What's a good target to aim for?

Discussion in 'Training, Fitness and Health' started by dharma66, 14 Aug 2012.

  1. dharma66

    dharma66 Regular

    Manchester, UK
    So, I've got the bike, and I've remembered how to ride one (mostly).

    What I need now is motivation, and for me, that means a goal.

    Thing is, I have no idea what a realistic and reasonably challenging goal might be on a bike. I know it's hard for anyone to say what that might be for me, but perhaps if I give a few bits of background and info, someone might be able to narrow the range. At the moment, I simply don't know if I should be aiming to cycle 20 miles, or 120.

    The basics. I'm 46 years old, and significantly overweight. I'm 5' 11" and just knocking 20 stone. I've been inactive for about 3 years, during which time I went from 17 stone, up to 23 :shy:, and now back down to 20, so far just by changing eating habits.

    Prior to the weight gain, I spent about two years training on indoor rowing machines (Concept 2 if anyone cares). After a couple of months of unstructured rowing, 3 times a week, for up to 40 minutes a session, I adopted a structured half marathon training program. This is what I used as motivation on the indoor rower, and it was a good, achievable but (very) challenging goal.

    I followed the training program 'religiously' (sorry, no wish to offend anyone religious) for a year, rowing up to seven times a week (with rest days and double session days), for up to two hours at a time.

    I eventually rowed the half marathon, but didn't get the time I wanted...I rowed it as my section of a 100km team charity event, and because of the time required to row 100k when most of the participants are novices, I volunteered to row at 6:30AM. This caused me to have a massive attack of indigestion which took a full packet of Rennies and nearly 15 minutes of idling to resolve. If I knock this time off, then I did achieve my goal of 1:45:00, but that's cheating, and I prefer to count my actual time of 1:54:07.300.

    After a couple of weeks rest, I started a full marathon training program, but just a few weeks in, changed jobs and gyms. A lot of my motivation came from the fact that I worked with another very keen rower (he rowed in the UK indoor championships), and he used to really help me out with both technique and motivation. So, when I had to move jobs, I lost the impetus, and the weight came back.

    So, basically, what I'm saying is that whilst I'm presently on the larger size 'feasibly human', I have quite a lot of history of some fairly intense sporting activity, which I now fancy translating into cycling.

    My initial aim is weight loss and cardio fitness, and I'm definitely built for endurance rather than speed.

    I've been on my bike just three times since I bought it (on Friday last week), and I've gone from the first session being a bit of a wobble round a school yard, the second being a flat 3.3 miles, to tonight being 4.4 miles with about 80 meters of ascent and descent, completed in 33 minutes. Very slow, of course, but after that I still feel pretty fresh, and to an extent was pacing myself, as I didn't know what to expect from the route, and wanted to make sure I could get back home! But I'm feeling that same buzz I felt on the rower, and I want to catch it and keep it.

    So. That's where I'm at. Like I said at the start, what I'd like to know is, what might be a good goal for, say, 6 weeks to start with. Should be I be looking to reach 10 miles? 15, 20? At what sort of speed?

    Another question:
    In rowing, Concept 2 (who make the decent gym machines) have a fantastic guide book which gives several training programs, covering all levels of ability, and they even provide a web site that will generate training programs based on training period, start point, end goal and commitment, giving a progressive structure for every training session, leading to the completion of the goal. Is there something equivalent for cycling?

    Thanks for reading a long post!
  2. vickster

    vickster Legendary Member

    The general advice seems to be to start with whatever feels comfortable and work up from there, riding a little bit further every time if it feels right. It's not a competition, we are all different and this is for you. Make sure the bike is set up right, easy to hurt knees, necks, backs and in my case, elbow! The terrain plays a big role in how you'll feel - for those of us who are heavier, hills are tough usually :smile:

    Rest days are important if needed, as is making sure you drink enough especially if warm

    If you need motication, perhaps you can find someone to ride with

    Happy cycling :bicycle:
    dharma66 likes this.
  3. Stonepark

    Stonepark Senior Member

    I started again 5 weeks ago, 21st and did 3 miles every second day first week, 3miles a day second week, five miles a day for third week, 7 miles a day fourth week and now 7 miles twice a day (morning before work and night time), next step up is 10miles (next week) morning and night. Route is level with a similar 60m climb and a few 10m ones but relatively flat.

    It has taken until now for my muscles, legs and seat to get used to the riding but starting to come in sweaty and hot rather than sore, so feeling better with each ride and down to 20st4lb.

    Time has been slowly coming down for the 7 miles (now down to 36.5 min - 12.1 mph) on my hybrid of about 15.5kg.

    Take it as fast or slow as you are happy with.
    dharma66 likes this.
  4. MattHB

    MattHB Proud Daddy

    I started riding last October for the first time in 25 years. It was slow going to start with, in all ways but I built up slowly.

    Like you I decided I wanted a goal to motivate me. I chose the Macmillan Dorset bike ride which at the time of deciding was 6 months away. I'd got to the point of 20milers and had lost about a stone, so I thought a ride like that, with multiple milleages possible was a good idea. To cut a long story short, on July 1st I did all 100 miles of the ride, having lost just over 2.5 stone :smile:. It was a huge motivator but it was flexible enough not to panic me or to put on too much pressure.
    dharma66 likes this.
  5. OP

    dharma66 Regular

    Manchester, UK
    Ah. There are organised rides?
    Sounds like just the thing!

    How do i find them?
  6. Sittingduck

    Sittingduck Guru

    I would start with 5 miles, try to increase in small increments, of maybe 3-5 miles at a time, upto about 30 miles, then try stepping up in 10 mile jumps. When you reach 70, you can go to 100 then the sky's the limit. Try not to worry about speed. That will come with the experience and with a loss of weight which will help you get faster, quite significantly - in particular when climbing. Best of luck with it and try to stay motivated to keep pushing yourself harder and further. It won't always be easy bit it can be done!
    dharma66 likes this.
  7. vickster

    vickster Legendary Member

    Try http://www.goskyride.com/SkyRideLocal

    They tend to be quite family friendly, although there are the Ride Strong and Ride Strong Plus. As a beginner, I'd not aim too high, just enjoy riding with others - normally a couple of hours
    MattHB and dharma66 like this.
  8. OP

    dharma66 Regular

    Manchester, UK
    I just liked all the replies, because they are all great, and all added something valuable.

    Many thanks for your replies, it's really important to me to have targets.
  9. MattHB

    MattHB Proud Daddy

    When you get more ambitious, you could also try some sportives. I rode the wiggle new forest in April. Chose the 56 mile option and got a silver time which gave me a lot of confidence. It's not a race anyone else, just the clock and yourself. Normally extremely well run as well and you get to meet lots of people.
  10. snorri

    snorri Legendary Member

    It might help to record your mileages on www.mycyclinglog.com
    You can set your own distance targets, over any period you choose.
    I find it quite a good incentive to get out and reach my monthly and annual targets.
    MattHB likes this.
  11. montage

    montage God Almighty

    why not do the same as your rowing regime?..... just base it one hours spent cycling instead of hours spent rowing. Find a long and challenging sportive or time trial in the future and work towards it. Sounds like you have been pretty fit before, so going out on the bike for an hour should be fine.

    Cycling is the most energy efficient mode of transport - therefore it can be easier than walking should you wish it to be. Base it on time spent cycling rather than speed for now, and just enjoy time in the saddle. Rowing will also help your cycling should you wish to mix and match
  12. OP

    dharma66 Regular

    Manchester, UK
    Thanks again everyone.
    This week I've built slowly up to the point when today i spent an hour on the bike, covering ten miles.
    Part way through this ride, I remembered montage's post that riding can be easier than walking, and it was at that point that I realised that every ride so far, I've been hammering it as had as I can on every uphill, thinking I needed to go as fast as possible.
    So when I noticed that in the middle of the hardest bit, I dropped to the last gear, and span lazily, just accepting that it would mean I was going slow. It was a bit of revelation really, andi reckon if I ease back a bit, I could pretty. Urch ride all day, whereas previously I'd been struggling to increase my time.
    I have to remember I'm not racing anyone, and at this point,I'm not racing the clock either. I just want to ride for a good time at a level of exertion to give me an elevated heart rate to help work off the worst of the excess weight.

    I will look for a sportive perhaps next spring (now I've googled it and know what they I are!), and take the build up nice and slow.
  13. oldfatfool

    oldfatfool Veteran

    If you want to keep motivated book a week in Provence for 12 months time with a goal of cycling up Ventoux, then you have a holiday to look forward to and the commitment of having spent the dosh;)
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