With next week being Bike to Work week in Vancouver and thought it was good timing to how I try to fit in commuting into my weekly training. I have had more than one person say how do you train for racing while working and having a family.
First answer is a supportive family! However what I also do is try and incorporate getting to work and other things into my training in order to be time efficient in my day. Below I have detailed out how it works for me. Logistics is a whole other post but even though it may look complicated with a bit of trial and error and thinking the logistics of bike commuting to work are definitely solvable.
|Is this what riding 96km in 1 Hour looks like?|
Time Free Training
In my own example it works out to a lot of what I call "time free training". This is how it works for me;
Riding to Work = 40 Minutes each way
Public Transit = 60 Minutes each way
Driving = 30 Minutes each way
So compared to driving I get 80 minutes of training in for a cost of 20 minutes. For me that is pretty good return. Translate that into riding 3 times a week for 1 hour I get 4 hours of training of which 3 hours is "time free"
Bike Commuting is Not the Only Option - Run Commuting
Run Commuting is another option - normally best combined with bike commuting in the am or vice versa. For me this is one way to get in a longer midweek run. For example next week I have a work function on Wed Night so plan to ride to work in the am then catch transit home post a few beers then in the am I will run to work and ride home that day.
I also drop off and pickup my little one at preschool two days a week. Preschool is only 900m away but the the run there and back for drop off and pickup adds up to 3.8km. Not a huge amount but all adds up. My in-laws live 3km away and once a week or so we go there for dinner. I often run there vs go in the car while my wife drives then quickly change upon arrival. All in all these little runs add up to about an extra 10 to 15km of mileage every week.
Run or Ride to Workouts
Another thing I do is often run or ride to the pool or gym. This gets me a little more work in while at the same time getting to the workout. The secret to this I have found is to take the "commute" part really easy to avoid impacting the main workout.
For example am now running to the Gym with the stroller as my Gym (Richmond Oval) has child minding for my toddler. So tomorrow's plan is to run to and back from the Gym (15km total) do a weights workout then play with my little one teaching her how to play soccer.
Being able to quickly transition from one workout to the next does save time.
What type of Workouts
One of the common barriers I hear about commuting to work for people pursuing athletic endeavors are when I discuss the possibility is that is just "Junk Mileage".
I contend that you need to be organised in your commute especially by bike and work out what you want the rides to achieve. If you are working with a coach this is something you can get guidance from them on or if you are self coached like I currently am then you need to have a quick think about objectives.
My commutes normally have a mixture of the following objectives;
- Get to where I need to go safely - this applies for every ride. For example investing in good lights is an investment that everyone should make for training and commuting. How to ride safe is a whole other post but be prepared to invest some thought and dollars in being visible and staying safe.
- Recovery Ride - After a hard session the day before I often take my ride to work as a recovery ride. Often it is easy to think that you are not riding that hard on your commute, however from my experience riding with a power meter sometimes the data can be revealing.
These recovery rides can be a good opportunity to work on technique and areas you want to improve. For example I tend to mash a little and ride a low cadence. So I often leave the bike in the small ring and try and spin to the office
- Short intervals - Doing 20 minutes hard on a commute is often impossible. With stop signs, intersections traffic etc trying to plan that in a commute is a recipe for failure and disaster. So if I need to get in some quality I tend to focus on 1 or 2 minutes intervals. The key to this is knowing what parts of your commute are suitable and safe for this and being willing to adapt based on the conditions of the day. I have had some hard commutes on just with doing 2 or 4 all out 1 minute efforts on the bike.
- Extend the commute - I try to do this twice a week (I tend to ride to work 3 times a week (= 6 rides)) even if it is only an extra 20 or 30 minutes I try to ride past a friendly training route and do some longer intervals (say 2 x 10 min or 1 x 20 min). For me this is a time effective way to get in some extra mileage.
An easy recovery ride to work from this week
Make it a habit
One of the best things I have achieved in 2013 is making riding to work my norm. This is now to the point that when I say I am going to work my 2 year old expects that I am riding my bike and asks "why are you driving" if daddy is taking the car.
We are currently a one car family and me riding to work on a regular basis makes this possible. Looking at the BCAA estimates on the cost of car ownership not owning a second car saves us around $9500 a year. Now I know that is not possible for all people but while we can continue to make it work we will. Even taking out bike maintenance, the odd taxi or transit trip I am confident I am out in front form both a fitness and financial perspective from riding to work.
In the End it All adds Up
Everyone is unique so what this adds up to is all down to the individual. For myself I have detailed what an average week looks like and how commuting fall into that.
- 96km in 1 Hour - I work in the office 3 to 4 days and ride on average 3 of those days (at home on others). This equates to about 96km (4hrs) of "commuting" for a time cost vs driving of approximately 1 hour.
- 10km Run Commuting - At a minimum I normally do about 10km (1 hour) of run commuting (preschool drop off/pick up and to dinner once a week). This is essentially "free training" time for me
- 30km of Running to Workouts - This one fluctuates but roughly 30km (2.5hours) a week I spend running to workouts. Vs driving this likely has a time cost of 1.5 hours. However this doesn't factor in the time saved by "prepping for 2 workouts at the same time. I also do this with my daughter so also get to combine some singing and seeing the world time in vs driving and on many occasion will have a playground stop or similar on the journey.
So adding it up each week on average I get 7.5 hours of training (96km of Riding and 40km of Running) in for a time cost of 2.5 hours. This works out from a pure time perspective to be 3x return on my time.
Considering on average in 2013 thus far I trained 14 hours a week commuting forms over half my weekly training volume for minimal time cost. Meaning that the concept of training on Average 2 hours a day is a lot less daunting form a logistics possibility.
I will look to cover logistics and the like in another post but for now that is it. As always feel free to hit me up with any questions either on this post or on twitter at twitter.com/jeremyhopwood
Have a great week and for those in Vancouver hope to see you out riding to work next week.