Why do long slow rides?

Being a diesel, I question the need to do long slow endurance rides.
I see it as junk miles, or a social cafe ride with mates.
On TR it is boring unles you throw in some drills and sprints.
Outside it is boring unless you are route planning, or bikepacking.
In my long experience of endurance sports, I have competed successfully at 24 hour , and 12 hour mtb races, solo, and do the Scott marathon series, which are usually 3-5 hours.
I never ride much longer than 4 hours, and that is probably about once- twice/month when its warm enough.
I do best doing sweetspot and supra threshold work. Interspersed with easy, like Bald knob and Petit.
Unless you are a pro road racer, doing stage races, I cannot see the point.
I am interested to hear anyones thoughts on this .

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And nobody tells you have to :slight_smile: 4h is pretty long endurance ride.

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I see it as junk miles, or a social cafe ride with mates.
I see it as quality aerobic miles

On TR it is boring unles you throw in some drills and sprints.
Time to watch a movie, read a book or work while getting easy aerobic gainz

Outside it is boring unless you are route planning, or
Look to the side, see the fields, forest, hills, talk to your friends.

In my long experience of endurance sports, I have competed successfully at 24 hour , and 12 hour mtb races, solo, and do the Scott marathon series, which are usually 3-5 hours. I never ride much longer than 4 hours, and that is probably about once- twice/month when its warm enough.
Well done

I do best doing sweetspot and supra threshold work. Interspersed with easy, like Bald knob and Petit.
Maybe for you, but for most the science says more benefits from aerobic work

Unless you are a pro road racer, doing stage races, I cannot see the point.
I can’t see why anyone wouldn’t benefit from easy aerobic work

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Ha ha, I think the trouble is, when you get to my age ,it feels so slow! I also compete in motorsport and work outside doing a physical job, so I get plenty of excersise. And i also do weights and strength and balance work.
I just don’t feel the buzz after long rides, So I think I’ve probably got the balance about right.
Was listeneing to Mark Beaumont on youtube and he says he doesn’t do lots of miles to train for lots of miles. So you can use your events as your long training sessions.

The biggest benefit I have found to regularly doing long rides is that is the only way I have found to condition my back, neck, etc., to doing long rides. Gym work doesn’t cut it, I have to spend hours in the saddle.

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:slightly_smiling_face:

Being fun and being effective arent always the same thing!

Each of us choose to balance our workouts slightly differently and have different contexts and goals. I think thats fine.

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I think you’ve got two different questions going:

  1. Is there value in long-and-slow rides?
  2. Do you need long-and-slow rides?

For #1, LSD is great for making all those mitochondria and capillaries and whatnot without piling on loads of fatigue at the same time, and it provides an opportunity to test out kit and nutrition for any long-and-slow events you might have planned.

For #2, probably not, depending on your goals? The TR folks are pretty adamant that if you’re time-crunched, LSD is not generally the best use of the few hours you have available, and making the most of those hours in other ways will be enough to prepare you for a long event.

Personally, long rides outside are the reason I ride. (On the other hand I don’t really have the terrain to do actual LSD out here, so maybe I’d change my tune if I lived in like Indiana or something :laughing:)

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I’m the opposite. I really like spending time on a bike and just ride for the pleasure of movement. Find lots of miles makes me really fit. Volume is king for me.

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I live in Holland… almost impossible for me to do anything but LSD. No matter how you start any ride, they eventually descends into a tempo ride or if you are carrying fatigue a Z2 pootle. The concentration required to do anything else for any meaningful length of time is unreal.

Recently discovered the unmitigated joy of doing Wright Peak and variations on my 530 outside. Brilliant! Chasing that little cursor along the flat line of the block is a real life affirming thing and a total distraction form the endless charming villages, 18th century windmills, Infamous Dutch Perpetual Headwind (almost always BFT 4), dodging aggressive American Crayfish that seem to have invaded the cycle paths of the Green Heart this year (800kg per hectare of water), and constantly feeling like you are in a Vermeer painting…

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This plus lots. I switched from reversed periodised to “normal” this year will Z2 rides for pretty much the whole of October - March, and also still at weekends amongst my build intervals. I’ve lost 7kg and increased my FTP by 9%, with the weight loss resulting in an FTP at 4wkg.

My build hasn’t been different but I’m about 4 x the volume of Z2 this year. I target the same races.

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Sounds awful. Perpetual headwinds in Minnesota too.

I used to see little value in LSD, thinking I could make up for it with intensity or just riding harder more frequently. This year has given me more time and I committed to riding with a HR cap on a couple of my weekly rides. I always made sure they were at least 2 hours long. Then I had at most 2 hard day’s to get my intensity fill.

Never been more fit in my life

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I come from a running background - where long, slow “rides” are the basis of all injury-free performance improvements. Slow tempo is where you tell your body it needs to develop itself to support sustained efforts. Even a VO2Max session is just a slow run interrupted by a bit of excitement in the middle.

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Truly my problem is they reverse: Too much of a good thing. Woe is my lazy assed first world problemed me.

:laughing:Love this.

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As noted long rides build more mitochondrial density in your muscles - threshold and VO2 work make those cell organelles more efficient…I did a lot of zone 2 in lockdown - kept me sane while I was working from home and did 15 - 20 hours riding a week. Is it the most efficient way to train…no and when I am back in school as of next week I’ll be back on the SS/VO2/over under treadmill like everyone else trying to get fast on 6-9 hours a week. But I enjoyed my rides more and I am TT ing quicker now we are racing than last year on virtually no intensity…plus I now can easily ride 4 hours+ zone 2 at 20+mph where as last year at about 3 hours I felt tired. Finally I did a 50 mile TT on Sunday…the only race I have ever done where I felt better in the second half than the first! :laughing:

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I agree there. My arms and shoulders get more stick when i do a 5 hour MTB race. So it’s a total body conditioning.I don’ t seem to get any aches, (apart from tired glutes and quads) training indoors. Even after a tough session. Just a nice tiredness in the legs. But when I ride outdoors for over 2 hours I sometimes get an ache on the left side of my lower back and numb fingers on my right hand. And I just feel tired , but not exilarated like when i train indoors. It’s probably having to cope with the UK weather ,which is usually cold/wet /windy, even in August!

Long(er) rides fatigue type 1 fibers and cause more and more type 2 fibers to help.

The result, a little like strength training, is pure gold. Number of matches, or the ability to break when everyone is gasses or put in a decent sprint at the end of a long race/ride are all examples.

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This.
And ditto.

Some people will chase the acute excitement of a single workout, others the chronic high of being hyper fit via boring work. Both are valid.

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Yep - I’ve seen my LSD go from 4h to 6h in the last year 18 months, extending the duration as HR decoupling is no longer observed. I’d speculate that this is the T2 fibres becoming significantly activated (requires additional O2) and therefore Power:Hr becomes decoupled. This has been occurring later in rides, hence being able to extended the duration.

Also, as an aside, for fasted rides, this decoupling happens a lot earlier (perhaps 25% or so).

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I respond better to volume than intensity…if I only focus on short, intense rides (as I had to do when my kids were younger, etc) I only gianed what I refer to as 'surface fitness". Yeah, I got race “fit” but it would disappear in a second if I took any time off the bike.

If I build volume and then add intensity, my fitness is better and deeper. I can take time off occasionaly due to work, sickness or life and come back w/o losing much of a step.

I really wish people would refer to LSD as “Long Steady Miles” and not “Long Slow Miles”. You can ride at the upper end of Z2, even into Z3, adn as long as you are steady, you gain plenty of aerobic benefits from these rides.

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