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  1. #1
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    How to train for a century.??

    Currently my longest ride is 35 miles, but I want to do a century ride someday. Is there a training program ?(think like a couch to 5k)

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    Lover of Old Chrome Moly Myosmith's Avatar
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    Many training programs are available and they come as simple or complex as you want. When I first contemplated riding centuries, I made it way more difficult than it had to be and some kind people here helped me simplify things. My approach became to train on three, non-consecutive days a week. Monday - Wednesday-Saturday for example. Two of the days were shorter, more intense, skills/speed building rides like sprints, hills etc. Once a week was my long ride day and each week I'd add 5-10 miles to the previous week. Rule of thumb is that once you can do 70+ miles, you can complete the century, but I had to do a couple of solo 100s just to prove to myself that I could do it. On your non-training days, keep the riding light and recreational and take a day or two completely off once in a while to ensure recovery. A little core training a couple times a week pays off big time at about the 60-mile mark.

    Of course you should also eat well and get plenty of sleep.
    Lead, follow or get out of the way

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    ROAD enthusiast revolator's Avatar
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    Flat centuries should be straight forward. Rule: should be able to do 20% more than your last long ride.
    Simple plan is to get the miles in.
    Milestones for you to target before your century: 42, 50, 60, 72, 86, Goal: 100+

    If you are going to ride a hilly century, that will take a little more work.

  4. #4
    Senior Member tunavic's Avatar
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    Do what I did. Sign up for an upcoming metric or century (I don't know your location so I can't recommend any) and between now and then ride whenever possible.

    Don't worry too much about formal training. Just get in some miles before the metric and let the excitement, crowds and cheering onlookers carry you forward!

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    Senior Member CommuteCommando's Avatar
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    Lot's of training programs. Hard to fit most of them into a life that involves things other than cycling. I try to work long rides into my after noon commute, and do increasingly long rides on weekends. I have my first comming up in three weeks. Have done two rides over sixty, one of them right around seventy. Bonked on todays ride at 38 mi, but think poor attention to hydration played a role, so I am still go.
    As much as you paid for that Beemer [Mercedies, Audi, Escalade], I'm surprised it didn't come equipped with turn signals.

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    got the climbing bug jsigone's Avatar
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    There is no replacement for miles on the bikes. Ride as long as you can as often as you can.

  7. #7
    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    If you can ride 400 miles in one month (two months in a row) then you are certain to be able to do a century.

    Get some miles in your legs and sign up for one and do at least an 80 mile ride between now and then. There are a variety of centenary training plans on the net in various places but most of them are over-structured in my opinion.

    If you're trying to be competitive, that's one thing... if you're just trying to finish in 6 or 7 hours, that's much different. You choose.

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    Thanks for all the advice. At this point what I really want is just to be able to do the distance. I will increase by 20% distance every week and see how I feel.

  9. #9
    Senior Member JerrySTL's Avatar
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    "Ride lots." -- Eddy Merckx

    First you need to pick out a century or at least what month you want to do one. As 35 miles is your longest so far, I'd suggest a century next September or October.

    Then start riding more. Try to increase your weekly mileage by 10% and also your longest ride during the week by 10%.

    Of course depending on where you live, Winter will be here soon and weather might keep you off the bike. In that case go to the gym and do other exercises. Walk, jog, run, and maybe get on a stationary bike a couple times a week. When Spring arrives, start back on the 10% routine.

    One of the biggest problems with doing a century ride is hydration and fuel. If you don't eat or drink enough during a century ride, the last 20 miles can be more difficult than the first 80 miles. Ironic to say in this forum, but long rides are not a time to try to lose weight.

  10. #10
    That guy from the Chi Chitown_Mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Myosmith View Post
    Of course you should also eat well and get plenty of sleep.
    I just did one yesterday after only getting less than 2 1/2 hours of sleep.....oops!



    Quote Originally Posted by Reelin View Post
    Thanks for all the advice. At this point what I really want is just to be able to do the distance. I will increase by 20% distance every week and see how I feel.
    One more bit of advice....sign up for one!

    Back yourself into the commitment of actually having to go on one by spending your money and signing up for one. Can't say you didn't do one because you did sign up for one (or more)
    Looking forward to my winter commuting adventure.....

  11. #11
    Senior Member WonderMonkey's Avatar
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    I am training for one now (October 5th). It was the next step in distance riding for me having done 100k over the July 4th weekend. Each time it was an event that I knew was coming so it forced me out of the house to prepare. As people have mentioned above this can be an incredible motivator. The 100 miler I am doing was an event that I created and invited others to participate in. We are all in loose communication with each other about it and I ride with a few of the participants here and there to get ready for it. Social pressure, etc.

  12. #12
    Senior Member IBOHUNT's Avatar
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    I'll just add my 2 cents Canadian... Saddle time

  13. #13
    That guy from the Chi Chitown_Mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IBOHUNT View Post
    I'll just add my 2 cents Canadian... Saddle time
    2 Loonies?
    Looking forward to my winter commuting adventure.....

  14. #14
    Klaatu..Verata..Necktie? genejockey's Avatar
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    I concur on the 'add 10% a week' idea. I've built up that way, several times in fact. I started with the longest ride I felt comfortable with, then added hills to it, then mileage, then more hills, till I'd worked up to being able to do 75 miles with a lot of climbing. Although there are centuries within driving distance of me that are pretty flat, I wanted my first one to be in my own back yard. This worked out well. The climbs were only a bit more total than I was riding by that point, so it was manageable, and I just took it nice and easy, especially the first one.

    I will confess, I did steal a draft on some younger, stronger riders at about 90 miles in, but in my defense there was a headwind and they were riding 3-up and dawdling at my pace, so I prefer to think of it as 'not passing', rather than 'wheelsucking'!
    "Don’t take life so serious—it ain’t nohow permanent."

  15. #15
    Senior Member Black wallnut's Avatar
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    A century is a great goal. Enjoy the work preparing for your first one. Keep in mind what is beyond the century, more riding and another century or even more. I concur with the add 10% weekly plan. If you can ride 30 now then in week more than two months with a modest amount of training you might be ready for a century.
    Two and a half months might be closer. The week before your century ride but not hard, rest well and hydrate.


    Mark

  16. #16
    Senior Member CommuteCommando's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
    If you're trying to be competitive, that's one thing... if you're just trying to finish in 6 or 7 hours, that's much different. You choose.
    Watchoo talking 'bout. I'm going to have to hammer it like never before just to finish in eight. I have an "escape route" starting at mile 88 that cuts 6 miles off if it looks like I won't make it.

    http://ridewithgps.com/routes/2622468 (Cut across Ave De Oro to get back to Rancho CA downhill to avoid going down that valley I'll have to climb back out of. Hoping it won't come to that)
    Last edited by CommuteCommando; 09-23-13 at 12:34 PM.
    As much as you paid for that Beemer [Mercedies, Audi, Escalade], I'm surprised it didn't come equipped with turn signals.

  17. #17
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    As said before, more miles and saddle time. Do you bike commute to work? Great way to get miles in. Have someone drive you 50 miles from your home, then pedal home. Got low enough gearing for the hills you will encounter on your century?

  18. #18
    LET'S ROLL 1nterceptor's Avatar
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    I have done a few centuries and didn't really follow any structured training
    plan other than take some rest days and doing a long ride on the weekends.
    But here's something that may guide you:

    http://www.bikenewyork.org/advice/tr...tury-training/

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RByK0ya7vXM

  19. #19
    Senior Member MikeRides's Avatar
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    I'll just go ahead and echo everyone else by saying get more riding time. If your longest ride is 35 miles, I wouldn't attempt a century any time soon. Maybe make your first goal a metric century (62 miles) then go from there.

    The longest I've rode is a half century, once, and that took me about 4 hours (total. Riding time was about 3.5 hours), I'd like to improve that time to be able to complete it in 3 hours total before I try doubling the distance (equaling a full imperial century in 6 hours).
    "Just ride it until the wheels fall off!"

  20. #20
    Senior Member IBOHUNT's Avatar
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    Hopefully when you finish the 100 miles it won't feel anticlimactic.
    Happens to the tune of... well that was nice, guess I go home and mow the dag gum grass now...

    Then it gets to the point of...

    Hey, want to go blast out 100?
    Sure, nothing better to do this afternoon.
    I'll come up with a 'Hilly' ride.
    Um, never mind...


  21. #21
    Senior Member mprelaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IBOHUNT View Post
    I'll just add my 2 cents Canadian... Saddle time
    Yes. For many people doing their first century, the ass gives out before the legs.

    Don't overlook building core strength, too. The last 20-30 miles can be hell if you're experiencing lower back pain.

  22. #22
    Klaatu..Verata..Necktie? genejockey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mprelaw View Post
    Yes. For many people doing their first century, the ass gives out before the legs.

    Don't overlook building core strength, too. The last 20-30 miles can be hell if you're experiencing lower back pain.
    This. I discovered some problems in my bike fit, including saddle issues, once my rides got to be over 40 miles. Knee pain, numb Johnson, other issues. Once your mileage creeps up, if you start noticing pains or other problems that you hadn't noticed before, be willing to bite the bullet and get a fitting, a new saddle, etc.
    "Don’t take life so serious—it ain’t nohow permanent."

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