One of the keys to improving as a cyclist is experimenting with your training. You never know if small changes might make a big difference.
The mainstay of my training is my cycle-commute. About 23km each way, and taking about an hour each way, its a great way to rack up some decent mileage each week. Plus the hour-long length is long enough to have a good training effect, and mix in some drills, intervals, or other bits and pieces to aid in my fitness.
Normally, I try and commute 3-4 days each week. Since coming back from my injury, I've been struggling to do more than 2 days in a row. My legs have just not been able to handle it. Generally, the 2nd day my legs will be pretty sluggish, with the homeward commute being a real sufferfest. I then need at least a day to recover.
Its been bugging me that I haven't been able to go past two days in a row - so this month, I decided to try something different...
I have started just commuting one way each day. Take this week as an example - Monday I rode to work & caught the bus home. Tuesday - bus to work, and cycle home. Same for Wednesday & Thursday. And today (Friday), I finished by cycling both ways - don't want to leave my bike at work all weekend!!
The difference in how my legs have felt has been pretty significant. On none of the days have they felt sluggish or burnt out. This has had the great upside of improving the quality of each ride. Even on the Friday afternoon ride home, when I expected to be hurting more, my legs felt terrific - enough so that I added a bit of intensity to it (knowing I would be off the bike all Saturday).
Initially, I was reticent to try this strategy - it means I'm doing about 130km/week of cycle-commuting, instead of about 175km/week. However, having tried it out, the increased quality of each commute means I'm getting much more value from each ride. And being able to ride every day of the week seems to be conditioning my fitness into a much better state as well.
Even though it'll make it a bit harder to reach my 500km goal for January, I'm going to continue this strategy for the rest of the month and see how it goes. So far, it seems to be a perfect fit for the 'base-training' focus for this month, and I will hopefully be able to push myself a bit harder in the coming months.