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Like others I'm an office working sitting at a computer most of the day. Riding my mountain bike is my main source of activity during the work week. I work from home and I can escape during lunch for an hour, or alternatively after work for an hour. On average I ride 4 times a week for about 5-6 hours of activity. I haven't really ridden with any sort of plan I normally just go out and ride. 1-2 of those rides will be with my 12yo son so on those rides I barely push into zone 3. I don't really want to leave him in the dust so riding hard on those rides isn't an option. The other rides by myself are mainly for fitness. The question is, how to I make the most out of my limited riding time. As I said 1-2 of my 4 rides a week that are slow zone 2-3 for about 60-90 minutes. Should I be looking for higher intensity in my other rides? My "Hard" rides according to my watch I will be in Zone 4 bout 50% of the time (141-157bpm), zone 5 about 10-20% (158-175bpm), and the rest Zone 1-2-3. Should I be looking at getting more time in Zone 5? Adding an extra 30 minutes per ride for longer durations in Zone 4? Or even longer Zone 2 rides? If I had an ultimate goal it would be to be able to give hard effort for longer periods of time. On a 2 hour ride with really strong riders who routinely race I can mostly keep up for about 45-60 minutes then I start losing my legs and start falling back especially on any big pedally parts.
 

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Watch the Cam Nichols series on training. He uses power zones (FTP)instead of heat rate zones so be aware of that.
My TLDR takeaway from what I remember is to ride in a low zone to build base endurance. Then once a week/every other week, do an interval or tempo ride. Then on the weekend go out for a fun ride where you’re not caring about the technicalities of training. If cycling ain’t fun what’s the point.
 

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Watch the Cam Nichols series on training. He uses power zones (FTP)instead of heat rate zones so be aware of that.
My TLDR takeaway from what I remember is to ride in a low zone to build base endurance. Then once a week/every other week, do an interval or tempo ride. Then on the weekend go out for a fun ride where you're not caring about the technicalities of training. If cycling ain't fun what's the point.
I don't follow any regimen, but when I asked the racing forum how to get the most bang for my buck when I had a short time to train for a long race, 90% of respondents said "intervals". "Get out of your comfort zone" they said. That, and mix in a variety of high cadence, high-gear mashing, and varied hill climbing (short hills + sustained climbs) - which is pretty much intervals. :)
I will say that I no longer check HR. I know enough about what gear I'm in and what my cadence is and how I feel to know how well I'm doing. A simple cycle computer with a cadence input put everything in perspective. After using that for long enough, I didn't even have to look at it.
But yeah, keep it fun. Your fitness will improve even with moderate efforts.

-F
 

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1-1.5 hours @ zone 2 a couple days a week is great for base training. I would definitely do higher intensity rides on your other 2 days, sweet spot (z-3,4) threshold (z-4) and v02 max intervals. Mix them up, don't do all zones on the same day. Maybe start with 2 x 10 minute sweet spot intervals and work from there (10 minutes @ z-3/4, 5 minutes easy and 10 more minutes @ z-3/4) That may seem easy on paper but holding sweet spot for 10 minutes may be harder than you think if you're not used to it.

I would have a difficult time staying in the right zones just using heart rate because mine varies so much from day to day, V02 max is easy because that's pretty much all out but the lower ones are tough. One day I'm at 120bpm in z-2 and the next I might be 145bpm in the same zone. Power meters are expensive but they keep you honest.

Also try using a couple of your days off the bike for strength and core training, that can pay big dividends.
 

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If I had an ultimate goal it would be to be able to give hard effort for longer periods of time. On a 2 hour ride with really strong riders who routinely race I can mostly keep up for about 45-60 minutes then I start losing my legs and start falling back especially on any big pedally parts.
So what you're looking for is to prolong the time before you hit your lactate threshold.

You can aim to sustain a 65-75% HR for 1.5-2X the target time, which in this case for you, will be to ride for 3-4 hours at 65-75% MHR.

As for interval training, you can try to do a "pyramid"workout that I've seen road riders do (and have done myself)

Warm up for 10 min at 60%. Cool down for 10 min at 60%.

  • Sprint hard (85-95% MHR) for 10 seconds, rest 10 seconds
  • Sprint 20 seconds, rest 20 seconds
  • Sprint 30 seconds, rest 30 seconds
  • Sprint 20 seconds, rest 20 seconds
  • Sprint 10 seconds, rest 10 seconds

That's 1 set. Do 3-6 sets.

Build up so you can do something like:
  • Sprint 1 min, rest 1 min
  • Sprint 1.5 min, rest 1.5 min
  • Sprint 2 min, rest 2 min
  • Sprint 1.5 min, rest 1.5 min
  • Sprint 1 min, rest 1 min

3-6 sets.

This is done on a day that is different from your other rides. The whole thing shouldn't take more than 30 min when you're first beginning, then work yourself up to ~60-90 min. I used to target Wednesdays so I had the legs for a big weekend ride (that 3-4 hour ride mentioned).
 

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Build up so you can do something like:
  • Sprint 1 min, rest 1 min
  • Sprint 1.5 min, rest 1.5 min
  • Sprint 2 min, rest 2 min
  • Sprint 1.5 min, rest 1.5 min
  • Sprint 1 min, rest 1 min
"Sprint" may not be the best word here, by most definitions a 1 minute sprint is virtually impossible. 20 seconds is a really long sprint.

Again though I'd find heart rate pretty useless for short v02 max efforts, mostly because I wouldn't hit the right hr zone until the interval was over. I'd just go as hard as I could and ignore heart rate for those.
 

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Intervals with a plan has got to be best for fitness per time, but in my experience does not mesh well with bike commuting. You have a set distance and limited time and traffic to interact with and it's 2x a day. You can make it intervals without a plan, just accept the stops. Measuring your progress might be a little frustrating, you are not going to measure your FTP this way. But it's still effective. I know some people take it easy and direct on the way to work to arrive fresh and soon and go further and harder on the way home to get the real workout.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
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[/QUOTE]
I will say that I no longer check HR. I know enough about what gear I'm in and what my cadence is and how I feel to know how well I'm doing. A simple cycle computer with a cadence input put
I don't activly monitor my HR during a ride I normally go by perceived exertion and then match it to HR data my watch collects during the ride.

1-1.5 hours @ zone 2 a couple days a week is great for base training.
Now this question will really show my ignorance. Lets say I want to ride 2 hours of Zone 2 in a day. Is 1 hour at lunch then 1 hour after work the same as 2 hours in a single block of time?
 

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Now this question will really show my ignorance. Lets say I want to ride 2 hours of Zone 2 in a day. Is 1 hour at lunch then 1 hour after work the same as 2 hours in a single block of time?
No, it's not the same but it's also not necessarily a bad thing. You get different adaptations as you ride longer in specific zones .

People think z-2 is easy riding but ime it really isn't after an hour or 2. Perceived effort would let me down because z-2 seems like at least z-3, sometimes z-4 after doing it for a few hours or more.
 

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There is this thing called Zwift which is particularly useful for training if you are time poor. During the winter months I will do 1.5 hours @ Zone 2, before breakfast, first thing .. usually 3 days, sometimes 4. Then, one evening each week either a short 30 crit min race (Zone 4/5) or ride one of the climbs (Zone 4, VO2 Max) - sometimes both.

I get more "on the bike time" in the winter (winters here are wet and miserable), so that should indicate how time effective Zwifting is. FTP has increased by about 25% too.
 

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Not officially training, but on those days you ride with your son, use it to practice manuals. On the road?, start with holding a manual across a driveway. Move on to between city trees, first one, then try to hold two, then three, then four or more.

I started intensifying my manual practice like this at the start of covid while riding with my kid 20 minutes a day. To be fair I can manual a bit before, but much of my very respectable manual today started with nothing more than riding along with my kid and then manualing every shadow a house would cast on the road.

just a thought to make the most out of your slow days.
 

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You'd definitely get the most bang for your buck with intervals and structure, but it sounds like you just want to get the most out of your rides without getting lost in the weeds of training and still have fun.

I suggest finding various loops or segments on your local trails that are conducive to the interval types mentioned above, but not so structured that you need a PM or HR strap. For example if there is a 10-15 minute loop, treat that as a threshold segment and try to do it at a RPE of 7-8 out of 10. You will also be practicing bike handling at speed. Instead of structured VO2, find a climb that takes 1-4min going about as hard as you can go then repeat it a couple times. This can also be done with endurance and sweet spot intensities just longer durations. Ride consistently and watch your times get faster.

I agree with the comment ahead about practicing manuals and other bike skills on the days you ride with your son. Try to work on cornering and braking technique and maybe your son will pick up on some of the skills. Maybe you'll go a little too fast for him through a corner or descent but then stop for him.

Just a little structure, consistency and have fun with it.
 

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Like others I'm an office working sitting at a computer most of the day. Riding my mountain bike is my main source of activity during the work week. I work from home and I can escape during lunch for an hour, or alternatively after work for an hour. On average I ride 4 times a week for about 5-6 hours of activity. I haven't really ridden with any sort of plan I normally just go out and ride. 1-2 of those rides will be with my 12yo son so on those rides I barely push into zone 3. I don't really want to leave him in the dust so riding hard on those rides isn't an option. The other rides by myself are mainly for fitness. The question is, how to I make the most out of my limited riding time. As I said 1-2 of my 4 rides a week that are slow zone 2-3 for about 60-90 minutes. Should I be looking for higher intensity in my other rides? My "Hard" rides according to my watch I will be in Zone 4 bout 50% of the time (141-157bpm), zone 5 about 10-20% (158-175bpm), and the rest Zone 1-2-3. Should I be looking at getting more time in Zone 5? Adding an extra 30 minutes per ride for longer durations in Zone 4? Or even longer Zone 2 rides? If I had an ultimate goal it would be to be able to give hard effort for longer periods of time. On a 2 hour ride with really strong riders who routinely race I can mostly keep up for about 45-60 minutes then I start losing my legs and start falling back especially on any big pedally parts.
Find the longest trail with most climbs at highest slopes and ride those. 😎🍦⚡
 

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I don't race bikes; instead I do running races.
I started racing in 2016 with 10km races and progressed to half marathons (21km), marathons (42km) and ultras (50km and beyond)
Each race I've done, I've shaved off time which I attribute to a variety of regimes and training methods including 1)intervals/sprint work 2) increasing distances ie endurance 3) weight training

I followed my former crossfit coach's training program (he has trained mtbrs, road riders, marathon runners, ultrarunners etc). I follow a daily program and have had positive outcomes.

My take away: You can improve and get stronger as you grow older. The best part about racing as an older (50+, 60+... ) athlete is there are fewer competitors in your age category and your finishing time can better than participants much younger :)

Make good use of your time training. Follow a plan. Monitor your diet
 
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