Posted by: tarryn | 2007/05/10

increase my fitness for cycling

Hi Ross,
Been cycling for 3 months now. I've done two 20km fun-races, came top 10 in both. Which was great.
I've just read Lance Armstrong's 7 weeks to the Perfect Ride. I currently train / spin 4 x per week - 45minute classes consisting on intervals, endurance and sprints. I also go ride outdoors, about twice per week 30 to 60 minute rides.
Thing is, i have a 15month old and am a "work-at-home" mom, so the time i take already is a lot because my husband has his own work to during the day.
but how much more training do i need and what other techniques should i be focussing on. My aim is : to increase fitness and VO2 max and obviously more strength when climbing and sprinting.
how can i do this ? train longer ? train more ? doing weight training ? this will have to be done at home, due to baby, but i have a set of 2kg dumbells and resistant band... (suggestions ??)
I'm training for the 94.7 challenge, in November and planning on doing 3 or 4 80km races before then - to get familiar with it...
i'm riding a Giant - oh, and can cycle shops pump my tyres with a type of rubber-foam so that if i get a puncture, it stays sealed for a time. Do u know what that is called?
Thank you for your time & advice!

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Our expert says:
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hi tarryn

Great to hear your progress so far, and how well you are doing! Well done!

You've asked some very specific questions, which are quite difficult to answer in what is essentially a one way conversation, it would be better, obviously, to talk through these things. However, I'll give you my best general recommendations and hopefully some find the mark!

I think that given your time constraints, the notion that you can train MORE is probably a bit pie in the sky - not gonna happen. So instead, thinking purely pragmatically, you need to focus instead on getting MORE out of the CURRENT time you have available. Obviously you have to make time to do longer riding, your spinning sessions of 45 minutes are great and they give you good variety, but I think leading up to the 94.7 you will have to find a day per weekend where you get up to 3 hours of riding. But that's something for July/August, when you should start systematically increasing the distance you cycle from the current 60 minutes to about 3 hours about 2 weeks before the race.

But what I would do until then is make sure that you are sensible in how you use your spinning classes. those could be quite high intensity if you wanted them to be, but they often, in my experience don't translate well onto the road, because the feel of the road is so different, different resistance, rolling friction etc. So I think that your two out door rides are critical. one of them could be a quality session, where you find a long hill, that takes about 10 minutes to ride up and then you repeat that climb 4 or 5 times, with a roll down to recover. That will take 60 minutes in total, but it will be 40 minutes of hard riding up hill and it will improve your climbing ability. I think that this is all I would alter at the moment, because it's still a way to go before the race in November.

What you might also consider, perhaps in a month or so is taking one of your spinning sessions and putting it on the road, so that you do three road rides a week and three spinning sessions. Just doing a third ride on the road, even i it is an easier ride that doesn't seem overly fatiguing will help your road riding ability a lot.

As for the technical things, the band is good to use, you should focus on strengthening all the joints, especially in the hips, which can often be a problem in cyclists. For example, tying the band around a table leg and doing exercises where you stand on one leg and perform a 'scissor' movement with your other leg is a good one - sorry for the desciption, it's difficult to explain in words, no pictures or demonstrations!

Finally, for the bike, is it a mountain bike or road bike? Because I would rather go in and pick up tyre liners - this is a fairly think inner lining for the tyre that prevents those little punctures, but it's not really very heavy. That foam adds quite a lot of weight and it isn't always that useful in my experience. Tyre liners work well, though I'm not sure if they make them for the tyres of road bikes, you would have to look into that.

Good luck!

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