From PJ’s to Spandex

Sluggish morning?  Count me in!  I was still in my pajamas by noon, knowing very well I was due for another short ride today.  Temperature hovered at 3C, still not my ideal long-distance temperature yet.  Finally at 1pm, I got my acts together.  Somehow, somewhere, my legs erupted energy.  I was in the zone and completely focused on maintaining a quick cadence.  I wanted to push it until my halfway point.  At 16km, I achieved a non-drafting PB averaging at 27.9km/hr.  I’m no stranger to this route, yet have never hit this pace even on a hot summer day.

Midpoint. 28km/hr; 16km

I continued on after a quick break and was hit with some icy headwind.  Pace slowed.  I started searching for beautiful scenery which usually helps keep me motivated, except the trees were bare and the brown grass was sad.

Remnants of winter

The earlier pace wasn’t maintained but I’m satisfied with the final time.  I’m a “24kph-kinda-gal”, so this will do for today!

Final Result. 25km/hr; 35km

I read an article this morning that hit me real hard on the latest Get Out There Magazine (Mar/Apr’13 issue).  The article titled “The Need for Speed” talks of the latest popularity trend to tackle long distances.  Simply finishing a marathon has become more of an accomplishment than a speedy 5K.  I can do neither but that’s not the point here!  I consider myself distance-oriented and always feel the need to reserve energy.  I enjoy long rides, 100km is my favourite.  Shorter rides are just short – I return home too early, what do I do with my time?  But I need to stop focusing on just logging the miles.  Quoting from the article, “To run faster, you can’t just keep doing long-slow jogs … at some point, you have to do faster, speed oriented work to raise your anaerobic threshold”.  Unfortunately, to say I’ll shorten my rides from now on will be a terrible horrible lie once the weather warms up.  I might as well prepare for failure right now.  Now what?  I’m thinking of simply integrating short distance speed work into long rides by incorporating bursts of quick cadence.  Sounds simple but to be honest, I don’t do that enough.


What do you prefer: Distance or Speed?

15 thoughts on “From PJ’s to Spandex

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  1. I also love distance but find that the only way I improve is with intervals and short/fast speed sessions. So I’m trying to work speed during the week and still enjoy my distance rides on the weekends 🙂 Brrr… you should move south!

    1. That’s not a bad idea to leave weekdays for speed. I can’t wait until we have longer days when it’s still bright out at 9pm. That would have me fit in those sessions. I dream of living in the South ….

  2. I like both – though I can only find time for 16 miles a day during the week, every other Tuesday i ride with the advanced group for 32 miles – I drop somewhere between 15&20 miles at an average pace around 23 and finish at about 21. Solo I’m good for a 20 mph average for around 35 miles. My best ever was a century (miles) in November – the first 50 were around 24 mph average, the next 35 at 22. I bonked with about ten to go and still finished above 21 average – and there were only seven in our group. I really loved the first sixty or seventy miles but by seventy-five I was hurting. Solo, my best 200k was around 18 mph or 29 kph. I’m working this year to stay with the lead group on Tuesday nights which I’ve never done… Have to see how that goes.

    Great post.

    1. holy geez, I got A LOT of work ahead of me. Is the 200k the longest distance you’ve done? Those guys on your Tuesday group are crazy fast! Good luck!

      1. Yes, last year was my first ‘big mile’ year. Prior to that 35 miles was my longest. I did one 100 k followed by a 90 miler then two 100’s then the 200 km and then two more 100 milers. Unfortunately, the guys I ride with can do a 400 miler in four straight days (DALMAC) – I have a ways to go to catch them. One day, one ride at a time. 😉

        This year’s long ride will be the one day ride across Michigan – 150 miles. I love long rides.

  3. I defintely prefer distance!! I love being out riding– it’s relaxing, therapeutic and fun. When I get home, i’m soooo sad and wish I was still riding!

  4. Good on you for getting out in the cold! We still have snow everywhere here so I cna’t take my bike out yet…
    Also, as other commenters mentionned, maybe fitting in some speed work during the week would help?

  5. Congrats on the PB! Usually the higher the pace, the shorter the distance I want to ride : ) But I like to do both… vary between speed and distance and sometimes both. Overall I like to maintain a minimum of 30 km/hr whatever the distance, but if I’m short on time, I like to hammer it for a 35km ride and go for a record : )

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