From a more realistic perspective, the physiological parameters which govern performance are complicated here. There is some evidence to suggest that there may be a benefit to lowering cadence. There's some conflicting evidence to suggest high cadence is preferable. 

    Summary? If you're comfortable and not having problems, I wouldn't worry about it too much.

  • Get a faster bike. Red ones are fastest (everyone knows that).

  • Snap! wrote (see)

    Get a faster bike. Red ones are fastest (everyone knows that).

    Not true.

    I don't like red bikes, at all.

    Jus' sayin'.

  • My bike is red (Specialized Allez sport) so I dread to think how sluggish I'd be on any other colour!

  • Black bikes are best and fastest; any other colour can cause colour clashes with your cycling wardrobe....

  • But where getting better is concerned, it is all about time on the bike. It is pointless doing speedwork without base miles. Doing too many base miles will turn you into a Diesel, or one speed for all distances. Getting the right balance will depend on what you want out of cycling.

    I would suggest that your legs are hurting because cycling uses your leg muscles in a different way.

    I would suggest 80-100 for cadence, but this is a find what works well for you issue.

  • Sideburn, what is a good starting point for a speed work session?

  • LSH88 wrote (see)

    Sideburn, what is a good starting point for a speed work session?

    3-6 months of easy cycling.

  • Ideally find someone who is slightly better than you and who you hate to be beaten by image

    I love Strava, it makes a good basis of a fartlek session. Sprint for signs, ride hard up hills, ride sections hard. Ride at 80% in between efforts. Get home tired not wrecked.

    Then there are intervals; 40/20's 40 seconds hard 20 seconds rest. Do this 10 to 20 times. If you can do more then you are not trying hard enough image Less and you need to ease up or man up image I do these on a turbo trainer (less distraction).

    These sessions should represent a small percentage of your training; once a week??

    But, as above, get the base miles in first. 

  • IronCat5 wrote (see)
    LSH88 wrote (see)
    Sideburn, what is a good starting point for a speed work session?

    3-6 months of easy cycling.

    +1

  • Was only out of interest gents! But thanks SB

  • Training. Push the biggest gear you have all the time, up hill regardless and put some effort in, no touring chit chat stuff. Too easy.  In a race or time trial drop down two (2) gears.

  • Did you get that out of a 1960's training manual or just make it up yourself?

  • Ask Obree.

    Actually discovered this for myself. In 1972!

  • Can't he's on the other line...

  • The same Obree that rode at about 90 rpm during his hour record?

  • That's quite likely. However, in what bits of footage I've seen of him in training, his cadence is slower.

    Try pushing a 53-12 up a 12% gradient, cadence,image, about 15 rpm. 

  • I'm not very good on the bike ...

    ... the thing that makes the biggest difference for me, is frequency ... use multiple rides to get the figures up not just the odd big ride

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