How can I work training into my commute?

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spartacus
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Joined: Mon Apr 04, 2011 6:53 pm

by spartacus

I’m trying to come up with a plan here to make better use of my time. I typically ride to work 4 days a week with a rest day but ideally I’d ride 5 days a week. Each way is 13.5 miles with minimal elevation (27mi a day total). On the weekends I like to go for at least one longer ride if not a ride on Saturday and Sunday.

I’m trying to figure out how to structure my week to get in shape more quickly. So far the biggest challenge has been resting enough. I’m thinking I need a rest day and one or two commute days taking it as easily as possible. I do have a trainer but time-wise if I exercise while riding to work I’m doing two things at once, and I’m saving time versus driving then trainering.

At the moment my “training” has basically consisted of sprinting on segments (intervals-ish) or riding at or slightly above FTP for as long as possible and time trailing the commute. Then on weekends I’m usually doing climbing rides in a semi-fatigued state.

My #1 training goal is to drop down to my old “racing weight” which was about 150lbs 5 years ago. Currently I’m 177lbs and I feel very slow on climbs, also I don’t seem to be able to sprint anything like I used to.

I’m only hesitant to back off the miles because I’m trying to make riding that much a habit, and when I was in good shape I rode 6-7 times a week usually over 30mi daily. Resting too many days makes it hard to get into the routine. Also, I’m thinking that I will burn more calories the more I ride so the extra fatigue may be worth it in the short term, from a weight loss perspective.

I’d appreciate any suggestions.

by Weenie


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onemanpeloton
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by onemanpeloton

Personally I'd say 4 days commuting is sensible if you're focusing them on training. If you want to ride 5 days then a couple of them will need to be pretty easy rides. I'd also agree that in the short term, extra fatigue and subsequent weight loss is ok, however if you overtrain or injure yourself and cant ride then overall you'll be doing less riding anyway. So I'd say stick to a long term plan that is sustainable.

Also, if you want to truly focus on hard training AND weight loss then they're probably better dealt with seperately. You will probably get some weight loss as a result of the extra work anyway, but you don't want to be too strict in your calorie restriction when you're putting in the big training efforts.

So in summary I would:

1) drop weight/increase easy miles
2) maintain weight and focus on harder efforts
3) dont do intervals/ftp efforts on every commute
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bm0p700f
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by bm0p700f

Ride a BSO quick. That requires effort.

boots2000
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by boots2000

What is the layout of your commute? Throught traffic, stoplights and stop signs? Or uninterrupted riding?
Is there a hill or climb near the commute where you could do efforts?
Do you have a trainer at home? Can you commute home and immediately get on the trainer?
Also- Do you have the option to ride one direction but not both? I.E. catcha ride or public transportation?

It is actually easy to ride to much and become a one-speed rider through commuting.
It also easy to make it worthwhile training.
You just need to figure out how to get your best and needed workouts in.

spartacus
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Joined: Mon Apr 04, 2011 6:53 pm

by spartacus

boots2000 wrote:
Fri Mar 08, 2019 5:58 pm
What is the layout of your commute? Throught traffic, stoplights and stop signs? Or uninterrupted riding?
Is there a hill or climb near the commute where you could do efforts?
Do you have a trainer at home? Can you commute home and immediately get on the trainer?
Also- Do you have the option to ride one direction but not both? I.E. catcha ride or public transportation?

It is actually easy to ride to much and become a one-speed rider through commuting.
It also easy to make it worthwhile training.
You just need to figure out how to get your best and needed workouts in.
I have a good amount of stop and go but there are a few uninterrupted sections. There are hills on/near where I’m riding, but there’s only about 500 ft of elevation gain each way over the course of 13.5 miles so it’s not a lot. I do have a trainer that I can get on if I choose to drive, but I’d prefer to ride since that’s time I can ride instead of sitting in traffic. Riding one direction but not both isn’t a viable option.

I’m definitely getting stronger just from the miles, but I’m trying to figure out a way to optimize my situation.

At this point I’m leaning towards high volume of riding just to burn calories versus riding less often at higher intensity and taking long breaks to recover.

Also I’m doing the long ride here at eroica soon so anything I can do before then to get fitter or lighter would be helpful.

boots2000
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by boots2000

If the uninterrupted sections are not at least 15 minutes long- You should rule out tempo.
Sounds like not much climbing close by.

I suggest this-
Don't commute every day- or at least not both ways every day.
On your training days- Commute both ways and have a specific trainer session planned for when you get home. Make a quikc transition from commute to trainer and get on it.

spartacus
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by spartacus

boots2000 wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 6:32 pm
If the uninterrupted sections are not at least 15 minutes long- You should rule out tempo.
Sounds like not much climbing close by.

I suggest this-
Don't commute every day- or at least not both ways every day.
On your training days- Commute both ways and have a specific trainer session planned for when you get home. Make a quikc transition from commute to trainer and get on it.
That's an interesting idea, I've never thought of that but it might be a good idea.

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Ivan
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by Ivan

Fist of all, let me start by saying I've been commuting to work for the last 15 year and I've been racing for almost the same years. My first advice: buy yourself a bike that requires as little maintenance as possible. 8hr woring per day, 8hr sleep, 2hr commute, does not leave much room for other things. Second advice, do some research on different routes to work, shorter/easier for calm days, longer with more climbing and/or uninterrupted parts for tempo/interval. I have 6 or 7 different routes to go to work, ranging from 18 to 46 km (one way).
On your training days- Commute both ways and have a specific trainer session planned for when you get home. Make a quikc transition from commute to trainer and get on it.
Been there, tried that. This is actually very hard from a mental point. You get home, let say 17h30-18h, children yelling at you (daddy daddy, look what I made at school), wife saying: when do you have time for dinner honey ? Oh and by the way, the washing machine failed today, can you have a look at it later today ? In this kind of atmosphere you have to prepare for training. What worked best for me was just increasing my distance to work, either in the morning (I sometimes leave at 6u15) or in the evening.

This is just my opinion, everyone is different.
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spartacus
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by spartacus

Ivan wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 12:50 pm
Fist of all, let me start by saying I've been commuting to work for the last 15 year and I've been racing for almost the same years. My first advice: buy yourself a bike that requires as little maintenance as possible. 8hr woring per day, 8hr sleep, 2hr commute, does not leave much room for other things. Second advice, do some research on different routes to work, shorter/easier for calm days, longer with more climbing and/or uninterrupted parts for tempo/interval. I have 6 or 7 different routes to go to work, ranging from 18 to 46 km (one way).
On your training days- Commute both ways and have a specific trainer session planned for when you get home. Make a quikc transition from commute to trainer and get on it.
Been there, tried that. This is actually very hard from a mental point. You get home, let say 17h30-18h, children yelling at you (daddy daddy, look what I made at school), wife saying: when do you have time for dinner honey ? Oh and by the way, the washing machine failed today, can you have a look at it later today ? In this kind of atmosphere you have to prepare for training. What worked best for me was just increasing my distance to work, either in the morning (I sometimes leave at 6u15) or in the evening.

This is just my opinion, everyone is different.
I think that’s a better idea than trying to trainer at home, I can definitely extend my route and add in quite a bit of climbing so maybe I can try that and try to hit 40-50 miles for the day then rest the next day.

I already have a fixed gear road bike with 48x15 gearing and the same fit as my geared road bikes, and I ride that most of the time, but I have several geared road bikes too. Putting a bunch of miles on the fixed gear generally seems to make me faster I think, but it doesn’t seem to be a popular training tool and I don’t know any other serious cyclists that have one, let alone one they ride regularly.

bilwit
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by bilwit

It's a tricky balance that only you can really find out what works for you. A typical commute unavoidably has way too much variation in terms of power distribution so its best to leverage these rides as easy/recovery days, then hit your intervals on the trainer on the other days. This would mean only commuting once or twice a week.

(in a typical TrainerRoad "Mid Volume" format) it could look something like:

Monday - rest
Tuesday - VO2Max
Wednesday - commute (taking it easy)
Thursday - Threshold Over/Unders
Friday - rest
Saturday - VO2max (or group ride)
Sunday - Tempo

Personally, I was in the form of my life when I eliminated the commute and replaced it with indoor training altogether but it was so mentally draining and unsustainable for me. When I replaced it with only 1hr sweet spot work, I was gaining weight and losing motivation until I was back commuting 5x a week again (36km w/ 500m climbing a day total)..

AJS914
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by AJS914

The other way to go is to do a polarized model and use most of the commute as your Z1 time. Once or two days a week on the way home do your intervals.

petromyzon
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by petromyzon

You need to rest at some point to keep progressing. If you can add volume to some of your commute days (either with the trainer before or after the journey or by adding a loop of quality riding on to your journey) then I'd commute 3-4 days a week but make one or two of those harder days.
Alternatively you could organise it in to hard and easy weeks where you commute 5 days (ride all 7 days) or commute 3 days (ride 5 days with 2 complete rest days).

It sounds like you have access to better quality riding at the weekend so I'd definitely try and ride Sat and Sun if family allows. Just be wary of doing so much then that you are buggered for the week.

mattr
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by mattr

If you've got 10 sessions a week of commuting, that gives you 3 or 4 that you can extend into proper training rides and the rest you can use for active recovery.
Might be good to spend some time on google maps looking for nice roads and routes you can use.
I did exactly this for a long period and had my best form ever. Even though i only rode 4 days a week, 28km each way, extended one or other to 60+ km 3 times a week.
Might also be worth looking for some "more chilled" routes to work, remove the temptation to hammer your recovery rides.

Also meant that weekends were mostly free to do other things, like being a human, shopping, drinking. Obviously, only if i wasn't racing.

by Weenie


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