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684 Views 14 Replies Latest reply: Jun 21, 2007 5:30 PM by Linda Patch
mbannon Rookie 1,542 posts since
Dec 14, 2007
Currently Being Moderated

Jun 21, 2007 1:38 PM

Reconciling "the plan" with "the reality"

The plan, of course, is for every workout to have a purpose and not just keep repeating the same workout over and over and over.  Vary the stresses.  A long easy workout, then a short hard one, then a focus on technique, etc.  This applies to swimming, biking, and running.  Swim and run workouts are not a problem, but my biking has issues.  This is also where I hope to gain the most ground over the next year.

The reality is that with 2 small children and a wife (who also runs) working almost full time, the best way (really the only way) for me to get solid bike time throughout the week is to ride to work. It's 15 miles each way, so with traffic lights it takes about an hour. I typically break the week up by driving to work, riding home, then riding back to work the next day, etc. That gives me 30-75 miles per week, then I have the weekend. The problem is that every commute ride is the same workout. I can try to go easy, or try to hammer, but when you're in traffic you don't have a lot of flexibility. It is essentially an hour of 1-2 mile intervals with various length recoveries at the stop lights.

I would love to hear some thoughts on how to make those two realities mesh, or whether it's even something I should worry about. I worry that my legs are getting very good at short sprint intervals, not so good when there's no recovery. In fact, I noticed this at my last race. By the end of the pancake flat Oly-distance ride, I was really aching to sit up, stop pedaling, and just let my legs catch their breath.

Ideas? Thoughts? Suggestions? Stop bugging everyone with problems that have no solution, accept reality, and make the best of it? <-- but how??


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  • dragonsrouges Rookie 1,004 posts since
    Aug 16, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Jun 21, 2007 1:53 PM (in response to mbannon)
    Re: Reconciling "the plan" with "the reality"

    I doubt that there's any way I'd be able to train for 3 sports if I was a parent (never mind single parent for some of you out there) AND work a 40+ 15 hours (travelling) work week to feed my kids. 

    I'd have to quit training and settle for running on weekends. I just don't see how the hours add up in the week, I barely have time to train now and I don't have to raise kids nor a family to take care of.

    I don't know how you people do it!

  • dragonsrouges Rookie 1,004 posts since
    Aug 16, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Jun 21, 2007 1:57 PM (in response to mbannon)
    Re: Reconciling "the plan" with "the reality"

    But in response to your question, you probably have to discuss this with your s/o! 

    Maybe add an hour to your work day to be able to take a 2 hour lunch to train then go home and be done for the day?

  • jroden Rookie 1,350 posts since
    Dec 11, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Jun 21, 2007 1:59 PM (in response to mbannon)
    Re: Reconciling "the plan" with "the reality"

    Can you get up with the rooster and ride the trainer two days a week and drive into work and maybe do a little run at lunch?

    Yes, it's dreary, but you can do blocks of tempo and intervals with unbroken intensity and be able to measure your efforts very well.

    In the end, your quest for three mph will be about raising your at on the bike, developing a better position and learning to relax while pushing the 13 or 14 cog on the flats for an hour, you can really move in that direction with the trainer.

    In the late winter and spring, I'd be thinking about some lights to do that block of endurance work you need to carry you through the season.

  • gwhealth Rookie 14 posts since
    Dec 13, 2006
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Jun 21, 2007 2:05 PM (in response to mbannon)
    Re: Reconciling "the plan" with "the reality"

    I feel your pain.  My wife is very active, we have two young children (with a third on the way - are we nuts?), desk job . . . sometimes it's catch as catch can.  I'm new to multisport but I've always taken great pains to keep my workouts interesting/productive.  So, I'll chime in with some thoughts:

    Commute: Can you vary your route some days, maybe leave a little earlier, get home a little later? Go up and down your gear chain and vary your resistance - experiment. Throw on a backpack and add some kind of weight. I use a weighted vest for things like lunges, stadium stairs, etc. Not cycling specific but just helps mix things up.

    Ultimately, it's a balancing act and it sounds like you are already doing very well.  Don't be too hard on yourself.  Father, husband, friend, athlete.  It's tough to be on all four podiums!

  • melistic Amateur 777 posts since
    Oct 11, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Jun 21, 2007 2:17 PM (in response to mbannon)
    Re: Reconciling "the plan" with "the reality"

    I bet if you really looked at a map you could find several route that take you to work.  When I 'found' the backroads it made a difference.
    or
    if you drive...would that leave more time in your day to fit an hour in elsewhere
    or
    do you and the Mrs. have other friends w/ small kids. You could swap 2 hours here and there. The nice thing about this is, they don't have to be active friends (or even your friends/just the kids) they could see a movie/ y'all could train.
    or
    the kids have to go to bed at some point. Tonight the sun doesn't set till 10 p.m. Monday nights for you, Thursday for her
    ...

  • Linda Patch Rookie 232 posts since
    Sep 26, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    6. Dec 22, 2007 4:32 AM (in response to mbannon)
    Re: Reconciling "the plan" with "the reality"

    I have four children (and at one time they were all little  ), DH is uber-biker and works full time, and I run my own consulting biz. The only way we could figure it out, is to get up and get out really early. Then you can ride your intervals uninterrupted with little or no traffic. Maybe you could do that on your interval days, and ride to work on your easy days to get saddle time.

    Another effective way to work the watts is to ride the trainer or CT at least once a week, year round, with a solid set of progressive workouts. Many coaches have triathletes on the CT weekly no matter what the weather. You can do the trainer workouts early, or after you get home. Early in the a.m. you can just saunter to the basement in your jammies, do the workout and still have breakfast with the fam. Or after you get home you're still "around," just downstairs. You can still use your easy days to ride to work.

    DH and I did get in the habit of going to bed early to support the habit of riding early. And while the kids are little, they go to bed early too.

    In all my years of doing this stuff, it's all I could figure out.

    [http://This message has been edited by RunLin (edited Jun-21-2007).|http://This message has been edited by RunLin (edited Jun-21-2007).]

  • BrettBH Rookie 40 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    7. Jun 21, 2007 2:53 PM (in response to mbannon)
    Re: Reconciling "the plan" with "the reality"

    Ditto with Runlin.
    I have two small ones at home. Most days I get up at 5 am to get 1 and half to two hours before getting home for a family breakfast. Catch another hour right after work on alternating days. Do the same Sat mornings and I'm usually home before the kids even wake up. Not optimal, but it's the best I can do at this point.

  • 3chilipeppers Rookie 503 posts since
    Nov 3, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    9. Jun 21, 2007 3:36 PM (in response to mbannon)
    Re: Reconciling "the plan" with "the reality"

    I don't own a trainer either.  I live in Texas, so it is rare that I couldn't ride outside (only if it is raining really hard).  I hate the treadmill, so I think I'd hate a trainer, plus I have no room for one.  I think riding to work is a fine workout.  On the weekends just vary your workout some, and it will be fine.  My DH would ride his bike to work everyday if he had a safe route.  There just isn't one.  He can get within about a 1/2 mile, but not quite there.  I'm all for riding to work -- save the environment!  Kudos to you for fitting it in any way you can.  I don't know how you do it either!!

    Kelli

  • tri_coach06 Rookie 521 posts since
    Aug 14, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    10. Jun 21, 2007 3:47 PM (in response to mbannon)
    Re: Reconciling "the plan" with "the reality"

    A trainer is probably the single most important piece of gear you can  have in your training arsonal. It allows you to do interval training without interuptions and is awesome for those recovery rides when the schedule says 60 minutes HR 1 low 2.

    If you want to get faster, I strongly suggest you get a trainer, a few spinerval videos and suffer. Linda mentioned the computrainer. Expensive, yes, but I have not seen a single athlete use one and not increase speed and endurance. It truly is bought speed.

    You can also sit the kids in front of the box and set up next to them and ride. Watch a movie, read them a book, play a board game and let them move the parts.

    Sheldon

  • jroden Rookie 1,350 posts since
    Dec 11, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    11. Jun 21, 2007 3:57 PM (in response to mbannon)
    Re: Reconciling "the plan" with "the reality"

    I have had really good luck with a Tacx flow trainer that provides watts (of sorts) cadence and a settable resistence regardless of speed or gearing plus a "hill" mode.  It's cheaper and more limited than computrainer and more expensive than conventional trainer, but really helps you learn about your body and target your workouts better.  I went from suffering through April races in the pack to riding in the breaks and being way stronger, despite being older.  I really believe in using the trainer, I intend to do a block of trainer work in September just for cyclocross, it's not just for the winter.

    You make a succession of deals with the devil to get faster on the bike, riding a trainer on a sunny day may be one of them.

  • tri_coach06 Rookie 521 posts since
    Aug 14, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    12. Jun 21, 2007 4:16 PM (in response to mbannon)
    Re: Reconciling "the plan" with "the reality"

    quote:


    Originally posted by jroden:



    You make a succession of deals with the devil to get faster on the bike, riding a trainer on a sunny day may be one of them.


     



    True dat!!!

    S

  • hobey014 Rookie 887 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    13. Jun 21, 2007 4:40 PM (in response to mbannon)
    Re: Reconciling "the plan" with "the reality"

    I hear ya Matt. These days I keep wondering which end is up with my training and DH's marathon training and DS's swim lessons and...

    Anyway, I've been able to get a lot of bike miles in by riding at lunch this year. But I work out in the boondocks so it's at most a 3 minute ride to some of the country roads in Washington county. I know you're downtown but you could try biking through the Pearl to 30 and towards St. John/Sauvie Island...minimal stoplights, some rollers, and a bike lane on both sides. Could also open up some different routes for you to get home.

  • Linda Patch Rookie 232 posts since
    Sep 26, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    14. Jun 21, 2007 5:30 PM (in response to mbannon)
    Re: Reconciling "the plan" with "the reality"

    quote:


    Originally posted by imfl03:

    A trainer is probably the single most important piece of gear you can have in your training arsonal. It allows you to do interval training without interuptions and is awesome for those recovery rides when the schedule says 60 minutes HR 1 low 2.

    If you want to get faster, I strongly suggest you get a trainer, a few spinerval videos and suffer. Linda mentioned the computrainer. Expensive, yes, but I have not seen a single athlete use one and not increase speed and endurance. It truly is bought speed.

    You can also sit the kids in front of the box and set up next to them and ride. Watch a movie, read them a book, play a board game and let them move the parts.

    Sheldon


     



    It was a real eye-opener when CC and my current coach assured me that every pro triathlete is on the CT at least 1x/week all through the training cycles. After 3 years with one, I can see why. Plus, the CT (or regular trainer) comes in handy to fit in workouts as S describedintense or easy.<br /><br />The CT is singularly the best money my DH and I have spent on any gear (except our bikes  !http://www.coolrunning.com/forums/smile.gif|src=http://www.coolrunning.com/forums/smile.gif|border=0!). Esp with my coach who builds a great deal of his biking program around itso for me, it's not been an expensive toy, but a hugely effective training tool.

    Now I think the 2nd best $ I have spent is on this Triggerpoint system that is helping me get my injury better. It has made an ENORMOUS difference in my recovery. So far that's now #2.  Don't get me started. I sound like an ad.

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