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Advice on training for first century?

Old 01-20-12, 09:02 PM
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Advice on training for first century?

Hey everyone, I am going to be training to ride almost a century (146km/91mi) in this coming up August and I was wondering what are some rotines I can do in my training to help make it faster and easier. Here is some info about me to maybe help you answer.

Body: 6'1", 150lbs.

History: I got my first ever road bike last July and rode it about 600km total, I will be starting up again when it gets warm, probably in March/April.

Longest Ride: My longest ride was about 42km (26mi) at a pace of about 20km/h (12mi/h) and I didn't feel dredful after, tired but not like I was dying.

For my training I am willing to ride everyday because I love cycling. I know that I have to ride alot and get a lot distance under my belt to get better, but are there any other things I should do during my rides to help train better and get faster and increase my fitness/endurance? I live in an area with rolling hills and flat roads, so I can not do any climbing D:

If I am missing out any information that's helpful, please let me know.
Any feedback is appreciated, thank you!
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Old 01-21-12, 06:05 AM
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I did my first century with no training other than a fifteen mile per day (round trip) commute for about a year. And I did my second century the very next day. My only "secret" was that I rode absolutely every workday in that preceeding year, rain or shine (or even snow), no excuses, no exceptions.

So my advice would be to not wait for March or April. Bundle up, mount your fenders and your studded tires, and get out there!

Good luck.
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Old 01-21-12, 06:12 AM
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There are lots of web pages with century training programs on the 'net. Try a simple Google/Yahoo search.

They will basically all say the same thing - add distance to your current training routine at a rate of about 10% a week up to about a 70 mile weekend ride. Increasing your distance faster invites injury. Consistency is the key - meaning, you might miss a specific training day, but don't miss 3 in a row if you can help it. Rest days are as, if not more, important than riding days - take them.

Bike fit is very, very important. Very generally, butt pain after a 26mi ride and after a century ride were qualitatively different for me on a diamond frame; during the latter of the century, my butt was definitely sore, while after the former, it didn't feel abnormal at all. To reduce the butt pain on the century, longer training rides acclimated me somewhat to the "discomfort" - I'd been fine up to 70 miles on "training rides". Toss in a day or two a week of "speed work" over shorter distances and I soloed my first century at a 12mph rolling pace against headwinds both ways (seriously) as a weather front passed overhead. Otoh, that century ride convinced me to eventually move to a recumbent.

Rolling hills can be a viable training substitute for "climbing" if "repeatedly attacked" on the same ride (ride the hill, descend it, repeat).

Don't let a little bad weather dissuade you from a training ride. You don't know what the weather will be like "on the big day". Knowing you can ride through a 30 minute shower will help your mental state if it happens during the century ride.

August - heat. Practice eating and hydrating on longer training rides, something a 26 miler doesn't usually involve tot he same extent.

Others with more experience than me will surely chime in and add to this.

Last edited by drmweaver2; 01-21-12 at 06:58 AM.
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Old 01-21-12, 06:53 AM
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You didn't hint about your age. Age does make a difference in the approach to training.

You didn't mention if you are fit from other sports activity. That makes a difference.

However,

your ride isn't until August.
according to your estimate, you can start riding in March or April.

Therefore, here is my suggestion:

Ride your bike.
Farther than 42 kms.
You'll soon learn if you can improve your speed or not.
You'll soon learn to eat and drink while riding. Bonking is not fun.
HAVE FUN !!!!!!!
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Old 01-21-12, 09:38 AM
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I would be riding my bike everyday but first of alll the roads are full of ice and slush and I only have one set of tires which are made just for dry roads in the summer, and I also have school to worry about that is more important atm, I've got exams to study for in a week.

I am 15 years old, I would say I'm fit because I'm more fit than anyone of my friends or just as fit. And I know how to really push myself when I'm feeling tired and sore.

Anyway, thanks for all of the advice everyone!
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Old 01-21-12, 11:03 AM
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A century is a pretty easy distance and can be done by anyone as long as they get in time and miles before they try to do it.

Up your miles as much as you can and be sure and take it easy (but still ride) the week of the century. Don't go too hard at the beginning of the century and you'll do much better if you hook up with a group.

On your first century you'll really start feeling your worst at 70 to 80 miles. You'll be thinking of how you felt great 50 miles back and pulled for 10 miles and wondered why you did that, so don't!

Between now and then get time with groups so you'll have good drafting and etiquette skills so on the century you'll be able to draft with a group without getting run off. Experienced cyclist can spot a newb quickly and if you make them nervous you'll get dumped.

Get as much riding in now as you can. Eat plenty while on the century, a good round number for me is 300 calories per hour when doing long rides. Don't do all the work on a century, this can happen either by you riding by yourself or pulling for others. If you go to the front on a century the rest of the group will leave you there as long as you'll stay, do no more than short pulls.
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Old 01-21-12, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr 53x11
A century is a pretty easy distance and can be done by anyone as long as they get in time and miles before they try to do it.

Up your miles as much as you can and be sure and take it easy (but still ride) the week of the century. Don't go too hard at the beginning of the century and you'll do much better if you hook up with a group.

On your first century you'll really start feeling your worst at 70 to 80 miles. You'll be thinking of how you felt great 50 miles back and pulled for 10 miles and wondered why you did that, so don't!

Between now and then get time with groups so you'll have good drafting and etiquette skills so on the century you'll be able to draft with a group without getting run off. Experienced cyclist can spot a newb quickly and if you make them nervous you'll get dumped.

Get as much riding in now as you can. Eat plenty while on the century, a good round number for me is 300 calories per hour when doing long rides. Don't do all the work on a century, this can happen either by you riding by yourself or pulling for others. If you go to the front on a century the rest of the group will leave you there as long as you'll stay, do no more than short pulls.
I am doing it with the old man that is 30 years older than me, fat, and very slow!! So I hope to get him into more shape and hopefully push him to ride it with me. Other than that I can't really draft to well, but I'll work on it, and I'll be sure to get as many miles as I can before the century.

Also, what would you say is a good riding week? I see a lot of people saying they ride Monday-Thursday, rest Friday, long ride Saturday, rest Sunday. I think I might stick with that plan as soon as I get back on the road.
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Old 01-21-12, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by sstang13
...History: I got my first ever road bike last July and rode it about 600km total, I will be starting up again when it gets warm, probably in March/April.

Longest Ride: My longest ride was about 42km (26mi) at a pace of about 20km/h (12mi/h) and I didn't feel dredful after, tired but not like I was dying.

For my training I am willing to ride everyday because I love cycling. I know that I have to ride alot and get a lot distance under my belt to get better, but are there any other things I should do during my rides to help train better and get faster and increase my fitness/endurance? I live in an area with rolling hills and flat roads, so I can not do any climbing D:
...
Taking into account your age and the ridden miles, I would focus on slow increase of the weekly distance that will build your endurance capability. You shouldn't try to increase every of the biking abilities at the same time, as it might lead you to working too hard too quick and some injuries.

It was said many times on this forum, that not the quantity of miles but the quality of them matter. So don't ride everyday, even you love it. Make your weekend rides longer and take some rest days afterwards. You will be surprise, how a day without the bike will make you hungry for ridding next time you are on.
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Old 01-21-12, 02:02 PM
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You've got so much time, I'd recommend not taking it too deathly serious. Get a computer for your bike, ride it whenever you can (take rest days for sure, though) and just work up your weekend "fun" rides until you can go for 7 or 8 hours at a stretch, and you'll be close.

If you are fortunate to live in an area that has "rails to trails" connecting cities, start planning your cycling trips to nearby cities and back with your dad. And invite some friends!

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Old 01-21-12, 05:06 PM
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I hope I'm not repeating someone else's point, but I'd look for a good bike club. You'll need to have a parent/guardian sign a waiver for you. Choose ride that are 20-30 miles for a while, then move up to 40-50, etc. and don't go blasting with the younger hammerheads. Hang with the veteran riders who are good at pacing and usually happy to help you.

When you can drop them, then ride with the hammerheads.
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Old 01-21-12, 10:21 PM
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I started riding at the same age as you and the very best thing I ever did was find a local cycling club and ride with them. They taught me a lot about proper group riding etiquette, what worked well for training, showed me a lot of new routes that were a lot of fun, and best of all they made long rides easier mentally because of having someone I can talk to for 7-8 hours.

To me the most important thing on big rides after bike fit is focus on nutrition, if you do not take in enough calories and electrolytes you WILL bonk hard and that is no fun at all, a feeling I know all too well. For me quality of calories is not so important, just that I am taking something in regularly but your results may vary, everyone's stomach is different.

Enjoy
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Old 01-22-12, 11:07 PM
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To be honest with you I feel like I can do a century now knowing that I'm physically fit. I'm in my mid-20s and I know when I'm in shape or not for the activity. That being said, I plan on doing 1 century per month this coming season. My target is May-Nov. I'll have March-April to put some base miles in. I haven't done one but I'm slowly getting back in shape (best in 4 years).

You're 15. I doubt you'll have any problems pulling a 70km ride provided that you 1. stretched and 2. ate enough before riding.
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Old 01-23-12, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Biscayne05
To be honest with you I feel like I can do a century now knowing that I'm physically fit. I'm in my mid-20s and I know when I'm in shape or not for the activity. That being said, I plan on doing 1 century per month this coming season. My target is May-Nov. I'll have March-April to put some base miles in. I haven't done one but I'm slowly getting back in shape (best in 4 years).

You're 15. I doubt you'll have any problems pulling a 70km ride provided that you 1. stretched and 2. ate enough before riding.
Haha thankyou and I feel that as long as to have something to keep you occupied it'll be easy, like obviously a group of risers, but if you don't have that, like me, then it's best to:

1. Get music to last you the whole ride.
2. Enjoy the scenery.
3. If you try to zone out it'll make it go much faster. What I mean is that if you "get lost" in your music and find a nice pace and enjoy the scenery as much as possible, you'll forget about the pain and ease through it.

Now I havnt done this with a century obviously but I've done it with runs and other sporting/leisure events, and it works!
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