What are Junk Rides

When you go out for a training ride, do you end up doing a Junk Ride?

I know a couple athletes that can ride at the front of a group ride, but can never seem to finish well in a race.

They do several of the group rides during the week, and 1 or 2 on the weekend. Then when I see them riding alone, they are going so hard they can barely pick their head up.
They end up doing Junk rides. They ride at the same level on each ride, they never have any peaks or troughs.

Junk rides can be rides that you go on that don’t have a set goal before hand. There isn’t a training plan in the background that this ride fits into, and you do the same thing each week.
NOW, don’t get me wrong, listening to what the body says is always a good thing, but when you don’t listen to what the body says and always push hard, then you may very well end up in the junk zone, and this is why.

What tends to happen is that some athletes think that they have to go out and kill themselves on every ride. Although initially there can be significant gains for beginner riders, it is usually because they don’t ride as often as experienced riders, therefore, they are getting more rest in between the hard sessions. But more isn’t always better. And as you start riding more you start increasing the number of hard days and decreasing the number of rest/recovery days.

As cyclists become more adapted to cycling and train more often, the Easy ride should become just that, EASY! Let me say that another way to emphasize this point – Easy rides have to be Very Easy! No climbs, no hills, the flatter, the better. Use the time to talk w/ friends, check out the scenery, and work on your pedal stroke and cadence.
Now, that you have done that, THEN you can train HARDER. You have to have those valleys in the cycle to also have those Peaks. Otherwise your training line doesn’t have peaks and valleys, but becomes flatter.

Some people do too many unnecessary base miles. Some people do too many hard efforts all year. This is where getting a VO2Max Test will show you exactly what heart rate range to do your intervals to get optimal performance.

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