Feeling the burn

FastFlyer

Regular
Location
Herts
So I've recently got into cycling having not touched a bike since I were a wee lad, I'm taking it easy and thoroughly enjoying it (even the part where I was chased by a dog, those buggers are fast!).

So for my first few rides I only stretched out as far as 5 miles, just getting used to riding again and handling. Yesterday I did an 11 mile jolly and hoping to do a few similar stints this week. Eventually progressing to 20 miles, 30 etc.

What I'm after is a bit of advice on setting goals and a training plan rather than just going out and making it up as I go.

Also, bearing in mind I'm really unfit and haven't done good exercise for years (not overweight, if anything a bit underweight) after 11 miles of dirt track riding I still didn't feel worn out, and I interpret that as not pushing myself enough. I had a very minor ache in my thigh for a few hours and that was it. Should I feel these things to know my fitness is improving? Do I need to up the pace a bit? Took me about an hour, which I thought was reasonable on dirt tracks after only my 3rd ride.

Cheers!
 

mjr

Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next
It depends what you want. 11miles in an hour on dirt tracks seems fine to me and similar to what I would do. I've been riding 30+ years but I like easy riding... like you, I enjoy it and really don't need to lose weight. If I were you, I'd slowly up the distances, see more places and maybe try a local freewheeling group ride if you can find one nearby.
 

Gravity Aided

Legendary Member
Location
Land of Lincoln
Welcome to the forum! I would think that you are doing the right thing by getting out regularly. Make cycling as regular a part of your day as you can, (or week) and try to slowly stretch out distances. Regimens for training do not take into account terrain, cycle, and personal attributes I would find to be important considerations. I would try and ride 1/4 of my latest distance farther on my next ride. That's the regimen I adopted to do metric centuries, or populaires. But I live in quite flat terrain. Your results may vary. Listen to what your body is telling you, apart from any temporary aches and pains.
 

ayceejay

Guru
Location
Rural Quebec
That ache you feel that went away quite quickly is due to the build up of lactic acid and is quite normal although no measure of improvement or effectiveness of the ride. To avoid it make sure to warm up before and cool down after and although this might seem like overkill on short rides it is a good habit to get into for when you are doing more. You could use dynamic stretching in the warm up and static stretching in the cool down.
If you do a long ride and can;t get out of bed the next morning this is something different:smile:
 
OP
F

FastFlyer

Regular
Location
Herts
Thanks guys. I still think I've got a few more months at least on my current bike but already looking to upgrade! I was thinking cx as I enjoy a mix of road/off road but everyone I've spoken to says to get a road bike because apparently it's inevitable that you'll fall in love with full on road riding! Is this a shared opinion amongst most here?

That's how it felt! I'm sure it looked much more pathetic though. :unsure:
 

mjr

Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next
Nope. I went from road bike to hybrid to roadster. The Slow Bicycle Movement has a Facebook group if that interests you... or just rejoice in CX if that's what you like.
 

ChrisEyles

Veteran
Location
Devon
Doesn't matter what you ride as long as you enjoy it - sounds like an all-rounder CX (or tourer?) would be a good choice for you though. What are you riding at the moment?

As far as improving goes, the most important thing is just getting in the miles. As long as you're not taking it super-easy your pace and distance will improve quite naturally, so no need to stick to a training plan as such... I'm not anywhere close yet but I guess training plans etc come in later when you've plateued and need to work very hard for further gain. Others with more experience might have a better idea!
 
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