Difference Between Riding and Training

There is a time for training, and there is a time for riding. And they both have their place in the training cycle.

Training is a very structured event. You go out on your bike and do a very specific type of riding. It's going to involve some intervals, some cadence, some very specific things that elicit a very specific adaptation.

It's very difficult to do those types of rides in a group, because you're at the mercy of the pack. Most of the time, real training is best done by yourself, or in small groups, especially if you have teammates who are doing the erxact same type of training.

That's an important difference. Many times, when you're just going out for a ride, you're not training. The typical amateur cylists says, "Oh, I'm going out for a training ride this weekend."

If you had a specific plan to use that event, like a group ride, for a specific training purpose, then you can call that a training ride. If you're just going out to ride in a group, and you're going to practice like it's a race, then there is some value there because you're practicing your racing and your racing rhythm. But there may not be as clear a benefit as from a real training sesson.

If you're just going our and riding with friends, that's a recreational ride. Obviously if you're a beginner, you're going to get improvements and adaptations from every time that you go out on the bike.

You can benefit from that, but just going out for rides with friends usually doesn't elicit a very good training response. Because if there's no plan, you can go too easy, you can go too hard or too long...you're kind of at the mercy of the recreation of it.

Often there's no pre-plan around this type of ride, and there's no real purpose to it. There's nothing wrong with riding like this, but it's important to distingjuish the three basic categories:

1. Pure training.

2. Using a group ride as a training ride, with a specific purpose.

3. Just riding your bicycle for recreation.

In a monthly structure, you can use all of those to your advantage. Unstructured rides can be for recovery, and can also be mentally good for you, but the whole point is for people to understand that there are distinctions, and those distinctions are important. Then they can understand and apply each one of those when it's most appropriate.

at Sunday, March 16, 2008  


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