Sunday, November 29, 2015

How many miles do I typically spin during a normal session?

I've been asked this question in same manner many times over the years.  The short answer, "0" I'm still in the exact same place that I started.  I do often get of the bike and teach during class, during which time I'm walking around the room, I'd say on a good day I'd call that 1/4 mile.

Okay, enough with the stupid answers, I know what you're really meaning.  I generally say 10-18 miles, and that's based off of what pace I normally ride when I'm on my real bike on the road.

Having said that I had a friend that was doing her first "triathlon".  I put that in quotes because it was one of those indoor events that gym's sometime sponsor to get their members motivated.  The triathlon consisted of 30 minutes in the pool, 30 minutes on a stationary bike and 30 minutes on the track running.  When she finished she proudly told me what she placed, and they told me she put on 20 miles.

Whoa, girl!  Did they ask you to sign up for the Tour de France.  You're peddling at 40mph.  (Reality check).

If you have a bike that reports distance, great! You're looking for repeatability not a real-world measurement.  If you get off that stationary bike after an hour, and think that you've done something north of 20 miles you need to question the validity of the measurement.  I occasionally train with nationally ranked duathlete friend of mine.  Our typical route from his house is mostly flat.  I'll set the pace, but at the half way point we'll switch so he can push me.  Maybe pull me, is a better way to say it.  He'll bump the pace to 22-25mph.  Going that pace, I'm good for maybe 60 minutes before I'm hating life and my buddy.

What's a better measure is power, and that is only as good as the bike your on as well.  If you're fortunate enough to be in a studio that has watt meters, and you can get the same bike each time (Spinners at my club are real territorial about their bikes) look and see what your total watts is.  During a Strength ride it will most likely be higher than during an Interval ride, while your mileage will be reversed, Interval > Strength.  Unless your on a really high end bike like the Spinner Blade Ion, I wouldn't read too much into the actual wattage number, it's relative to the bike.  But what you can do is check that versus your next ride and the one after that, etc... to see if you're loading properly, and not cheating.

If you're not in a club with that type of technology on the bike, no worries.  Get yourself a heart rate monitor and then you can ride any bike and measure if your physical exertion is on par with your normal workouts, or not.

"If you measure it, it gets done."  So whether you're measuring calories with a heart rate monitor or watts on a bike, or even virtual miles, what's important is that you're doing it, and working towards some goal.