I've searched the forums and tried googling for a suggested training program for a coast to coast tour my wife and I would like to do in 2008, but haven't found what I'm looking for. Could anyone direct me to something that they have used successfully for this kind of trip?
You don't need to train at all as long as A) you don't travel any faster than you are comfortable (which will get to a very credible performance within the first half week if you were previously out of shape but healthy); B) your group will wait for you, or better still you are currently the fastest or only member; C) Don't undertake a route that starts out in really nasty climbs etc.... That may seem too simple or something, but it's the basic truth, the main issues are competititve. For me I am just as happy plowing along at 2/3rd the normal mileage for the first couple of days, vs. doing thousands of meaningless miles in the saddle be fore I leave. But others enjoy the training as much as the touring.
If you train anyway, I would recomend you do it only on a loaded bike, and at realistic speeds. Work a lot on position, technique, and handling. If You are out of shape you need to go slow to give yourself a chance to build up your knees.
What kind of trip? Independent? Self-supported? Credit card? With a tour group?
I do two things. First of all, I put in as many miles as possible, starting a couple months before the tour. I try to do some training rides or overnights fully loaded.
Secondly, I always schedule really easy days at the beginning of my trip - maybe even a layover day on the 3rd day. I do this because I've found that I'm never sufficiently trained. I always suffer at first until I "tour my way into shape". The first three days are the worst. After that I can go and go. I try to stick to 25 to 30 mile days for the first three days, and a rest day after two or three days is a good way to catch my breath, recover from the initial getting-back-into-it pain, and get ready for the long days to come. It works for me.