General Discussion Triathlon Talk » cadence vs speed Rss Feed  
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2013-06-14 7:40 AM


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Subject: cadence vs speed
When can you sacrifice cadence count for speed? With a cadence count of 85 my average speed is 16 to 17 mph, when I go to the lowest gear my cadence is 30 with an average speed of 24 mph. What should I focus on more???


2013-06-14 7:44 AM
in reply to: Reagan2707

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Subject: RE: cadence vs speed

Originally posted by Reagan2707 When can you sacrifice cadence count for speed? With a cadence count of 85 my average speed is 16 to 17 mph, when I go to the lowest gear my cadence is 30 with an average speed of 24 mph. What should I focus on more???

its a balancing act... with your 85 RPM / 17 MPH you could go for hours, with your 30 RPM / 24 MPH you'll only go for minutes.

2013-06-14 7:52 AM
in reply to: Reagan2707

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Subject: RE: cadence vs speed

How are you accounting for effort as 85 and 30 feel quite different? Given the values listed, it's likely that you're just simply working harder with the bigger gear.

Also, you went to the highest gear for the 30 rpm.

2013-06-14 7:58 AM
in reply to: Reagan2707

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Subject: RE: cadence vs speed
For me, since my knees have injuries before, I prefer low resist and mid-high cadence.
2013-06-14 9:05 AM
in reply to: Reagan2707

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Subject: RE: cadence vs speed
Originally posted by Reagan2707

When can you sacrifice cadence count for speed? With a cadence count of 85 my average speed is 16 to 17 mph, when I go to the lowest gear my cadence is 30 with an average speed of 24 mph. What should I focus on more???


You have to work on gaining speed WITH cadence. It is an acquired skill. You just don't start riding with high cadence have be as fast as you were before. It took me a month to gain my speed back when I switched from low cadence to high cadence. Of course, I was a fairly new rider back then, so my learning curve might have been longer than someone who has been cycling for awhile.

Keep in mind too, if you ride with low cadence when you hit the run you will have some muscle fatigue from muscling it through on the bike. Of course if you are doing only short races you will probably be fine. It is when you get into longer distances, HIM and IM, when you really need to start thinking about how your riding will effect your run.

2013-06-14 9:11 AM
in reply to: Reagan2707

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Subject: RE: cadence vs speed

Low cadence taxes your muscular system

High cadence taxes your cardiovascular system

I have a power meter and have played around with this....same watts with different RPMs my HR can be 10 BPM higher than at lower RPM.

I have had coaches that told me to increase RPM, one had me train on low RPMs, and last coach didn't care about it.

How long can you ride at 30 rpm?



2013-06-14 9:45 AM
in reply to: Reagan2707

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Subject: RE: cadence vs speed
Cadence is king. Always will be. The first thing I have my athletes get rid of is access to speed on their bike. In general, it's a useless metric that will only get you in trouble.

If I asked you to average 20 mph for 1 hr what would the effort be for:
1) Uphill
2) Into a head wind
3) Downhill
4) Tail wind

Each of the above requires a different effort level but can be done with the same cadence. Remember that you still have to run off the bike. So focus on an appropriate cadence for you, and speed will take care of itself.
2013-06-14 9:56 AM
in reply to: Marvarnett

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Subject: RE: cadence vs speed
Right or wrong I try to keep my average bike cadence at or a little higher than my typical run cadence. For me, a beginner in every sense of the word, that is around 80-84 on average. There are others who have much more experience than I do, but keeping the cadences near the same helps me to come off the bike and seems like a good balance between speed, effort and pacing.
2013-06-14 10:24 AM
in reply to: Marvarnett

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Subject: RE: cadence vs speed
Originally posted by Marvarnett

Cadence is king. Always will be. The first thing I have my athletes get rid of is access to speed on their bike. In general, it's a useless metric that will only get you in trouble.

If I asked you to average 20 mph for 1 hr what would the effort be for:
1) Uphill
2) Into a head wind
3) Downhill
4) Tail wind

Each of the above requires a different effort level but can be done with the same cadence. Remember that you still have to run off the bike. So focus on an appropriate cadence for you, and speed will take care of itself.


I'm not sure I buy all of this as it's packaged here. I agree that each of us has an appropriate cadence range, and if you stay in it while working at an appropriate level, you're probably good to go. If that's the message, then there's no real problem.

Is your point that people tend to maintain constant effort better by adjusting cadence? Because cadence, by itself, is as useless as speed by your logic. You need a second metric (power, speed, HR, perceived exertion, etc.), otherwise you can go too fast OR too slow for your workout/race. Cadence is neither king, queen, bishop, or pawn. It is simply a metric, like everything else.

So if I'm wrong or am misinterpreting your words, please clarify. Thanks! -J
2013-06-14 10:53 AM
in reply to: Reagan2707

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Subject: RE: cadence vs speed
Originally posted by Reagan2707

When can you sacrifice cadence count for speed? With a cadence count of 85 my average speed is 16 to 17 mph, when I go to the lowest gear my cadence is 30 with an average speed of 24 mph. What should I focus on more???


Neither - your bike training should focus on an effort appropriate to the training session you are attempting to complete. You should generally ride at your preferred cadence and do some riding at slightly higher and lower cadences; overtime it is very likely that your preferred cadence will change (normally from untrained to trained it will go up but not always). Also, your cadence will be different in different situations; you should aim to find a gear that allows you to have a cadence that feels comfortable and allows you to keep pushing on the pedals.

As to speed, it is not a useful metric to measure bike training; there are too many factors that will affect speed and your speed will not be the the same for the same effort on different days. Instead you should use a metric such as power, RPE or HR to guide your effort on the bike and then aim to ride at the appropriate level through the ride.

Shane
2013-06-14 11:27 AM
in reply to: Reagan2707


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Subject: RE: cadence vs speed
I assume the 30 cadence is a typo. Even in the 53-11, you need about 62-63 cadence to average 24 mph.


2013-06-15 5:27 PM
in reply to: Reagan2707

Subject: RE: cadence vs speed
2013-06-16 8:35 AM
in reply to: jdl2012


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Subject: RE: cadence vs speed
Im going to do a few Brick workouts with both ratios to see how taxed my legs get from both cadences. My garmin 500 said I was at a 30 cadence, ill do the ride again and let you know if it was correct or just reading wrong. I appreciate everyones input! Ill keep you updated on what I find.
2013-06-16 8:39 AM
in reply to: Reagan2707

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Subject: RE: cadence vs speed
Originally posted by Reagan2707

When can you sacrifice cadence count for speed? With a cadence count of 85 my average speed is 16 to 17 mph, when I go to the lowest gear my cadence is 30 with an average speed of 24 mph. What should I focus on more???


How long can you sustain it and how is your run afterwards? What gear are you in at each cadence? What if you shifted to a slightly harder gear with a cadence of 85?
2013-06-16 4:13 PM
in reply to: AdventureBear

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Subject: RE: cadence vs speed
I ride HR and cadence trying to keep my cadence around 95-100 outside and on my trainer it is probably around 92-94 for some reason.

2013-06-16 5:11 PM
in reply to: Marvarnett


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Subject: RE: cadence vs speed
Originally posted by Marvarnett

If I asked you to average 20 mph for 1 hr what would the effort be for:
1) Uphill
2) Into a head wind
3) Downhill
4) Tail wind



Hmmm. A Level 2 USAT coach or a Level 3 USAC coach would ask his athletes to average 20 mph for an hour regardless of the terrain or wind? How often do you do that, and what do your athletes say?


2013-06-16 5:17 PM
in reply to: RChung

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Subject: RE: cadence vs speed
Originally posted by RChung

Originally posted by Marvarnett

If I asked you to average 20 mph for 1 hr what would the effort be for:
1) Uphill
2) Into a head wind
3) Downhill
4) Tail wind



Hmmm. A Level 2 USAT coach or a Level 3 USAC coach would ask his athletes to average 20 mph for an hour regardless of the terrain or wind? How often do you do that, and what do your athletes say?


You're misunderstanding his post. He was illustrating that maintaining 20mph for an hour could require vastly different effort levels depending on environmental conditions.
2013-06-16 5:29 PM
in reply to: JZig


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Subject: RE: cadence vs speed
Originally posted by JZig

Originally posted by RChung

Originally posted by Marvarnett

If I asked you to average 20 mph for 1 hr what would the effort be for:
1) Uphill
2) Into a head wind
3) Downhill
4) Tail wind



Hmmm. A Level 2 USAT coach or a Level 3 USAC coach would ask his athletes to average 20 mph for an hour regardless of the terrain or wind? How often do you do that, and what do your athletes say?


You're misunderstanding his post. He was illustrating that maintaining 20mph for an hour could require vastly different effort levels depending on environmental conditions.


Ah, so you're saying that he was posing a straw man argument? That's a relief. In that case, here's another straw man argument: what if I asked you to average 100 rpm for 1 hr regardless off terrain or wind or gearing. Is he saying that would require exactly the same effort level regardless of those things? I ask cuz he didn't mention gearing in his post at all -- only cadence.
2013-06-16 6:04 PM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: cadence vs speed

Originally posted by Reagan2707 When can you sacrifice cadence count for speed? With a cadence count of 85 my average speed is 16 to 17 mph, when I go to the lowest gear my cadence is 30 with an average speed of 24 mph. What should I focus on more???

IMO, you're focusing on the wrong things, plus you don't say how long you can maintain each of those efforts (are they for the same period of time?).  Other than holding your cadence at a self-selected rate (between 80 and 100 for most people most of the time), intensity is the more important metric, whether it's managed by RPE, HR, or power.

You will make the most improvements by focusing your training on training load progression through management of volume and intensity and will run best off the bike during races (and post a better total race time) by focusing on intensity rather than worrying too much about cadence or speed while ignoring intensity.

 



Edited by TriMyBest 2013-06-16 6:07 PM
2013-06-17 8:38 PM
in reply to: TriMyBest


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Subject: RE: cadence vs speed
I maintained the cadence of 85 for 35 minutes, and maintained the cadence of 30 for 24 minutes. I am going to do a full ride at the both cadences and do a 20 minute run after each to see how the difference goes. Again thanks for all the advice!!!
2013-06-17 8:58 PM
in reply to: Reagan2707

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Subject: RE: cadence vs speed
I got my cadence and HR sensor at the end of last year. I also got my Be Iron Fit book then as well. In there he suggests 80-100. I always thought I already did this but after getting the sensor installed I found out I was a masher (cadence at like 65-70). It took me a good month but I overcame that and I could tell a difference afterwards for sure. My muscles weren't nearly as sore since biking didn't feel like I was doing a weight routine anymore. I don't really have a set cadence though. On the trainer it's in the lower 80's. On the road, it can get to 100 when I need a "break" and just need a couple of minutes of easy spinning but otherwise it's at about 85-90. The entire time though, I'm making sure I'm in the right HR zone. I don't care about speed (well I do but you know what I mean....) as much since if I notice I'm at 90RPM and my HR is still a few beats or more below my goal, I'll shift and get extra speed then.


2013-06-17 9:57 PM
in reply to: Reagan2707

Subject: RE: cadence vs speed
2013-06-18 12:00 AM
in reply to: KSH

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Subject: RE: cadence vs speed
Originally posted by KSH

Originally posted by Reagan2707

When can you sacrifice cadence count for speed? With a cadence count of 85 my average speed is 16 to 17 mph, when I go to the lowest gear my cadence is 30 with an average speed of 24 mph. What should I focus on more???


You have to work on gaining speed WITH cadence. It is an acquired skill. You just don't start riding with high cadence have be as fast as you were before. It took me a month to gain my speed back when I switched from low cadence to high cadence. Of course, I was a fairly new rider back then, so my learning curve might have been longer than someone who has been cycling for awhile.

Keep in mind too, if you ride with low cadence when you hit the run you will have some muscle fatigue from muscling it through on the bike. Of course if you are doing only short races you will probably be fine. It is when you get into longer distances, HIM and IM, when you really need to start thinking about how your riding will effect your run.




Really wish they had a "like" button. Good info.
2013-06-18 6:44 AM
in reply to: Reagan2707

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Subject: RE: cadence vs speed
Originally posted by Reagan2707

I maintained the cadence of 85 for 35 minutes, and maintained the cadence of 30 for 24 minutes. I am going to do a full ride at the both cadences and do a 20 minute run after each to see how the difference goes. Again thanks for all the advice!!!


How did the terrain and conditions of the two rides compare? 30rpm in a 53/11 does not result in 24mph; 60rpm is close so unless you were doing lots of coasting to get the 24mph average and then riding hard up the hills, you wouldn't see that average speed with that cadence.

Again, I would focus on selecting a gear that allows you to feel as comfortable as possible at the effort you want for that ride; this will vary based on conditions but you should be able to find a gear that will feel the best for the given conditions. Also do some riding (or within a ride) where you ride at higher cadence than you normally would and some riding at a lower cadence; your body will do a good job of determining the proper cadence as you gain more experience in the saddle.

As a very wise man once said, "cadence is a red herring," which is why I posted above that you shouldn't be chasing cadence or speed but rather use effort to guide your bike training.

Shane
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