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Old 05-22-12, 09:46 AM   #1
Chamois
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Beginner training program: 0 to 60 (miles) in 5 weeks?

So a friend of mine is considering signing up for a 62 mile, completely flat charity ride which takes place in 5 weeks. She is a complete beginner cyclist, basically never rode a road bike until now, but is relatively fit (27 y/o, low BMI, goes to the gym a couple times per week, does hiking on the weekends, etc.) She asked me to help her figure out a training program that could get her up to 62 miles in 5 weeks, if it's even possible.

I think this shouldn't be too difficult. Looking at my weekly mileage log from when I first started cycling I went from nothing to doing a 53 mile ride with 2200 feet of climbing in about 6.5 weeks, all the while never riding more than 50 miles per week until the 6th week.

I put together the following program based on the fact that we have a 6 mile loop about a mile away from the neighborhood where we both live. So it's based on 2 days per week riding 1-4 laps (plus there and back) 2x during the work week, and one longer weekend ride. Is this too ambitious? Too large of a mileage increase week to week? I've heard that one shouldn't increase weekly mileage more than 10% week to week, but 10% seems pretty low to me for a beginner in decent physical shape. Any thoughts/feedback are appreciated. Thanks!

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Old 05-23-12, 03:15 PM   #2
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She'll be fine. Just make sure she doesn't go too hard the first week, that when the body reacts violently to a new kind of exercise.

I suspect the 10% thing is related to relatively high level training volume and not just average joes going for long low intensity rides. If you go slow enough on a bike, it's like walking, anyone can do it for hours.
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Old 05-25-12, 04:58 PM   #3
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Please note that BMI is an absolute joke! It is by no means a way to judge if your in good shape or not. I am a gym rat on top of cycling and my BMI is all over the place. Even my doctor thinks it's a joke now because I am in very good shape at 10% body fat and very cut. Yet my BMI says I should look into dropping weight since I am 5'5" and 135!
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Old 05-25-12, 05:39 PM   #4
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My guess is physical ability is not going to be the problem. Butt soreness and numb hands will be.
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Old 05-25-12, 09:39 PM   #5
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Please note that BMI is an absolute joke! It is by no means a way to judge if your in good shape or not. I am a gym rat on top of cycling and my BMI is all over the place. Even my doctor thinks it's a joke now because I am in very good shape at 10% body fat and very cut. Yet my BMI says I should look into dropping weight since I am 5'5" and 135!
Actually you fall in the range you should be in. 150 is where overweight starts at for your height...
No BMI will not tell you if you are fit, although for most people it is an accurate range of the weights they should be aiming for with their heights.

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My guess is physical ability is not going to be the problem. Butt soreness and numb hands will be.
I agree, plus a bit of muscle soreness at the beginning from doing an activity she does not do.

I think your training plan looks good. Once she gets used to riding somewhat long distance (~30 miles) riding longer should not be an issue. I went from riding 50-60km to 70-90km then my last long ride of last season was 166km. Once I got used to doing 60km rides going up from there was easy. Maybe the second, third and fourth weeks on one of the shorter rides have her push it (a little the second week, more the third week and more the fourth week) just to get a feel for where her limits are and so she knows what she can really sustain and for how long?

On top of that a bike computer or some display of speed should help, although knowing your body is the most important. Having both speed and knowledge of how hard and long I could push myself helped me a lot when I did my 166K ride I made it back home with no issues, I went slow but not snail pace, and this was through some pretty annoying (but awesome) rolling hills. It turned out to be a lot more fun than I thought it would be and encouraged me to aim for a longer and faster ride this season.

For hands, padded gloves are really nice. Also will help with blistering which I found happened to me my first rides of this season.

For her butt, some padded cycling shorts might help? I do not know I have never used them. My seat hurts my butt and so does pedaling hard at the beginning but again she will get used to that.
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Old 06-11-12, 05:52 AM   #6
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Blah blah blah. Get her on the bike every other day at first at a comfortable distance. Then up it as needed.
If she can do 35-40 miles during training at an ez pace, than the 62 mile fun ride will be easy! Talking with others and the fun of being with a bunch of other riders makes the ride seem short. Have fun and take food and water also.
But, if it's gonna' be hot during the ride, some heat acclimation is in order.
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Old 06-11-12, 08:15 AM   #7
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I think that's probably too much too soon. Which is a good way to make cycling miserable and the new rider quit.

If the same ride offers something in the 25-30-35 mile range that'd be more appropriate. She should be challenged but not hammered in to jello and should be able to finish the ride without hating life.

Even if she was a sub 3 hour marathoner she'd need time on the bike to build the bike-specific muscles and to get her contact points used to cycling.
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Old 06-11-12, 08:27 AM   #8
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Depends on the person. I've taken out noobs that have done 30+ miles like it was nothing. I have gone out with competitive and accomplished athletes that have problems after ten miles. Some people find bicycling very natural and easy, others suffer.

She'l find out which she is along the way. maybe after her first stretch ride. My experience: fitness, BMI, age has much less to do with it than you'd imagine until you get up to a competitive level.
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Old 06-28-12, 03:01 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by camelopardalis View Post
My guess is physical ability is not going to be the problem. Butt soreness and numb hands will be.
i can vouch for this.. long time runner here, i did 2 25 mile rides and one 50 mile ride on first week - my muscles weren't the problem, it was my numb hands and sore butt biking is very low impact so those "couch to 5k" type programs aren't really needed as much as in running where you want to start small and edge up over LONG periods of time when it comes to distance..

stay hydrated.. thats the most important thing!
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Old 06-29-12, 07:14 AM   #10
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Hi Chamois, I think she will be OK just make sure she knows not to go off too fast at the start and that she has the appropriate gear (cycle shorts, cycle gloves and food & drink!). If she has a buddy to ride with on the day this will help also!
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Old 07-02-12, 03:06 PM   #11
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So how did she do?
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Old 07-02-12, 08:58 PM   #12
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Half the battle is already won just by having the desire and drive to try it that soon! How did she do?
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Old 07-03-12, 12:13 PM   #13
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I am also curious to hear how she did! Also, it would be cool to hear her MPH per week to see how she improved .
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