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  1. #1
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    How to train for more than 300 km ?

    Lazily seated in front of my computer, I browse through Machka's or other web sites and start dreaming about long distances.
    I am 42. I have never considered myself a sportsman, but I ride 7000 to 10000 km a year, mostly at a quiet pace (always sweaty, never out of breath, no HRM to quantify); some of it as a short commute, some of it touring, most of it being Sunday rides. I can ride 200 km at 22-25 km/h average if it is flat. Yesterday I rode 218 definitely hilly kilometers in some 10 hours including a few good breaks to eat my sandwiches. 200 km is no real big issue, but on the following days I can always "feel my legs". I did one 300 km brevet in 13 hours two years ago and survived, this was after a long 3-4 months spent at very gradually increasing distances.

    If I want to go beyond and target 400, or 600 km, how do you think I should train ? I feel there is a gap between a ride up to 300 km, that I can complete in one Saturday, and have Sunday to recover before getting back to work, and longer distances. Also, I don't really dare start for a crazy thing like 24h non-stop riding all on my own, without some kind of support infrastructure. And I know nobody around that is dumb enough to want to try this with me. Well, any advice ?

    Turtle

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    If you're comfortable with doing a 200km and you've already finished a 300, then you're all set for physical conditioning. Everything after this is learning to eat and drink properly and dealing with sleep deprivation.

    Figure out a personal schedule for taking in enough calories every hour so that you can ride 200km and still feel fresh. Do an overnight ride where you start at 1am or 4am. Also, do a pair of longish rides back to back on a Saturday and Sunday to get yourself used to getting back on the bike after a short night's sleep. If you want to do a 1200k eventually, a lot of folks advise doing a 600k brevet without sleep so as to simulate the level of sleep deprivation that you'll be getting on the 1200k.

    After getting my 300K under my belt, my training was pretty much consisting of 200k's on available weekends and one back-to-back pair with a 200k ride on Saturday and a 100km ride on Sunday. And, oh yeah, regular commutes to work (roughly 50k round-trip).

  3. #3
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    I did a 400K by first doing a bunch of 200K rides, then two 300K rides about a month apart. I then did the 400K. I had no trouble finishing the ride.

    The biggest thing is eating enough and not getting carried away and riding too hard.

    BTW, they say that 400K is harder than 600K because most people do the 400K straight through but usually break a 600K into two 300K rides with a few hours of sleep in between.

  4. #4
    Senior Member The Octopus's Avatar
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    Good advice above. I'd add that there are some (I'm one of them) who think that there's minimal benefit to training beyond about 200K. Physically, if you can ride a 200K brevet within the time limit, you're not likely to have fitness issues on the longer brevets, including -- I'll make the bold statement -- a 1200K. The issues that you've got to deal with are mental and logistical, and both can be solved (although moreso the latter) by getting out there and riding and by talking with and reading the ramblings of more experienced randonneurs.

    It may sound counterintuitive, but I think one way to train for the longer brevets is actually to train yourself to ride faster, which means doing shorter rides. You've got the distance bug. You've got good base miles. Saddle time? Check. Mentally, you're both tough and flexible. Logistics? You've got trial-and-error combined with lots of internet info gathering plus chatting up every randonneur you've ridden with about what works for him or her. An equally important arrow in your quiver is to get a bit faster. Buys you the luxury of not having to worry about controle closing times -- huge mental benefit. Buys you the luxury of sleep on the longer brevets. Also buys you the luxury of less night riding, which can be slower, more dangerous (especailly if you're solo) and cold. Increases the number of people you can ride with, which means more riding companions.

    I'm not talking about going out and training to ride Le Tour or anything. Just increasing your average rolling speed by 1mph means your 600K just got 2-3 hours faster, depending on where you're starting from. That's huge!

    Good luck!

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    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Octopus
    Good advice above. I'd add that there are some (I'm one of them) who think that there's minimal benefit to training beyond about 200K. Physically, if you can ride a 200K brevet within the time limit, you're not likely to have fitness issues on the longer brevets, including -- I'll make the bold statement -- a 1200K. The issues that you've got to deal with are mental and logistical, and both can be solved (although moreso the latter) by getting out there and riding and by talking with and reading the ramblings of more experienced randonneurs.

    It may sound counterintuitive, but I think one way to train for the longer brevets is actually to train yourself to ride faster, which means doing shorter rides. You've got the distance bug. You've got good base miles. Saddle time? Check. Mentally, you're both tough and flexible. Logistics? You've got trial-and-error combined with lots of internet info gathering plus chatting up every randonneur you've ridden with about what works for him or her. An equally important arrow in your quiver is to get a bit faster. Buys you the luxury of not having to worry about controle closing times -- huge mental benefit. Buys you the luxury of sleep on the longer brevets. Also buys you the luxury of less night riding, which can be slower, more dangerous (especailly if you're solo) and cold. Increases the number of people you can ride with, which means more riding companions.

    I'm not talking about going out and training to ride Le Tour or anything. Just increasing your average rolling speed by 1mph means your 600K just got 2-3 hours faster, depending on where you're starting from. That's huge!

    Good luck!
    Agree on increasing speed - and the way to do this quickly is with short intense rides (with appropriate recovery!)\
    Browse the UMCA website for training articles - 1 of the authors completed RAAM and didn't train beyond 100 mile rides... he just kept improving his intensity.

    And from personal experience I agree on not training much beyond 200k (I'd stretch it to 300 for myself). Prior to this past Brevet season I'd not ridden more than 200k. I finished the 2,3,400k with plenty of time in the bank on each. I struggled to mile 221 of the 600k with serious knee pain and nutrition / hydration issues. You can do the longer stuff provided your base is solid and you work towards a higher intensity.


    Personally I still like getting some long training rides in - nothing like spending the entire day on the bike - but I need to balance that with intensity - and I think I'll see big improvements next year.

    I fell into the "every ride must be a long ride" training pattern this summer while doing a brevet series - and while I rode alot of long rides, I'm sure I rode plenty of "junk" miles.

    Now that the brevet season is over I've noticed a change in my loop ride - its getting quicker - and I think the thing thats doing it is I've given over 2 days a week to hill repeats and interval work. I'm a long way from "getting faster" - but a goal for next year is to knock significant time off my brevets.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Octopus
    (...).

    It may sound counterintuitive, but I think one way to train for the longer brevets is actually to train yourself to ride faster, which means doing shorter rides. You've got the distance bug. You've got good base miles. Saddle time? Check. Mentally, you're both tough and flexible. Logistics? You've got trial-and-error combined with lots of internet info gathering plus chatting up every randonneur you've ridden with about what works for him or her. An equally important arrow in your quiver is to get a bit faster. Buys you the luxury of not having to worry about controle closing times -- huge mental benefit. Buys you the luxury of sleep on the longer brevets. Also buys you the luxury of less night riding, which can be slower, more dangerous (especailly if you're solo) and cold. Increases the number of people you can ride with, which means more riding companions.

    I'm not talking about going out and training to ride Le Tour or anything. Just increasing your average rolling speed by 1mph means your 600K just got 2-3 hours faster, depending on where you're starting from. That's huge!

    Good luck!
    This speed thing is interesting. I think that's what I did unintentionally to some extent the year of my 300 km ride. For most of this year I usually didn't have the stamina for higher intensity riding. Next year I'll see.

    By the way, how do you deal with winter (here: 2-3 months around 0C with occasional snow and bad roads) ?

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    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fastturtle

    By the way, how do you deal with winter (here: 2-3 months around 0°C with occasional snow and bad roads) ?

    I happen to like long endurance miles on the trainer - with running, xc skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, and plenty of outside riding when possible.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by fastturtle
    By the way, how do you deal with winter (here: 2-3 months around 0C with occasional snow and bad roads) ?
    mmm ... more layers? The nice benefit of winter riding is that I don't have to pack extra raingear, as generally the waterproof layer that I use as my rainshell also doubles as my windproof winter layer

    Living in the Northeast, my riding does fall off a bit in between December and February. It's mostly just the 25 mile commute and maybe one long ride a month (where long can be defined as 50+ miles). The commute has the advantage of following relatively wide and trustworthy roads, though my routes for the longer rides are definitely more constrained. I found that ramping up training in March and April was a good schedule for doing brevets in May -- so long as I was getting some kind of regular weekly mileage in the winter. However, with PBP next year, the brevets will be starting earlier, so ramp up will have to commence in February.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bmike
    I happen to like long endurance miles on the trainer - with running, xc skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, and plenty of outside riding when possible.
    oh, and +1 on mike's recommendation of cross-training with other winter sports. I've also liked skiing and snowshoeing during the 'off-season'. I'm aiming to take up indoor rock climbing this year and hoping that it will also be good for strength training.

  10. #10
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spokenword
    oh, and +1 on mike's recommendation of cross-training with other winter sports. I've also liked skiing and snowshoeing during the 'off-season'. I'm aiming to take up indoor rock climbing this year and hoping that it will also be good for strength training.

    Rock Gym +1
    My fiancee and I are going to join one this winter too...

    I'm also looking at Nordic Skating (and here), now that I live 5 minutes from Lake Champlain.

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