Sunday 2 February 2014

Amping it up

For the last few years, I've been riding about 150km a week. That has been the most I've been able to do without collapsing in a heap at the end of every week, and being able to contribute to running a household full of kids.

Each year, I'd slowly lose weight and gain fitness - and then I'd have a month or two off due to illness, injury, holidays or a change in work or family circumstances. The weight would pile back on, since I'd still eat like I was riding every day.

Back in early December, I decided I'd try to amp it up.

For starters, I'd ride right through Christmas - that would ensure I didn't booze much (very hard to ride in summer with a hangover) and I'd balance the Christmas feasting with burning energy. That worked.

I also planned on cranking up my mileage by 33%, with a stretch target of 66%. I don't want to see the weight slowly dribbling away - I'd like to see it drop off in a hurry.

I've been able to do that too, although the extra time on the bike has cut into the blogging. Blogging for me is a luxury - it only gets done after the family is fed, the kitchen is clean, the clothes are washed, the gardening is done, the kids are read to etc etc. All that bloody housework has to be done first, and hours are finite.

The only way for me to do extra miles each week is to ride on the weekends. I used to leave the weekends alone - mainly to recover from doing 10 shortish rides during the week. The body needs some downtime. It's had less downtime this year - there have been times when I have ridden for 20 days straight - and it hasn't seemed to bother me. I was expecting that I'd be getting very stiff, sore, flat or tired, but that hasn't been a problem so far.

Now is the time to be doing this - the weather is warm and dry, so motivation is not an issue. It will be a lot harder to keep the miles up once it turns cold and wet. There is no problem with doing the base 150km each week - one has to get to and from work. The extras will be a challenge.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The extra miles at the weekend can make a huge difference. I think. I've read recently about a new fad for interval training, so I could be wrong. Most of the serious road riders I know do big miles at the weekend at a reasonable pace - 28 to 30kmh. The young hotshots seem to do around 32 to 35kmh on Beach Road. I'm not sure how far they go. The fittest 86-year-old I've ever met was doing 60 to 80km or so most days with a 100km and even an occasional 200km at the weekend when he was into his 80s. He looks like a fit 60-year-old with a six-pack. When I was doing 100 to 160km rides every weekend, with 25 to 30km most lunch times, I was the healthiest I've ever been. I was 60. Long and slow is the key. It's the hours that make the difference.

Of course, you need an understanding wife :-)

Give it a go and see what happens. Best of luck.