some piece of science - high intensity vs countless miles

A light bike doesn't replace good fitness.

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by tymon_tm

some might find this one interesting: ... -activity/

interestingly (at least for me :wink: ), this season I'm targeting a total distance of ~7-8k kilometers, similarly to what I did in 2017. this is significantly less than during previous years; I was always north of 10k, even as much as 15k per year. now this year I feel so much stronger, better, comfier and simply put - faster. I'm 33 and been riding for more than half of my life now. and I don't really 'train' - I just ride. I don't do planned intervals or anything of the sorts, what I like doing though, is putting the hammer down as often as I can. with shorter distances I can do it more often, and that I do. last year I was wondering if those few thousand km I didn't do won't affect me in the long run - well, they have, but in a good way! there's this local 1km long 'kom' only recently I found I'm able to do at 53x19/18 with high cadence - which is freakin insane because I remember when big ringin' it was just a dream, and this season I'm Alaphilliping it all the way up :lol:

so in my book - less kms but with more intensity is the way to go. I never really liked clocking endless hours on the saddle, I find it boring and mentally challenging to the point where it feels like a torture. but those 70-90km rides where I can just pedal as hard as I can - now that's something else! I checked my calendar and this season only few times I did north of 100km - lots of 60s to 90s though, and boy those rides felt great! sharing my 'discovery of america' with buds (those who 'train' and 'race') they're all like - "sure, but you still need the distance", "anyone can do fast seventy, but that won't cut it in racing" etc

so I wonder what are your thoughts on the subject? faster, harder but shorter vs. longer?
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by Nefarious86

Part of it will be intensity part of it will be freshness but the majority of it will be the accumulation of time in the legs.
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by prebsy

If you don't have specific race goals then do whatever is more fun. I trained mostly w/ HIIT and group riding for years but have switched to the LSD (long slow distance) and like you said, IT'S BORING and generally not conducive to riding with others. Here's some info on the benefits of doing the slow stuff(polarized training)

pt1: ... ler_473325
pt2: ... ler_477253

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by Jugi

tymon_tm wrote:
so I wonder what are your thoughts on the subject? faster, harder but shorter vs. longer?
It is definetly not "vs." or "black or white" or "night or day".

1. Doing more (riding more) is always more beneficial than doing less, as long as the point of general exhaustion is not reached.
2. The body gets more efficient at the intensity it is trained at. If the body does only 10s sprints, eventually max power for 10s will be high. If the body does only easy 5h rides on flat roads, eventually it becomes very energy efficient at low intensity.
3. What is peculiar about physical performance is that all intensities support each other and help to build ones capabilities further.
4. What is even more peculiar is that usually people tend to "ride their pace" if there is no structure or plan applied to the training.

For the Average Joe, if there are no competitive goals which would provide guidance in setting training objectives:

5. Don't over-analyze, just ride your bike. Do what is fun, which will motivate you to riding enough to develop your performance. "Enough" riding time is ofcourse completely personal. If you don't want to plan too tightly, just do easy rides and try to keep them relaxing in general. For every week, try to do one exercise where you go all out. That exercise can be a race or any type of interval work that feels interesting.

Usually the most beneficial training type and style is the most painful one, as you are furthest from your comfort zone. The "comfort zone" should be thought of both as a physical and a mental groundwork for performance, which can be quantified for example in power numbers.

Sorry, can't quote any studies to back up my ramblings. Just my 0.02.

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by tymon_tm

Nefarious86 wrote:
Fri Sep 28, 2018 3:40 pm
Part of it will be intensity part of it will be freshness but the majority of it will be the accumulation of time in the legs.
I don't understand, what you're saying is I'm fresher (obviously I am), I "train" better (because I ride at higher intesity) but the last part I'm confused about

the issue is I can still do better at those longer rides. I spend 3-4 weeks per year in the hills where I do my fav rides, and it so happens I don't cut the distance on them - I even ride more than before (couple of 120 km long rides this year, while previously I would do a 100km max), do more climbing per ride, climb faster (or at least it doesn't wear me off that much) and feel a lot fresher. so yup, I'm stronger.

the question I have is not what I should do (I'm not looking for advice, thanks Jugi! :wink: ) but is it possible - I dunno, "training wise", that less is actually more?
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by Kurets

I think this is really a question of what you are trying to accomplish. Doing lots of 3 - 3,5 hr rides is probably less beneficial than doing 1,5 - 2 hr rides with more intensity. My perception is that this is simply because the long rides are too short. If the 3hr rides are replaced with 5 - 6 hr rides in blocks of volume (20 hr weeks) mixed with lower volume weeks with more intensity, I am certain that the long rides are beneficial.

For the recreational cyclist who doesn't need endurance over 150 km races, then the really long rides are probably a waste. Especially if they prevent proper intensity in the shorter sessions.

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by Mr.Gib

If you don't need to be great at distances much over 100 km, than I like the high intensity plan.

I have the opposite problem - I want to be merely quick but indestructible over 200 km. If I go out with the local hammerfest and do a bunch of max efforts over say 80 - 100 km, it will be at least a week, maybe more until I can do a strong 150 - 200 km. Hard efforts kill my medium intensity volume. I have to create blocks of several weeks and keep the two separate. There is no doubt however that the high intensity stuff really helps the power at the end of an super long ride, provided one has the base miles training covered.
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by sqber

Entire book on how to train less (time) but gain more (power): The Time-Crunched Cyclist. The book is basically about how to train 6 (max 8) hours a week and get fitter and the concept is that every pedal stroke counts and if you don't have the time, then you should be intense during the time you have.

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by nathanong87

tymon_tm wrote:
Sat Sep 29, 2018 12:32 pm
Nefarious86 wrote:
Fri Sep 28, 2018 3:40 pm
Part of it will be intensity part of it will be freshness but the majority of it will be the accumulation of time in the legs.
I don't understand, what you're saying is I'm fresher (obviously I am), I "train" better (because I ride at higher intesity) but the last part I'm confused about

i THINK what he is saying is that no single season is truly in a vacuum.... meaning this season you’ve had alll the seasons before this season accumulated together, and even last season doing “long boring miles” basically has helped u for this season.
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by ducman

We all do a bit of wihfull thinking in thimking less is more. Show me an elite rider who does less/more. Or who supports the theory for amateurs.

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by HenHarrier

We had an interesting tv programme on this here in the UK a while back presented by a reputable medical doctor who is very interested in food, health, and exercise. He put some folk in an office/business environment through HIIT on an exercise bike. All showed dramatic improvements - but none were regular exercisers, most were pretty unfit to start with, and iirc few went on to keep the exercise regime up. Bit like what you'd expect for someone taking up cycling - almost instant gains, then quickly plateauing. I'm a middle aged male way past my peak (if I ever had one) but because I'm seriously interested in trying to keep fit I do find HIIT is useful as one of a mix of exercises - but on its own I doubt I'd survive a Sunday club ride. As suggested earlier, surely for endurance riding you need to put the miles in and adapt for long stints in the saddle?

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by robertbb

Training is an art as much as it is a science. What works well to prepare for one end goal (e.g. decent power over long distance, explosive power over short distance) won't work as well for another. The underlying physiological processes that are stimulated through any kind of training are, to some degree, all connected BUT "programs" like the Time Crunched Cyclist attempt to ride on this connection a little too much in my opinion.

In terms of a solid aerobic base, there really is no substitute for Long Slow Distance training around zone 2 of your Critical Power (which is kindasortabutnotreally similar to your FTP, and there is a lot of very heated opinion on the virtues and scientific basis of FTP on the wattage group). You may see some gains in that kind of fitness by doing HIIT, but these gains simply won't be to the same extent - or be as sustainable - as true aerobic fitness developed through true aerobic training.

As always in these types of discussions, it's important to start with the exercise impulse response model, first proposed by Banister in 1975. As long as you're asking the body to do what it hasn't done before (or hasn't fully adapted to) then it will continue to adapt and become more efficient. That holds true all kinds of riding. Be aware that there are many "levers" one can flip to stimulate the body - and it's the relationships between them and the affect they have on each other that is what is fun to explore.

As always, do what works for you based on the time you have and your goals.

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by Vermu

Now I’m far from expert but read intresting article about Finnish xc skier. Now it isn’t the same sport but cycling and skiing have similarities.
He found his peak when he increased base training (won olympic gold same year). What applies to some do not apply to everyone. Doing HIIT and intervals will increase your speed but one should not forget the base. Have to bear in mind that the mileage OP is doing will increase the base by a lot. Heck when I did my most miles I did 8k - nowhere near OP. Just my few cents

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by dim

what I've found that works for me: (you have to do them all)

You have to do the long miles to build your core strength and stamina .... because it's far, it does not mean you have to ride slow .... check the route, check the wind, and plan for a fast ride (i.e give it your best)....

Once you build your stamina, your recovery time is much quicker (especially after a steep long climb) ... do a long ride on a weekend (or even better, do 2 long rides on both saturday and sunday

mix that with shorter routes during the week (I have a 40km route with 300m of climbing in the 1st 20km, then fast downhill).... takes approx 1hr and 25 minutes, and I can do this route 3 times a week) ....

mix the long rides with the shorter faster rides, plus include lots of HIIT (get some Strava PB's on segements) especially if you commute by bike

do this, and you will be pretty fit in quick time
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by bm0p700f

Dim this is what I do. Also time crunched training misses the point of cycling to me. No time to savour nature, clear your mind or get to work. With intense training you don't relax properly. My mind certainly does clearwhen training.

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