Worth trying to set targets?

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by Cavalol, 11 Jul 2012.

  1. Cavalol

    Cavalol Guru

    I only started out a few weeks ago now, got an old Trek mountain bike to help keep me off the fags and get fit.
    Started really enjoying it (bet that sounds familiar!) and progressed to a Giant Defy road bike which I'm really, really happy with.
    Now, I've started trying to do the odd longish ride and have managed a few around 18 miles, a couple about 26 miles and one just over 31.
    My average speed did increase as time went by but I don't know if I should beat myself up about the speeds as it's a) making me tired quicker as I always starts off too fast when I try to beat a time and b) enjoying the rides less as it's almost like I'm only out to beat a previous target when I'd just wanted to keep fit and enjoy myself. I would like to join in on a longish (say 40-50 mile) ride one day and possibly do a charity run at some point.
    So, should I just ride at my own pace and carry on being overtaken by lots of people but still enjoy my riding, or should I try and step up the pace a bit?
  2. stephen.rooke

    stephen.rooke Senior Member

    ride at your own pace but do some intervals, really helps to raise your speed. is all down to power / weight / endurance
    Nigelnaturist likes this.
  3. snorri

    snorri Legendary Member

    I would suggest you keep an eye on your mileage rather than your speed. Perhaps set a target mileage for the month, you can always raise the monthly target as you become fitter.
    I set myself an annual target, and last year "had " to cycle 22 miles on the 31st December in order to achieve my target. Crazy really, but I enjoyed it and doubt if I would have bothered going out in the poor weather in order to achieve a speed related target.
    Fubar likes this.
  4. Berties

    Berties Fast and careful!

    Mix it up ,distance,average speed keep a eye on your cadence just build on mileage and build on it,I keep my cadence at 85 plus average mileage between 16 -20 depending on distance,some days you just need a bimble ride or a ride with mates just mix up cycling types,add ten miles to a ride when you feel stronger,re thinking your refuelling supplies,good luck it's a great journey and you obviously have the heart and determination to get to your goals,good luck ,and ride safe
  5. MrJamie

    MrJamie Oaf on a Bike

    I wouldnt worry about making each ride longer or more successful, or youll fast get to the point that you feel you cant go out without cycling for several hours or racing like crazy and youll lose interest.

    As others have said find different things you can do with your bike to keep it fun. When I feel like going out on my bike, I can go for a 6 mile or 15 mile ride against the clock, various 20-35 mile more relaxed rides on roads, towpaths, sustrans routes. I can ride up into the woods and ride some muddy and sandy mtb trails which is totally different to road cycling. I can go and try and improve on some local strava segments or hills, both of which is kind of interval training. On top of that I can cycle with family and friends for a chatty more relaxed ride.

    Theres nothing wrong with trying to beat goals and doing training runs, but it might be a good idea to go out on the Trek for some trails sometimes, or take the dog out etc :smile:
  6. PpPete

    PpPete Guru

    Chandler's Ford
    Worth keeping a tally of your rides on mycyclinglogs - and joining the cyclechat group on there.
    It's astonishing how quickly the miles add up, and you start to climb the group table.

    When my early rides were in the 20 - 30 mile zone, being able to see that I'd done x00 miles in total really motivated me but BEWARE racking up mileage can become addictive as you will see from my sig line below.
  7. lulubel

    lulubel Über Member

    Malaga, Spain
    The speed trap is one I fell into as well, and found I wasn't enjoying my rides nearly as much. I'd always set myself an "average speed" goal for my whole ride, and really push myself to make sure I achieved it. I got to the point where every ride was starting to feel like a race with myself.

    Then I was in an accident, and was without a road bike for 4 months. I had to ride a mountain bike on the road, and I knew my speeds would be a lot slower and everyone else would be passing me, so I just sat back, looked at the scenery, and found myself enjoying cycling more than I had done in a long time.

    Now, I have a road bike again, and the speed demon is coming back, and I've noticed I'm starting to focus more on times than on having fun. I know it isn't really working for me, but I'm not sure what to do about it. There seems to be something about the road bike that makes me just want to go fast all the time.

    So, I think you should focus on taking your time and enjoying yourself, but I also know that's easier said than done.
  8. lejogger

    lejogger Über Member

    We're all motivated by different things, so it's really difficult to advise on what you should do to gain more satisfaction from your rides. The thing that's demotivating you at the minute (constantly striving to better speeds and times) is the very thing that motivates me to get out on the bike.

    For example, unless the conditions are poor or I'm particularly jaded, my daily commute invloves me (safely) trying to either get to or home from work as fast as I possibly can. There's just something about being in the saddle that makes me want to be at least at 90% capacity every time. Now that I'm on Strava and have bought a Garmin rather than use my phone, chasing segment times is a great motivation because I can see my times compared to others as well as myself. I religiously log the times/distances/average speeds of every single ride I do... I even record the savings made from riding to work every day that I don't commute in the car. At £5 a day, that's a great motivation, and it makes me feel less guilty for splashing out on bits of kit.

    To be honest I think you answer your own question in your post.You feel that you should be more concerned about speed, but constantly stretching yourself is leading to a loss of enjoyment. In that case just ease off a bit and enjoy your cycling as you want to. If you keep pushing to maintain perceived expectations of speed then you'll end up losing any enjoyment.

    I think what my waffley post is trying to say is that we all cycle for different reasons and get enjoyment in different ways. If trying to go too fast is ruining your experience then just stick with what you enjoy and don't worry about being overtaken. The more time in the saddle you build up the more your speed will naturally increase with fitness and muscle development without you even noticing.
  9. Do what you enjoy Cavalol. Some folk like setting targets and striving to them but I'm not one of them I just ride and if I'm feeling good and good time/speed comes so be it, if however I feel cr@p one day I don't myself up about it others will come.
    Fubar likes this.
  10. Sandra6

    Sandra6 Veteran

    When I switched from my heavy apollo to the specialized I started cycling faster - and further -I kind of assumed I would, and should, get faster with time. I haven't really. But now I don't care. I quite like being a slow cyclist and if I do have to overtake someone I almost feel I should apologise!
  11. Nosaj

    Nosaj Well-Known Member

    Just to reiterate the posts above different strokes for different folks. But can I take this opportunity to throw in a slight curve ball and say that it is not just whether you track progress or not but a very important factor to actual motivation is how you view your tracked progress. A friend of mine who is a swimming coach said that a lot of people tend to list their times and compare then on a day by day or week by week progress and very rarely do they look at and compare long term performance.
    As a practical example these are my times for a ten over the last 3 weeks
    Time: 28.29 Avg: 21.63
    Time: 28.11 Avg: 21.77
    Time: 28.31 Avg: 21.62
    What does the above tell me. That I rode the same route at an average speed difference of 0.15 miles per hour or plus or minus 20 seconds nothing really motivating about that

    But if you take the next example
    Date: 18/04/2012: Time: 31.58 Avg: 19.38
    Date: 04/07/2012: Time: 28.11 Avg: 21.77
    This tells a very different story in that from my very first TT just under 3 months ago I have knocked 3 mins 47 seconds off my time and increased my average speed by 2.39 miles per hour.

    Again I can take a narrow and isolated view and compare my times to others and come to the conclusion that I am very slow but sometimes you have to widen your perceptions. We do have a technical course that is actually a bit over 10 miles, not sure if it could be considered sporty or hilly but it is undulating and has far too many corners to be a fast course. I also ride a standard road bike and these times put me in the mix towards the top of the Non TT Bike riding members of our club with one or two cat 2 racing exceptions.

    Obviously by this post it is clear that I fall into the track progress camp. If you want to know if you are progressing, you do have to have a rough idea of where you are now and where you have come from (also If you TT you have to keep a note of times as some open events demand them). Sometimes I just want to go out for a pootle somewhere, stop and have a cake and a chat. I may come back with an average speed of 14-15 mph but it does not mean I have had a bad ride, just a different one.

    One more analogy with regard to what other people do to bring this waffling post to a conclusion. Another friend of mine (unbelievably I have more than one) was at a trackday on his Fireblade and a guy on a CB 500 Honda came flying round him on a bend (for those unaware Fireblade = Ferrari and a 1.4 Fiesta = CB500). The guy on the CB500 left him for dead. He was a bit miffed but he saw the guy on the CB500 in the pit lane and went up to have a chat/congratulate him as he could not fathom how the guy got away. The guy on the CB500 took off his helmet and it was James Toseland –so never judge your own performance against someone else as you never quite know who you are comparing yourself to.
    Shrimp_Stu likes this.
  12. OP

    Cavalol Guru

    Right, sorry for the delay and thanks for the replies, a lot has happened since I last posted the first message in this thread!

    I have found just 'going with the flow' has worked best for me, I seem to do better if I do anywhere up to about 5 or 6 miles then have a rest at home and go out again as I get my second wind and can knock up a reasonable distance/average speed.
    We did a charity ride at work (about 28 miles) and in stages I could keep up with the fancy gang which was great but it's easy to burn yourself out I found!
    Anyhow I've really got the bug now, still use my Giant Defy 2 as I love it to bits. I was going to buy a new road bike and asecond hand mountain bike, but I don't see the point in selling the Giant as I'd only be buying a new bike for the sake of it and it does everything I want and as said I love it!
    I've had a few (three or four) second hand mountain bikes and a couple of trips round Llandegla: a Trek I've had (I've owned and/or ridden a few Treks over the years) seemed well built so I bit the bullet and bought a brand new 4500 Disc model which is a great bike.
    Other than that I'm in the early stages of restoring a Puch Free Spirit 10 speed racer which needs work and parts to complete, and last night I bought a 1950's Harry Hall single speed touring bike for renovation. It's a great old thing, full of character and had an interesting story behind it. Currently undecided whether to try and get it immaculate or leave it as is and that way it keeps it's wonderful patina and charm.
    Fingers crossed a couple of tyres and tubes plus a rear wheel, or repair to the old one, should see it right just to use.
  13. Former User

    Former User Guest

    What I do is go as fast as I can without aiming for a particular time or average speed. I particularly like bombing it down hills, in fact I use more effort going down hills than up them in many cases. Even managed to overtake a car once on my bicycle, that felt fun! So I get to focus on going fast (even if it is intermittently) but without the pressure of the clock. Best of both worlds.
  14. defy-one

    defy-one Guest

    My Garmin and Strava has got me so focused on times and average speed. It's a good idea to measure these sometimes,but i got to the point whereby i was cycling to beat myself.
    I can't leave the Garmin off the bike just yet,but have started to relax about average/fastest times. It's not easy but i'm getting there. Distance riding has become the new objective.
    My name is Defy-One and i am a cycling addict
    Davos87 likes this.
  15. RWright

    RWright Veteran

    North Carolina
    Same here. I just made a post similiar to yours on the newbie progress thread. I am going to up my daily ride by six miles and not watch the clock as much. I am not a cold weather person and will have to push myself just to get out and ride at all. Last winter I stopped but I am going to ride this one. Maybe by the time the really cold weather comes I will start pushing for faster times so I can get out of the cold faster. :snowball:
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