commuter-training-track-world

  • This topic has 38 replies, 25 voices, and was last updated 1 year ago by  DezB.
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  • commuter-training-track-world
  • ferrals
    Member

    There’s a zwift thread, there’s a trainerroad thread, but there isn’t a thread about general training in the real world. Given many of us commute by bike and many of us are time-poor (I’m guessing or why would we be on a forum 😉 ) I’m imagining a fair few of us work our training (whatever that means) into the ride to work.

    Thought it would be good to have a thread to keep up the motivation, discuss training strategies, discuss eating cheese sandwhiches drenched in water from overflowing gutters etc.

    I’ve been trying to use trainerroad but for many reasons turbo time isnt working for me at the moment, so its commute training time. At the moment I just want to build up fitness at a base level after a few months of minimal riding and tinking ahead to the cx season already. Standard commute is ~35 mins so I’m just planning on extending it on the way in twice a week. Managed 1hr30 today which is a good start, just steady riding on cyclepath.

    Can’t decide whter on the homeward leg I should take it really easy asa ‘recovery’ ride or smash it for extra pain.

    Anyone esle a dedicated commuter trainer? Other people training in the real world feel free to chip in on trianing plans/progress/strategy too 😉

    the teaboy
    Member

    Nice idea!

    i’m starting a new job soon which will give me more of an opportunity to ride. I used to do a fair bit of running and followed the principle of 2 hard workouts a week and as many easy miles as I could reasonably fit in.

    Seems like a sensible approach that should transfer across from running to riding I think?

    Premier Icon scaled
    Subscriber

    My commute isn’t much use for training tbh, too much traffic on the canal and i’m not one for riding like a dick these days, i’ve got a bell and everyfink.

    I tend to use it more as gentle recover rides then give myself a proper beasting on the turbo for training, it’s much safer and less likely to get me an ASBO 😀

    ferrals
    Member

    @the teaboy – my standard approach is decent workouts tues and thurs, which from now on is going to be worked into the commute, one decent ride on the w/e and then whatever else i can fit in.

    2tyred
    Member

    I am. I’d struggle without the commute, this last week has seen me do next to nothing as a result.

    Most of the year I have a good 8 miles of quiet canal path each way (only starts getting busier in summer and I’ve more riding options then anyway) and usually do some kind of interval session along it, either under/over minutes or split it into sections of the path and do under/over that way, or do some kind of pyramid. Only based on feel as I ride a fixed commuter and don’t have a power meter for it, but it works for me.

    Means I don’t really have to do a base phase – main focus is XCO and CX anyway, so less concerned with racking up base miles for 80 mile road races.

    I used to get annoyed with myself in the evenings – I’d ride home at average pace, get in, feel hungry, eat dinner then not feel like doing any training after that. Now I concentrate on doing the work on the ride home, so don’t feel the need to work an evening session in. I’m on the bike for the ride home anyway, might as well use the time usefully.

    Premier Icon beej
    Subscriber

    I’m in the office 2 days a week on average, and the office is 35km away – unfortunately the far side of Reading to me. I’ve probably managed 3-4 bike commutes a month over winter but hopefully that’ll start to increase.

    First 45 mins is back roads, then 15 mins before hitting serious traffic, then 15-20 mins of stop start sprint intervals.

    I’ve got a mate who live close and rides in 2-3 times a week so generally ride together if we can.

    Use a De Rosa Milanino Training, full guards, 28mm tubeless, sealed cables (that haven’t been touched for over 2 years), Exposure Strada + Blaze, little dinging bell.

    Tiny rucksack, MS Surface Pro (thin and light), t-shirt and undies in the bag. Jeans and shoes kept at work, and we’ve got a gym for showers towels.

    Come better weather we might start extending the ride home – there are a couple of decent climbs that can be added (Streatly and Whitchurch Hills for locals).

    I don’t commute anymore but when I did I worked to the principle of smashing it at every opportunity unless I was feeling a bit knackered then I’d ease off and pootle.

    Sounds simplistic but it stops you getting into a rut of doing certain things on certain days and teaches you to listen to your body which I found invaluable.

    Normally, I don’t give myself enough time to do anything but ride into work directly at a brisk pace, depending upon luck at the numerous traffic lights and potentially a railway crossing.

    As a general rule, I normally extend my thrice weekly work commute home by doing 1000-2000 feet of hill reps on the Wazoo, which entails climbing Witts Hill by various routes at least five times before heading for home via Bitterne 13.5%.

    How hard I ride the hill reps depends upon health, how tired I feel after work, weather etc.

    steve_b77
    Member

    My situation is a bit tricky, I work on various projects throughout the North West and North Wales so I have to plan my week carefully to get any commuting in.

    At the moment I have a nice 53km each way ride to North Wales that is either back lanes, green way or a cycle path along a main road, easily do able in under 2 hours, so it doesn’t result in a stupidly early start. The recent bad weather has stopped it, but I’ll be back on it this week.

    Bike wise I use my CX race bike, fitted with 40mm tubeless gravel tyres and just leave clothes / laptop at work.

    The project I’m looking forwards to kicking off soon will be 2-3 years based in Macclesfield (30km) and easily do-able 3 or 4 times a week.

    Premier Icon prawny
    Subscriber

    I try, my commute gives me plenty of time for exercise, so I don’t need to bother outside of that really.

    My commute is fairly long at 20 miles each way and relatively free flowing. I’m trying to get my general fitness up after a few weeks off the bike when my frame broke then another few weeks with a sinus infection so I’m just trying to make it here and back at the moment. In the summer I normal take it fairly easy in the mornings then try and thrash it back a couple of days a week at TT pace, the others zone 3-4.

    I tried doing the Chris Carmichael training plans that are on strava, but the intervals are too long and too intense for the real world.

    TiRed
    Member

    I try and ensure one rest day from commuting. Have one extended long commute in (90 minutes), and tend to take it easy on the way home. I work at one site a bit further away on a Friday to increase the miles. Commuting is about 100 miles/week, and it’s hard to go hard due to traffic.

    I mix up bike choice too, fixed road, road bike with pannier and the trike for resting. Tuesday club runs follow after commuting.

    Premier Icon sirromj
    Subscriber

    I commute 5 days a week, a minimum of 40 miles. In 2016 I intended to enter at least one XC race every month. Competed in 10 races (mostly Gorrick) in the first 8 months and then missed a couple I paid to enter and that was the end of it, but year ended with birth of first son.

    Late Summer last year I had a persistent cough which at it’s worst left me unable to breath momentarily. As recently as February if I did a couple of days of HR Z4 or more I’d be coughing as soon as I got in bed. Over the Christmas break twisted my knee getting up from sofa, and am only just comining out the other side of that now. Also trying to find a balance between riding and bodyweight exercises. Wrists frequently feeling strained. Rigid forks and 26″x2.2″ tyres off road don’t help.

    Finally, went 1x on the rigid commute mtb (1×9) due to budget/winter so lost a lot of gear range, Z1 is no longer an option on commute in morning, and only if I’m careful on commute home. But without purposely doing Z4, I can just aim for Z2 all week with a few bursts of higher intensity here and there.

    Feel like I’m slowly ramping it up now however, but still feel the need to be careful due to aforemention problems and interupted sleep. Was never a serious racer, did it for the competitive element and fun. Was pleased to finish slightly above midpack at times, slightly below at others.

    shermer75
    Member

    Traffic lights = interval training innit!

    I think the fittest I’ve ever been was when I had a 12 mile each way commute. I never felt like cycling at weekend tho! Which I didn’t mind though because I got really into the commute. Loved it! 🙂

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    I usually extend my ride home a few times a week, I don’t think I’d call it training, but doing the same distance all the time your fitness does tend to stagnate (I’m sure that’s an official training term 🙂 )  Thing is, it’s winter, its been bloody cold, it’s been damn windy, so I just want to get home! Come the warmer, drier days I’ll get some good long rides home in, now I’ve found lots of quite country lanes to get out on, cos that’s the other downside – if your commute is on busy roads, you’re training at the busiest time, traffic can be dangerous* at that time of day.

    *more likely, just more annoying

    Premier Icon kayak23
    Subscriber

    I live less than 100 metres from work 🙁

    ferrals
    Member

    Means I don’t really have to do a base phase – main focus is XCO and CX anyway, so less concerned with racking up base miles for 80 mile road races.

    Same focus as me, at the moment I can’t face brutal intervals with rattley mud guards and wrapped up from head to toe! Also I find I fade at the 45min mark for cx so I think a bit more base will do me good.

    Come the warmer, drier days I’ll get some good long rides home in, now I’ve found lots of quite country lanes to get out on, cos that’s the other downside – if your commute is on busy roads, you’re training at the busiest time, traffic can be dangerous* at that time of day.

    I can’t work out which is worse, busy main roads or quiet singeltrack lanes where everysooften you’ll meet someone going hell for leather towards ou with no room to go anywhere! My faavourite is repeating a loop on wide roads round a posh residential area. Probably daft, especially as I could be riding through an AONB but it feels safe

    Premier Icon zilog6128
    Subscriber

    Standard commute is ~35 mins so I’m just planning on extending it on the way in twice a week. Managed 1hr30 today which is a good start, just steady riding on cyclepath.

    That’s not really training though is it? You’d be better off using the time for a proper 45-60 min turbo session. Sorry to be negative, but having tried it, I don’t think “commute training” is viable, unless you only have very basic fitness goals!

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    I can’t work out which is worse, busy main roads or quiet singeltrack lanes where everysooften you’ll meet someone going hell for leather towards ou with no room to go anywhere!

    Well, going by my ~30 years of commuting experience, I’ll definitely take the latter. Not had any close calls (that I can remember) out in the country lanes, lost count of those on the busy main roads. Worst thing on the back roads was a van blocking the road, I tried to go past it and put my foot in a puddle.

    ferrals
    Member

    @zilog128 -probalby oversimplified it, using an heart rate monitor, yesterday tried to keep it steady at 160-168bpm which for me is just sub threshold. Thursday I’ll do a set of 5 6min hill repeats on the way in. Plan is for the next little while to do steady state rides on tuesdays of increasing duration, easy commutes on weds and lengthy hill repeats on thursdays. I’ve not really ridden with any intensity since november due to lingering illness and oter time commitments so just building up volume is good for now. I don’t need to come into any form till the end of september after all, while I’ll be racing xc I plan to us them as base training, going straignt from practise laps to warming up, race for 1.5hrs, another half hour steady after.

    While I agree turbo is more time efficient I don’t have the focus for turboing at the moment as home life is hectic so as soon as I’m on the turbo I’m thinking of jobs I need to do and inevitably bail to go and sort the washing or something. At least when I’m out of the house and on the way to work all I’v got to do is cycle

    MTB-Idle
    Member

    Good idea, I’ve been cycle-commuting since 2003 and it’s a great way to train. There really is no substitute for just getting those miles in.

    I have a turbo trainer but haven’t used it for ooh mebbe three or is it four years, it just bores me to tears.Similar with general gym use.

    How else would i get the chance to spend three hours a day on my bike without taking a single second out my home life; i need to commute into London for work so would just be sitting on the train/tube during that time anyway.

    How do I use it to actually ‘train’ well, a combination of putting in some extra miles some days or just doing a recovery ride other days or as someone up there points out traffic light interval training is also good. I have over 120 sets of lights on my route so this is an oft-used tactic.

    Other ways of encouragement could also be to join the ‘No Zwift’ Group on Strava! EDIT: or someone set up a new STW commuter group and people can join if that floats your boat.

    I’ve thought a couple of times about whether I should share this or not but here goes, edited highlights of my commute from Surrey into Canary Wharf and back.

    Pretty Pimpin’

    Enjoy

    thecaptain
    Member

    I used to commute-train, mostly just steady riding about 30-40 mins each way (varied with job and house) and a couple of proper sessions on extended routes.

    Watch out for not concentrating sufficiently on traffic during the sessions though, had a couple of minor offs that were all their fault really but still didn’t happen when I was riding more defensively.

    Premier Icon jaminb
    Subscriber

    I think I might might be doing this all wrong – riding a heavily laden heavy bike 34 miles 3 times a week at a steady pace. I use cycle lanes where available and stop at red lights. I occasionally try and keep up with overtaking cyclists. No wonder my mountain bike performances are less than mediocre

    Premier Icon schmiken
    Subscriber

    As I live 14 miles from work the commute is perfect for training. Really focussed intervals are done on the turbo, but steady state sweetspot or longer intervals can be amalgamated relatively easily.

    As a qualified coach I sort my own training plan and try to set sessions that can be done on the way in and then use the ride back for either recovery (super hard session on way in) or an extra session on the way back.

    Big tip is to buy Ortlieb panniers and use mudguards. With the addition of a dynamo I have a no excuses bike for training on!

    whitestone
    Member

    My commute is 21km each way with home being distinctly uphill. Going into work is always steady as we don’t have shower facilities so it’s just a quick wipe down with baby-wipes. Heading home I just vary it as even the direct route is quite varied – some canal tow path, quick succession of traffic lights/ped crossings, long fairly flat road sections, long uphill (at the end). Depending how I feel I might take it easy on some bits and blast it on others then swap round the following day.

    Alternatively I can take much hillier routes home.

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
    Subscriber

    I’m 25 miles from work, it’s been a while since I commuted though! Bought a new (to me) bike at the end of last year with the intention of commuting but the number of days I’ve actually driven directly to work and back in my own car  (i.e. bikeable) as opposed to needing the van or going somewhere else in the day, have actually been very low.

    Hoping to get more commutes in once the summer arrives (which usually coincides with quieter time at work). Although if I can get fit and into a routine I’ve already bought a dynamo for next winter.

    New baby at home so the commute is playing a *major* training/general riding role for me!

    Currently building up to a 325 mile/21hr riding challenge in June, so for the most part I just use the weekly commute to add in hours in the saddle, with a longer ride at the weekend. I can make the commute anything from 35 minutes to 2 hours thanks to a huge selection of little hilly farm roads, and the wee man’s 5:30am noisy wake-up!

    Give it another month or two and I’ll get back to working in 4×4 intervals, I read about them somewhere (4 minutes at 80% effort followed by 3-4 minute recovery, repeat) and they fit really well within the commute, I found any shorter or more intense intervals just didn’t really work with my route and the general pedestrian/cyclist traffic around me (I’m mostly on Sustrans paths so don’t need to worry about much car traffic).

    Also have Arthur’s Seat local to me (Edinburgh) so will alternate using the commute for training, or just pootling in and trying to smash some climbs/loops round there, it’s a useful 3 minute climb followed by a 3 minute flat with headwind.

    I tried training for CX on the commute but it became a faff really quickly, and dragging half a field’s worth of mud and grass into the office drew some comments pretty quickly!

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    jaminb

    I think I might might be doing this all wrong – riding a heavily laden heavy bike 34 miles 3 times a week at a steady pace. I use cycle lanes where available and stop at red lights. I occasionally try and keep up with overtaking cyclists. No wonder my mountain bike performances are less than mediocre

    Well, I’m buggered if I can see any relevance in any of this!

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    I am WFH currently without an engagement but my office is in Bristol so I’m thinking of popping over a few times a week. It’s 42 miles, my PR from a good few years ago is 2h04….

    Does anyone else rule out going for a non-essential ride at certain times of the day?

    I certainly do, so it’s probably a good job in that respect that I have to be at work before 0700 and I typically leave before 1400… Otherwise I probably wouldn’t do much commute extension training!

    There’s some riders I follow on Strava that work more typical office hours and so they do their extended commutes around Witts Hill (where I do my commute hill reps) between ~1730 and 1900.

    But even though it’s still not dark, I wouldn’t dream of going out for a training or otherwise ride around now, because psychologically I’m thinking I don’t want to deal with rush hour traffic on the main roads (West End Road) and there’s the increased risk of extra traffic on those residential hills. I just don’t see the point of riding around suburban (but getting increasingly urban) Southampton between ~0730-1000 and ~1600-1800. Oh, the other silly time I get wary of cycling up Copsewood Road is at school kick out time, around 1500! 😆

    After doing a fairly hard session last night on the turbo, for the first time in several weeks, I had wrote today off as being a rest day, or no more than a gentle recovery ride day. But when I realised we needed a few bits from the shops at ~1700, I started beating myself up for simply popping to the shops and back, instead of spending 30-60mins outdoors.

    Premier Icon sirromj
    Subscriber

    Anyone who commutes on MTB try to get in some skills training on the commutes? Given my commute is short there’s the time to ‘mess about’. By skills I also mean seeking out technical challenges. In my case, it’s more of an approximation of technical challenges given there’s no actual mountain biking in my area, no real trails. Plenty of rutted farm tracks which become more challenging if you zig-zag across them. Lots of steps and drops along the coast. Some good for riding down, a few for riding up. Once the weather is a bit drier and the mudguards have come off I’ll refit the dropper post to my commute and resume some bunny hop practice too, as well as feel a bit less restricted by the saddle on steps & drops. Fast rolling tires for getting to work on time also make muddy farm tracks slightly more interesting. Other adaptions include standing up pedalling all the way home (or until I give in). Still not got manuals down though.

    I find it interesting watching the HRM where there’s a lot of effort involved in riding that isn’t put into pedalling.  If I try to keep to Z2 while just pedalling along, it doesn’t take much of the other sort of riding to elevate the HR substantially out of Z2. Is there any sort of training literature that talks much about this?

    I remember my last effort at 6hr solo Big Dog in 2016, I was trying to pace myself but as soon as any of the technical climb sections came up I put as much effort as possible into cleaning them which got me into HR Z5 several times each lap and I retired after four hours feeling very much worse for wear.

    Haven’t been able to commute by bike for a number of years – but starting a new job on Monday, it as near perfect as i can imagine for cycling in.

    Test rode the road route yesterday, 11 miles and 400m climbing through some really nice countryside, doubt i was passed by more than 2 or 3 cars on the whole route.

    Have a few route variations, road and off-road, anything from short gravel sections to miles and miles of fireroad and singletrack.  aannnd, the business owner has installed showers just for anyone who wants to cycle in (not that anyone does – yet)

    My dilemma now is what bike?  can’t decide between a gravel type road bike, rigid 29er or lightweight 29er hardtail – but that’s another thread.

    ferrals
    Member

    @sirromj, I used to commute by mtb and detour wherever possible. With a longer commute I’d stopped but am now wondering about once a week using the mtb to allow some off-road fun when it gets lighter. Worry about wearign out expensive tyres though!

    ferrals
    Member

    Nice hill rep session on the way in, though i scared myself more than a little taking a way I’d normally go on a mtb off the hill on 30mm g-one-speeds at 60psi.

    Best of all I was too hot! is spring finally sprung??

    Premier Icon snownrock
    Subscriber

    Good thread. Like most here I do most of my miles commuting, two young children and a wife with an irregular and anti-social work pattern means I only get the chance for a ‘proper’ ride once or twice a month.

    I love my commute for keeping fit, generally 3/4 days a week all year round. I can vary easily between 6 miles/20 mins or 16 miles/1 hour, with between 100-400m of climbing depending on time and how i’m feeling. I can use a quiet canal track for threshold or target specific climbs and sprints. In the summer I can quite easily put bigger tyres on or use the MTB and go into the woods to mix things up a bit.

    I don’t really have a plan as such, just tend to go harder/hillier when I have time or when I feel good and go steadier/shorter if I feel like I need a rest. It seems to work well, it gives me the base fitness so that I can comfortably go do a long hard ride whenever I have the chance.

    One of my biggest worries is if I ever have to change to a job that wouldn’t give me the opportunity to commute by bike, I would have to resort to the hateful turbo (I know this has its place but i’d rather avoid it.

    steve_b77
    Member

    Got back on it today after a break due to various incarnations of The Beast and having to go to other projects last week.

    Bagged myself a Strava 2nd overall on an off-road segment too, sweet :D, goes nicely with the two gravelesque KOM’s I got the week before the Beast, most I’ve collected in ages!!

    TiRed
    Member

    Scmiken is really me 😉 self-coached coach. Upgraded the non-fixed commuter/winter bike to Dura Ace 7800 throughout and added an Assioma Uno power meter. It’s 25 km each way and flat, possible to put in some decent intervals, particularly on the route home (when I can be bothered). Mudguards and decent Exposure lights mean it is also a no excuses bike. Plus the Ortlieb briefcase and Tubus micro rack on the back. Anyway, I did an FTP test on Sunday, and 90 minutes of Zwift last night, so it’s really just a cruise in at 2.5 W/kg today prior to 100 km this evening with the club plus recovery. The Assioma is excellent. Swapping a single pedal will be a breeze.

    Those cranks in more detail 😀

    Still like my fixed wheel though and ride it about 50% of the time, but the rack was never such a good fit (had to tilt the pannier backwards about 30 degrees to clear my feet) due to shorter chainstays, so rucksack on those days. The trike comes out once a week for recovery and grin factor.

    Premier Icon jaminb
    Subscriber

    I watched this very informative BC video and it reminded me of this thread

    Premier Icon beej
    Subscriber

    There are a series on GCN too:

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    Timely bump that… month or so ago Edinburgh Cycles posted a thing about HIIT on their Facebook. I thought, hmm, I could fit that into my commute. So have.. and, despite a few issues it does cause with stupid drivers, it actually works. I think I’ve done the HIIT on rides home 5 or 6 times, but am really noticing the difference in my fitness.
    If, and this is a bit if, I can be arsed to keep it up, I should be “beach ready” by the summer 😀

    Can’t find the post, so it goes like this

    10 min warm up

    45 secs full on hard pedalling (the HI bit 🙂 )

    45 secs resting pedalling

    repeat X6

    Rest pedalling 2 mins

    Repeat 6 high intensity reps.

    Cruise home.

    Gets you home quicker! I have to check for cars when I start the high intensity bit, because many really don’t cope well with a change in speed. Luckily most of the roads I use are pretty empty.

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