New Rider - Wondering about training and targets.

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by silasgreenback, 2 May 2010.

  1. silasgreenback

    silasgreenback New Member

    Hi everyone,

    I'm a new member here and also new to cycling (three weeks in). I'm 35 and after three years of pretty much total inactivity I've decided to lose the extra two stone I'm carrying around and raise my fitness levels at least to the point where I don't get chest pains reaching for the TV remote. :biggrin:

    As a total newbie (my last bike was a bmx 20 years ago), I'm wondering what kind of rate of progression I should be seeing or aiming for.

    Today I completed a 24 mile circuit, mainly country road and some smooth track, odds and sods of uphill but nothing serious. It took me in total about 2.5 hours and I'm completely knackered after it. Two days ago I did 13 miles and a few days before that I did a 12 mile circular around Hamsterly Forrest (Blue route), my first ride was 7 miles or so.

    To me this is progress, although I'm not happy about either my pace or the fact that I had to stop a few times to recover. I feel this will come as I get more miles under my belt.

    I guess my initial question is where should I be at right now. 35 years old, 17 stone, defintely out of shape but determined and riding a MTB. What sort of time (or average speed) would be an average over say a 20 mile principally road route?

    Given a starting target time, what sort of progression should I look for over the next couple of months riding 3 or more times a week?

    I'm using a mountain bike with nobbly tyres, I considered a road bike but a mate is trying to get me into trail riding.

    I've got a fair number of questions backed up, but I'm going to use the search function first to see if I can get any answers.


  2. accountantpete

    accountantpete Legendary Member

    Don't expect too much too soon.

    It's a matter of developing the leg muscles and lung capacity which may seem slow at times but it will come if you persevere.

    Obviously the heavy bike and your own weight don't help but at 35 you have time on your side.
  3. Banjo

    Banjo Fuelled with Jelly Babies

    South Wales
    Welcome on the forum.

    Lots of us on here are born again cyclists. I started regular cycling about a year ago and have lost 4 stone of lard ,feel great as welll.

    Dont worry about speed averages ,keep riding several times per week and you WILL get fitter.

    On a 13 mile route I do often at first I did it at 8 mph average, now I can do it at 17 ,usually dont push it so much though as i am not really interested in average speeds so much just ride to get/keep fit and enjoy it.

    Good luck and make sure your bike is set up right regarding seat height etc or you can damage your knees.
  4. jayonabike

    jayonabike Powered by caffeine & whisky

    Back in january i was in the same boat as you. I had just started cycling again and was absolutely knackered and ached all over after each ride. I was so unfit, i got tired running a bath! :becool: Four months down the line, i am cycling on average 70 - 80 miles a week, only slightly knackered and no aches or pains after each ride.

    Keep at it, don't cycle to far and overdo it (like i did and end up walking around like John Wayne for 3 days) and you will soon find it gets easier, the miles fly by and your legs don't feel like jelly at the end of the ride.

    Also if your riding a mountain bike on roads and smooth tracks i would change the tyres for something more road friendly, there are loads on the market and they do make a difference
  5. OP

    silasgreenback New Member

    I am seeing a progression in my riding, today managed 19 miles pretty easily. It would have been the 24 miles again (plus maybe a few extra), but my handlebars worked loose mid ride and I had to head back and beg some allen keys from a garage.

    Last week using the GPS I thought I'd keep an eye on an average pace. I managed a 10 mile run at an average of 12mph (all road riding). Very tired after this, but having the GPS was a useful tool to spur me on and keep the pace up as best I could.

    Today was the first ride in a few days as I foolishly walked nearly 18 miles on Saturday and the subsequent blisters have made the last few days painfull, lesson learned about too much too soon.

    I haven't really seen any weight loss, but I have not changed my diet yet and this I'm sure is a factor. I've just returned from a couple of years in the middle east and bacon is hard to turn down right now. ;)

  6. Arch

    Arch Married to Night Train

    Salford, UK

    Remember, you're converting fat into muscle (or rather losing fat and gaining muscle), and muscle weighs more than fat. So you may not see a lot of weight loss at first, but the trousers will get less tight. And you'll get fitter.

    Main thing is, enjoy it. The more you enjoy it, the more you'll do it, the more benefit you'll get.

    And a slow steady weight loss is easier to maintain than anything too dramatic.

    12 mph isn't a bad average I think - I'm crawling back up to that from a 9mph average over winter (heavy winter bike + bad back + ice). It's a decent enough touring pace anyway.

    With the food - portion sizes! I've been gradually losing some weight over the last year, and part of that is trying to keep on top of the portions. It's all little things - I used to get 2 pasta sauces out of a tin of toms, now I get three, use half a tin of tuna instead of a whole one. Little steps, but that way you don't notice so much, and still feel you've eaten enough.
  7. OP

    silasgreenback New Member

    I am enjoying it a great deal. Except for the headwinds, fortunately I cycle country roads with very few people around, so they can't hear me swearing at the headwinds. :rolleyes:

    I don't mind the hills, they are tough but end and have a downslope usually. But the headwinds just seem relentless at times.

  8. Rob3rt

    Rob3rt Man or Moose!

    Just ride your bike and enjoy it I'd say, if you have no desire to race or no events or specific goals, then you have no time crunch to get up to speed or distance in a set time. Just ride! This will help you to get bike fit, and will also highlight strengths and weaknesses in your riding, which you can later use to design a tranining program to reach some goal you later set yourself.

    Dont worry too much about immediate weight loss, initially you will be bulking up in the legs muscular department so weight loss might seem slow but actually you may be undergoing a body composition change while remaining at a similar weight.

    I know the area you are from, lived there for 18 years!
  9. Hont

    Hont Veteran

    As others have said, don't worry too much about your average speed. A long steady ride with a low intensity will burn more fat than going as fast as you can and knackering yourself. It will also give you some base fitness to start with and your averages will soon take care of themselves.

    And I know what you mean about headwinds; but at this point any bulk you have actually helps you a little bit on the flat or downhill as you have more momentum. Look forward to being blown all over the road once you start losing the weight ;-)
  10. tmcd35

    tmcd35 Active Member

    Have you thought about taking part in some organised events? I was finding it tough to get out and clock up the milage with out goals or reasons to do it. Since signing up for a few events I've got a second wind. Been enjoying the cycle to work more. Been setting better goals and achieving them on my weekend rides.

    And the atmosphere on the actually organised rides is brilliant. I can clock up around 30miles on my own and find it tough going. But topped 50 on the last organised and just relaxed and enjoyed it. The group riding keep my mind from focusing on the pain and it didn't seem half as bad as the doing the solo runs.

    I suppose what I'm trying to say is it's all about motivation. If you're motivated you enjoy it more and find yourself doing the longer rides with ease. If you're not motivated it quickly becomes a chore and the extra miles start to hurt more as you focus on the pain rather than the ride itself.
  11. Mike!

    Mike! Veteran

    First thing i'd do in your shoes is to get rid of the knobbly tyres and stick some slicks on. something like schwalbe city jets would do nicely!

    sounds to me like you are doing very well too
  12. Steve H

    Steve H Large Member

    Hi John - sounds like you are in a similar boat to me. I started cycling a couple of months ago at 38 and just the right side of 18 stone.

    From everything I've done and read on the forums and in books, the key is to just keep getting out there. Don't sweat the avg times too much, just try and get out on the bike 3 or 4 times a week. I try to do a couple of rides during the week, I go out with mates off road on a Saturday and then try to get a longer road ride in on a Sunday. I'm still un-fitter than my Saturday riding mates, but I'm definitely getting stronger and fitter.

    I've lost about half a stone so far, but the legs feel a lot stronger and there are lots of hills that I steadily get up nowadays that I wouldn't of even thought of tackling 2 months ago.

    I'm trying to steadily build up the longer Sunday rides. At the moment I'm staying out for around two and a half hours. My average speed varies from about 8.5mph to 12mph depending on how far I go and how many hills I include.

    I've recently put on some of the Schwalbe City Jet tyres for doing road riding - they are pretty good. Fairly smooth and comfortable and they roll a lot better than the knobblies on the road. I switch back to the knobblies for the Saturday off road rides, as they are pretty rocky and cut up. Bit of a pain changing all the time, but I can't afford a dedicated road bike as well at the moment.

  13. OP

    silasgreenback New Member

    I've no desire to race or enter events and I have no problem with motivation. I also have more than enough time and opportunity as I'm taking six months off work and one of my aims during this time is to recover the fitness levels that I used to have 4-5 years ago.

    I might swap the tyres at some point in the future, but at present I'm happy enough using the nobblies. I know they are inefficient on roads, but as far as I'm concerned the extra effort required by me should equate to a greater level of fitness.

    I'm not too worried about average speeds, principally I just wanted a measure of where I am versus where the average is for a similar person/equipment combination.

    I'm seeing progression in other ways beyond just avergae speeds. I've been out three days running, a 19 mile run on Thursday, 8 miles at a fast pace on Friday and 27 miles today. The average for today was 10.5mph. Riding three days in sucession and for fairly long distances would not have been possible two weeks ago.

    The target for the coming week is to break 30 miles this coming week which I don't think will be a problem. I've always gone for distance / endurance in any training and paid scant attention to timings or speeds.

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