I had naively thought that my commute hours would be adding much needed saddle time but it’s adding nothing.
After a few rides in I’m reminded that there’s no way you can impose mugh structure due to the stop start nature of the journey. It’s not going to give me any miles or the gains I wanted but I have had a few thoughts on what to do to get added benefit.
1. Speed Work – very few cyclist at my level know how to pedal properly. The idea I’m told is that it should be like ‘scraping shit off your shoe’. Basically pulling down, across then up; engaging your hamstrings on the last part. A good way to improve this is by riding with one leg so that you’re focused on getting the maximum efficiency from each stroke. When you improve your stroke efficiency you can expect a reduction in heart rate of about 5 bpm to keep the same speed which is a significant reduction in effort which would make a difference over a long course.
2. Sprints – I have a few decent stretches on the way to work that can afford me a good few 20 second sprints where I get out the seat and really go for it, trying to get my heart rate up to max with a short powerful burst before calming down and waiting for my breathing to recover before trying again. Not always easy if there’s traffic.
3. Intervals – harder to achieve if you have traffic lights on your route but there are some stretches that would allow me a few longer burst where I’d be looking to get up to zone 4 heart rate for 5/6 minutes then recovering for 2 to 3 minutes, if I’m going in early when the road is quieter I try to race sections to lights.
4. Recovery – just using the small chain ring on a nice comfortable spin is great for the legs after a long ride the day before, especially good for beginners or old people like myself…
5. More Hills Please – I’m lucky enough to have a 12% gradient road (Canonbie Road in Honor Oak) nearby, not hugely long but I’ve added this to my route, I’m going to start adding LAPS of this so that Fred Whitton isn’t too much of a shock to the system…
Any other ideas gratefully received.