Which is more beneficial working on, distance or speed?

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Emphursis
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Which is more beneficial working on, distance or speed?

Postby Emphursis » Tue Dec 11, 2012 19:41 pm

Like the title says really, I'm shockingly unfit, and did a relatively comfortable 11 miles at 12mph at the weekend. Would I be better off working on increasing the distance I ride or the speed I ride it first?

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ALIHISGREAT
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Re: Which is more beneficial working on, distance or speed?

Postby ALIHISGREAT » Tue Dec 11, 2012 19:46 pm

Neither.

Time and intensity is what you want to be looking at.

Johncp
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Re: Which is more beneficial working on, distance or speed?

Postby Johncp » Tue Dec 11, 2012 20:28 pm

Just get used to going out 3-5 times a week at fairly comfortable distance and pace. Once you're comfortable with being on the bike you can , after maybe a month or three, start to increase the distances of one or two of the rides. Then just go from there increasing distances of the long rides and pace of the shorter ones as and when. No need to overcomplicate it!
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Herbsman
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Re: Which is more beneficial working on, distance or speed?

Postby Herbsman » Tue Dec 11, 2012 21:32 pm

Time first, intensity second.

danowat
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Re: Which is more beneficial working on, distance or speed?

Postby danowat » Wed Dec 12, 2012 06:33 am

Herbsman wrote:Time first, intensity second.


Yup, don't get caught up in speed and distance, although its great for willy waving :lol:

Trev The Rev
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Re: Which is more beneficial working on, distance or speed?

Postby Trev The Rev » Wed Dec 12, 2012 08:48 am

Depends on the distance of the event you are training for, but unless you are training for sprint or kilo all cycling is endurance so build endurance first. If you are very unfit or a new rider or are coming back after several years, build up easy to allow muscles tendons etc to adapt. If you go too soon into high intensity you can injure yourself.

okgo
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Re: Which is more beneficial working on, distance or speed?

Postby okgo » Wed Dec 12, 2012 14:24 pm

danowat wrote:
Herbsman wrote:Time first, intensity second.


Yup, don't get caught up in speed and distance, although its great for willy waving :lol:


Average speed is only second in bragging terms to power I think :D
Blog on my first and now second season of proper riding/racing - www.firstseasonracing.com

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springtide9
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Re: Which is more beneficial working on, distance or speed?

Postby springtide9 » Wed Dec 12, 2012 14:45 pm

As above...
- Time first
- Intensity second.

It obviously depends on your goals (are you looking to enter longish "sportives" etc. Generally you really want to get used to being able to cycle for several hours without it being too much of a hardship.

What you'll find is that once you get the fitness to cycle as a certain pace for say 2 hrs, you'll actually be able to pick up your pace if only cycling for an hour etc.
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ManxShred
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Re: Which is more beneficial working on, distance or speed?

Postby ManxShred » Wed Dec 12, 2012 16:06 pm

For me and my weaknesses, I am doing the opposite.

I don't really have a problem doing longer rides, but I am weak on climbs and average speed. So this winter I am trying to work more on intervals and speed/power work, with some long rides thrown in. I want to maintain that into summer with longer rides thrown in to work on time in the saddle.

If I compare 2 rides of the same course done a year apart. The first I had a broken thumb during my training so most training was on the turbo, with a few long rides just before to get the distance. The second I did a lot more distance work with much less turbo/interval work. I was much more comfortable at the end of the second ride, and a lot slower.
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GiantMike
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Re: Which is more beneficial working on, distance or speed?

Postby GiantMike » Wed Dec 12, 2012 16:30 pm

Emphursis, you will start off unfit, then progress to fitter but weak, then fitter but stronger, then fit and strong.

ANY cycling will get you fitter than you are now so focus on enjoying whatever you can do and then you'll do more and get fitter. Mix it up and make it fun. Save the focussed pain for when you're fit and strong and training for the National TT Champs or 2020 Olympics MTB race.

It's worth making a note of what you have done after each ride as this will provide a record as well as impetus for further rides. I've made a blog out of my training (which nobody reads but it gives me an additional reason to train when I'd otherwise just sit on the sofa eating cake and drinking wine).
my power improvement experiment blog

Rule number 100: It's your bike and your money and your time; do what you like with it and ignore other peoples' rules. Except this one.

peyroux
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Re: Which is more beneficial working on, distance or speed?

Postby peyroux » Thu Dec 13, 2012 01:49 am

Excuse my newness but I don't quite understand your definitions:
Time = how long you ride for?
Intensity = how hard you push yourself = how fast you go?
I guess I'm misunderstanding something because time and intensity seem the same as distance and speed?

Also how can I measure the time and intensity? I have a gps watch I use for running that can track distence, speed and heart rate...but are there better things a specific bike computer can measure? this whole time/intensity thing? (Power in watts?) question question question...sorry about that

danowat
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Re: Which is more beneficial working on, distance or speed?

Postby danowat » Thu Dec 13, 2012 07:09 am

peyroux wrote:I guess I'm misunderstanding something because time and intensity seem the same as distance and speed?


Yes, you are misunderstood.

Time is know quantity, it is what it is, its fixed, you have no control over it, intensity is the level of work you are doing, and can control it using HR or power.

Distance and speed are results of intensity and time, however, there are external forces that affect it that a) you can't control, and b) can't accurately predict, i.e. weather, traffic, terrain etc etc, because of this, it is (IMO) better to work with things that have less variables that you can't control, i.e. time and intensity.

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Herbsman
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Re: Which is more beneficial working on, distance or speed?

Postby Herbsman » Thu Dec 13, 2012 08:48 am

Try riding up a slight hill at a medium level of effort, then try the same again down the hill at the same level of effort. Note how long it takes you each time. Now, note that the distance up and down the hill is the same, but the time and speed change. Make sense now?

Or, look at it another way. If you spend 60 minutes riding on your turbo trainer, riding 70% of the hardest you can possibly ride. Your speed was zero, and your distance was zero. Thus, distance and time were irrelevant, but you still got 60 minutes at 70% intensity.
Last edited by Herbsman on Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

Tom Butcher
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Re: Which is more beneficial working on, distance or speed?

Postby Tom Butcher » Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:05 am

Speed is fine to use as a motivator though. If you have a loop that you've averaged say 13mph on you can try and average 14mph next time - stuff like that. Given the OPs current level the best thing to do would just be go out and ride - set some targets like ride 30 miles or reach a certain cafe for a stop then ride back. They might also find other people of a similar standard either in a local club or more often these days informal groups of mates who ride together with no real interest in joining a club or getting into competitive riding.
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Herbsman
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Re: Which is more beneficial working on, distance or speed?

Postby Herbsman » Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:45 am

True, I often have my speed and distance displayed on my Garmin, just something else to look at other than the same old trees and fields :D

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Wrath Rob
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Re: Which is more beneficial working on, distance or speed?

Postby Wrath Rob » Thu Dec 13, 2012 12:43 pm

See Rule #68 // Rides are to be measured by quality, not quantity
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okgo
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Re: Which is more beneficial working on, distance or speed?

Postby okgo » Thu Dec 13, 2012 12:53 pm

That's what I keep telling you about your Sunday bimbles Rob ;)
Blog on my first and now second season of proper riding/racing - www.firstseasonracing.com

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Wrath Rob
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Re: Which is more beneficial working on, distance or speed?

Postby Wrath Rob » Thu Dec 13, 2012 12:57 pm

okgo wrote:That's what I keep telling you about your Sunday bimbles Rob ;)

With this weather, there are no bimbles, just cold rides ;)

I think my FTP is getting to the point that I'll be able to hang onto your wheel for one of the flatter training rides now. Small steps :)
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smidsy
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Re: Which is more beneficial working on, distance or speed?

Postby smidsy » Thu Dec 13, 2012 18:52 pm

What they are basically saying is do not worry how far you go (distance) or how quick you go (speed) simply work on riding for longer (time) and pushing harder during the ride (intensity).

When starting out (as I did in January) there is little point in setting goals based on average speed or number of miles covered it is simply challenge enough to be able to ride for longer and longer at the same intensity.

Worth just getting time on the bike and concentrating on keeping a good cadence (which may mean changing gears quite a bit at first). Aim for somehting in the 80 - 90 rpm range as this tends to be better for your body and technique in the long run.

Essentially its about building a level of fitness and developing the muscles required for riding. Once these are done you can concentrate on more specific things.

If you can get a mix of shorter (say 70 - 90mins) more intense rides to build power and longer (2hrs or 3hrs +) more relaxed rides to build endurance.

Always remember to warm up and down as aprt of the ride too.

Ideally get 10 - 15 hrs a week in if you can. This strategy has seen me go from embarrasingly poor to moderately adequate. :P I can now ride for 4hrs+ at a fair pace and have joined a club (which I should have done sooner).
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