Training vs Commuting & Travel Without Cars

  • Creator
  • #10827

    Hello folks,

    My wife & I are trying the one car thing. There have been many upsides, but there are some major challenges when it comes to training.

    First, commuting fifty miles a week is not hard but I’ve found it taxes my ability to run & work hard on strength workouts, and while it’s exercise the specificity is poor. Certainly if I was already an aerobic hero, ten miles a day would be a rounding error, but I’m not quite there yet.

    Second, many mountainous trails are a short twenty or thirty minute drive away, but a harrowing two hour bike ride up narrow canyon roads.

    I am just wondering if other folks have much luck training hard without depending on an automobile, and how they do it. (The lucky folks who have a hundred miles of trail literally at their doorstep excepted) I have thought some of this might be aided by an electric-assist bike, letting the rider get in a light recovery session while also covering twenty miles. But it’s not perfect.

  • Participant
    Colin Simon on #10829

    Why not use your commute as training?

    Monday: bike to work, leave bike at work with spare clothes, run home
    Tuesday: run to work, bike home

    Perhaps this is less optimal than always “getting vert,” but I cannot imagine that a few flat running miles are bad for most folks here.

    pshyvers1 on #10830

    Thanks, I am definitely thinking about doing that! The main catch is running takes even more out of you than biking, so I’d be no better off for the strength work. But, perhaps strategic use of the bus on strength days could make it work…

    I do like the thought of leaving the bike at work, I should have thought of that. While running one-way should be fine, I was a little apprehensive about running both ways.

    Definitely feel like I should be getting vertical in somehow, although maybe as my weekly volume increases the eventual solution there would just be to extend the commute and lap in the foothills on the way to work.

    Colin Simon on #10844

    Running should take higher priority than those strength workouts. If the running is putting a serious damper on your strength workouts, that suggests you’re getting a lot out of it. I would do that and make sure you don’t injure yourself.

    Anonymous on #10847

    As Colin says: If you running is leaving your legs pretty beat up then you are getting a strength training effect from running. Be sure you are not running to fast or too much either. If you do not have a good recent running background you need to ease into running much to avoid injury.

    You, as are we all, are limited by your time and energy constraints. Bear in mind that the reason pros train the way they do (east, sleep, train) is that it optimizes their results. Any deviation from this formula of specific training and maximized recovery is going to be a compromise. How much of a compromise is up to you and your life style choices. We have some coaching clients who, at first, want to add a heavy training load on top of their several times/week tennis and golf games. These extra activities like tennis and walking 18 holes of golf will probably not add to their fitness appreciably but will definitely add to their fatigue. In the end they need to decide what is most important to them.

    Eventually you could build your work capacity to the point where you could commute and train. You’re no there yet. I suggest riding or running to/from work but not every day of the week. Maybe start with 1x/week of ride/run commute and over months build to 2x/week separated by some bus days.

    Just ease into this like you do any other changes in training.


    pshyvers1 on #10851

    Thanks for weighing in guys! It’s more like the biking is impacting the running & strength, by draining my energy. I feel good, but I try to run after commuting by bike, and I hit the “wall” only a few miles in. I try to do strength, and I can’t muster the power to lift even moderate weight. But, I see the advice is the same- prioritize running first, strength second, biking third- and structure the week & commute however it takes to make that happen.

    pshyvers on #17193

    Wanted to revisit this briefly- Ultimately, I got an e-bike and it has been great. Riding around town, to work & so forth, becomes solidly recovery level. Things are moving, heart is pumping, breath is coming warm, but I could do it every waking minute. One day biking unassisted might be like that for me, but for now the electric helps biking instead of driving fit into the picture.

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