Touring - Training -- multiday shorter, skip a day longer?
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I'm training for a 4 week trip to France and I got to wondering what people here would recommend. I usually train by riding every other day and try to lengthen my rides until I reach 60 miles a ride on a loaded bike.
But, I also will be riding every day and got to wondering if riding several days in a row but shorter distances would be a better way to prepare then doing fewer but longer rides.
Any thoughts on this?
I usually ride 5 to 6 days a week, pretty much year round.
Starting in January, I hit the trainer and/or spinning classes and/or stat bikes in the gym, and try to do an hour a day 5 to 6 days a week. Some years I add weightlifting, this year I added rowing. I row for about 20 minutes 2 times a week. I also walk. Some years I will walk/jog on the treadmill for 30-60 minutes 3 or4 times a week, this year my commute is a 40 minute walk 5 times a week.
Starting around mid-March I begin ramping up the distances on the bicycle, and usually start dropping off some of the other stuff. By early May, I'm doing centuries and brevets just about every weekend pretty much until early September, and still doing shorter rides (1-3 hours) during the week.
I taper off a bit in September, a bit more in October, a bit more in November, and December is usually a very light month for me in terms of exercise. And then it starts all over again in January.
Oh yes, just to add to the motivation, many years I participate in the Century-A-Month challenge. I didn't last year, but I am again this year. This means I do at least one century (or longer ride), outside, every month throughout the year. It's challenging in January, February, November, and December in this part of the world, but it keeps me training! :)
03-17-08, 03:31 PM
In general, the fastest way to increase your cycling aptitude is with very basic interval training. The typical charts look something like:
Monday = short, easy
Tuesday = short, at pace
Wed = short, ride hard
Thurs = rest
Fri = short, at pace
Sat = long, at pace
Sun = short, at pace
Every week, you slowly inch up your mileage, preferably no more than 10% per week overall.
Basically, the "one hard day a week" will increase your aerobic ability faster than riding with the same level of effort day after day.
I don't think you have to go nuts with the "training while loaded." Weight on the bike frame actually has much less effect than you might think. However if you haven't toured while loaded, I would recommend you do a weekend tour in part to get used to the modified handling, and to make sure you're bringing the stuff you need.
I don't believe you need to train all the time on a fully loaded bike, partialy loaded is good enough. Before the tour just do a couple of rides fully loaded to get the feel of the bike. What I find important is time on the saddle, doing 100km days mean many hours on the saddle.
Just ride. Commute, ride to the shops, go for a picnic ride. You don't even need to load up the bike with extra weight. Pick different routes and include a few hills and rolling terrain for your longer weekend rides. Presumably, you've got a weekend or two away overnight to test/retest your rig and gear, however.
Training for a tour, is not, in my mind, essential, unless you are "right into it" and are intent on peeling off big distances each day. I don't subscribe to this business about interval training for tours; you need long steady distance because you aren't *racing*! It's France, after all... you will have many, many reasons to stop and take in what's around you.
I didn't train for my Perth-Adelaide trip over 10 years ago; I just rode to and from work, and explored Perth by bike at weekends (longer rides). My no-train claim becomes a bit blurred because I combined randonnees with tours after that, but even then, I wasn't doing huge distances in the lead-up to many of those events. And like Machka, I have done a number of years of centuries a month.
I say: Just go on the tour, and plan a few easy distance days to start, then either lengthen them or head to the mountains. If like the rest of us, you do that, you will find your "hardness" will improve rapidly.
03-18-08, 02:59 AM
I don't really "train" for tours either, but then, my general riding (around 20,000km per annum) takes care of that. It's possible that my distances may increase as the tour draws close through excitement, but that's not something I plan. In fact, I find that if I "plan" a training program, I actually lose motivation as it starts to become monotonous. For mine, your far better off to stick to having fun, which may include a weekend "shakedown" tour prior to the start of the main one.
About the only thing I do is make sure my equipment is going to be up to it, and get my bike serviced at my LBS. Even then, that didn't stop me snapping chains in Tasmania, or breaking a rack in New Zealand.
03-18-08, 04:46 AM
I too just ride. No need to do anything special to train for touring other than to just be sure to get plenty of saddle time. That and to be sure to ride some hills if headed to the mountains to tour.
Maybe riding with a load is a good idea, but I don't bother.
One thing I have just thought of as a reason for doing *some* training rides is to get the rehydration balance right. It's one thing that can be missed as you start out on a tour, especially in summer when France can get mighty hot. Dehydration can have an influence on how you feel at the end of the day, and your enthusiasm for post-ride activities such as... just erecting camp.
But even if you don't go for training rides, keep rehydration uppermost in your mind as you set out. I know that on several rides -- from my first to my most recent -- I have been caught out on a day or two at least by not having enough to drink.
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