3 or 4 times a week enough to build fitness?

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by fuzzymum1, 11 Mar 2008.

  1. fuzzymum1

    fuzzymum1 New Member

    This is my first post here. A bit of background: I used to cycle occasionally a few years ago but never really enjoyed it. I was trying to lose weight/get fit and forced myself to ride really and tried to convince myself I liked it. I managed the losing weight part (I dropped over 5 stone) through healthier eating but didn't ride often enough to affect my fitness. I had a scary experience on the bike which meant it didn't come out of the shed for ages, then I got pregnant and here I am more than a year after he was born back to where I started weight-wise and being threatened with BP meds too. I'm a lot of stones over weight and very unfit. Recently DH bought me a secondhand trice which I'm loving. Right now I can manage 4 or 5 miles - this morning I got up at 6 (something I would never have done before) and I did 4 miles in 20 minutes but my legs felt like jelly when I was done. I intend to do this 3 or 4 times a week to begin with. Is this enough to affect my fitness? Obviously I'd like to be able to do longer rides eventually but this is about my limit right now.
    Thanks for any input you can give me, or suggestions of things to try.
  2. BentMikey

    BentMikey Rider of Seolferwulf

    South London
    That sounds very good, well done! What model of Trice do you have? I ride a Hurricane, btw.

    Perhaps my only comment would be to force yourself to cycle slowly. 4 miles in 20 minutes is tanking along given that you've not done much mileage recently. Go slow, at a pace at which you could carry on a conversation comfortably. You'll get fitter and faster as a result, and you'll enjoy yourself much more without all the jelly legs and associated pain.

    You can then slowly increase the distance, but make sure you don't do more than 5% extra per week. Listen to your body, and don't feel guilty about taking an occasional extra rest day if you're feeling tired/irritable/grumpy. Once you're getting into the swing of things in a month or so, I would consider upping the rides to 4-5 per week if possible.

    Oh, I guess you probably know all this already but I would strongly recommend getting CycleCraft by John Franklin. Plus don't ride in the door zone, and watch out for big vehicles.
  3. Crackle

    Crackle Pah

    Absolutely. 3 or 4 times is perfect. If you do over 20 minutes each time that's good enough to work the Cardio-Vascular system. As you get fitter you'll go further and if you can ride for an hour then you'll really start to get rid of those calories. Speed isn't important, slow and steady is just fine, you'll get faster naturally - no doubt someone a bit more knowledgable can fill you in on that.

    A Trice as well. That's a cracking way to start. Have fun and start steady, put a few little aims in along the way. Don't worry if you don't hit them first time but it's nice to have an aim and sometimes a riding plan helps as well, depends on yourself really as to what works as a motivator.
  4. OP

    fuzzymum1 New Member

    So slower is better for now? OK, Maybe I should go out with our 10 year old again. I went out with him over the weekend and 5 miles took us nearly an hour!

    The trice is a pretty old one, not entirely sure of which model, we think it's a mid 90's one, we got it on ebay for a bargain price the weekend before last: http://shmyl.com/mtppson
    DH also rides a trice - it's slightly older than mine but he's about to order a brand new Q from Kevin at D-tek. He had a fun day there test riding on saturday.
  5. Andy in Sig

    Andy in Sig Vice President in Exile

    I would suggest go for 3 x 40 min trips during the week at a pace which means you're breathing hard but not gasping. Then at the weekend go for distance, again at a moderate pace and try to build in a cafe stop on the weekend run. It does you good psychologically to build in a bit of a reward.
  6. ChrisS

    ChrisS New Member

    Don't worry too much about speed. Your perceived workrate is more important. Try 10 minutes of easy riding, 10 minutes of working harder; so you can still hold a conversation, but breathing harder, and then 10 minutes easier again.

    As you get fitter, you will be able to work harder for same/less perceived effort.

    Don't worry about your weight too much - if you are getting fitter, and eating well, your weight will largely take care of itself.
  7. BentMikey

    BentMikey Rider of Seolferwulf

    South London
    I'm going to contradict the "go a little harder and faster" advice given in some posts above, because although it's very good advice, I think you should probably get a couple of months of going slowly under your belt first.
  8. Crackle

    Crackle Pah

    Agree with BM and say yes to start especially if you're coming from a long way down but then Andy and Chris are right about working a bit harder once you get used to it. Key is to listen to you're body. If 20 minutes leaves you with jelly legs then keep doing 20 minutes until it doesn't leave you with jelly legs. Then when it doesn't, either increase the speed or the time.

    And watch out: 10 year olds get faster quicker than you will :biggrin:
  9. OP

    fuzzymum1 New Member

    Thanks for all the suggestions, I'll go with the slower for longer theory for now and see how I go. I'm reliant on waking early to go out at the moment as it's getting dark by the time DH gets home and I don't think I'm up to towing the 'sprogwagon' with 22lbs of toddler just yet! Hopefully the clocks changing won't affect my ability to go out in the mornings too much for too long as I don't have lights at the moment.
  10. BentMikey

    BentMikey Rider of Seolferwulf

    South London
    I used to have a Burley D'Lite trailer, great for carrying miniMikey and the shopping!!!
  11. summerdays

    summerdays Cycling in the sun Moderator

    Are you pushing really hard in a high gear or spinning in a low gear? General advice is a low gear pedalling quickly with little effort in each stroke rather than a high gear and really pushing the pedals. Its better for your knees, and you want the marathon runner's steady pace and lean body rather than the sprinters very strong muscular body.
    (Not sure I explained that very well)
  12. HJ

    HJ Cycling in Scotland

    Auld Reekie
    Take it easy at the start and build up slowly, you might want to think about a heart rate monitor, many of the larger chemists shop will stock cheap ones, that way you can make sure you are not pushing your self to hard. Keep it up you are doing the right thing.
  13. OP

    fuzzymum1 New Member

    You explained it fine. I definitely go for the spinning rather than pushing hard as my knees are definitely not up to lots of hard labour!
  14. domtyler

    domtyler Über Member

    Hmmm, with your username I could beg to differ!! :biggrin:
  15. RedBike

    RedBike New Member

    Beside the road
    3 times, 4 times, 20mins or 40mins. It arguably doesn't matter.

    Ride as often as you get chance to and avoid riding when tired.
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