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Training schedule improvements in preparation for century?

Old 02-21-17, 09:57 AM
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maartendc
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Training schedule improvements in preparation for century?

Hello all,

I am going to try and ride a century around April-May of this year. So far I can do around 60 miles. The furthest distance I have ever cycled is about 75 miles last year, but I was exhausted at the end. I am afraid I will have trouble sustaining a full 100 miles (hilly terrain).

My current cycling schedule is like this:

Monday: 2 x 10 minutes (commute)
Tuesday: 2 x 10 minutes (commute)
Wednesday: 2 x 20 minutes
Thursday: 2 x 10 minutes (commute)
Friday: 2 x 10 minutes (commute)
Saturday: 2 x 15 minutes - hard effort
Sunday: 1 x 5 hours - easy / moderate effort (55 miles average)

So I do very low miles during the week because my commute is only 2.5 miles, but I bike every day. On Sundays I do one long ride of 55 miles or so.


What would be the best preparation for the century?
- Should I gradually increase the distance I do on Sundays? 55, 60, 65, 70 miles, etc.
OR
- Should I try to fit in more miles during the week? (lets say a 20 mile - 2hr ride on Wednesdays or so).

Which approach would benefit my training for a long distance event (century) more?

Thanks!
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Old 02-21-17, 09:45 PM
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The way it works is that one can usually complete a ride as long as the total miles one usually rides during a whole week. To complete the ride and have fun usually takes about 1.5 as many weekly miles as the ride is long. That works up to about a century and past that, 150-200 miles/week is enough unless you're doing an ultra race.

I suggest more miles during the week. OTOH, it helps a lot to have your hydration and nutrition strategies down and the only way to do that is to ride 75-80 miles. If you already know that stuff, then 60 is all one needs to do IME. However! The long weekend ride I do not do easy/moderate. I go by a standard that says, "If you can walk at the finish, you could have gone harder." I don't quite mean that literally, but you should be absolutely whupped. That's how you get strong. Do the easy/moderate riding during the week. When I was just starting out, I'd ride away from home until I was tired, then ride back. Ride hills, too. Hills make you strong. I've done group rides where the motto was, "See hill, ride up it." Not a bad motto.
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Old 02-22-17, 01:39 AM
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Originally Posted by maartendc View Post
What would be the best preparation for the century?
- Should I gradually increase the distance I do on Sundays? 55, 60, 65, 70 miles, etc.
OR
- Should I try to fit in more miles during the week? (lets say a 20 mile - 2hr ride on Wednesdays or so).
Yes to both.


These days, we're having trouble getting rides in during the week but we're debating about options to improve that situation.

Meanwhile, I'm walking a lot and climbing lots of stairs during the week ... and then we're cycling longish distances both days on the weekends.

That's enough so that we can comfortably ride centuries ... we've done 2 of them so far this year.

But, I think if we're going ride longer distances, we're going to have to figure out how to ride more during the week.
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Old 02-22-17, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
The way it works is that one can usually complete a ride as long as the total miles one usually rides during a whole week. To complete the ride and have fun usually takes about 1.5 as many weekly miles as the ride is long. That works up to about a century and past that, 150-200 miles/week is enough unless you're doing an ultra race.

I suggest more miles during the week. OTOH, it helps a lot to have your hydration and nutrition strategies down and the only way to do that is to ride 75-80 miles. If you already know that stuff, then 60 is all one needs to do IME. However! The long weekend ride I do not do easy/moderate. I go by a standard that says, "If you can walk at the finish, you could have gone harder." I don't quite mean that literally, but you should be absolutely whupped. That's how you get strong. Do the easy/moderate riding during the week. When I was just starting out, I'd ride away from home until I was tired, then ride back. Ride hills, too. Hills make you strong. I've done group rides where the motto was, "See hill, ride up it." Not a bad motto.
Thanks, that is good advice. I had no idea about the 1.5 times as many weekly miles. I will probably not get to that many, but I could probably get to 100 miles per week.

I think nutrition and hydration is no problem, I tend to eat something once every hour, and drink to thirst. No problems with that on up to 75 miles I've done.

My usual route on the weekend is very hilly, so I usually am really tired when I get home. I try to take it easy the first few hours, not to suffer too much at the end. I will make sure not to go too easy on the weekends to build up some strength. Thanks!

Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Yes to both.


These days, we're having trouble getting rides in during the week but we're debating about options to improve that situation.

Meanwhile, I'm walking a lot and climbing lots of stairs during the week ... and then we're cycling longish distances both days on the weekends.

That's enough so that we can comfortably ride centuries ... we've done 2 of them so far this year.

But, I think if we're going ride longer distances, we're going to have to figure out how to ride more during the week.
Thanks for that.

Yes it is hard to fit in a lot of miles during the week with a full time job. I did buy a stationary trainer for my road bike recently, so I will try to do some more miles that way actually. After work when it is dark outside, I don't feel like/want to go riding outside anymore.
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Old 02-22-17, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Yes to both.


These days, we're having trouble getting rides in during the week but we're debating about options to improve that situation.

Meanwhile, I'm walking a lot and climbing lots of stairs during the week ... and then we're cycling longish distances both days on the weekends.

That's enough so that we can comfortably ride centuries ... we've done 2 of them so far this year.

But, I think if we're going ride longer distances, we're going to have to figure out how to ride more during the week.
Resistance rollers are my weapon of choice. I put in a lot of time on them, maybe 2000 miles/year. Boredom isn't an issue for me as long as I do interesting things on them.
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Old 02-22-17, 11:45 AM
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@Carbonfiberboy, I never heard those guidelines. They're very encouraging to me, as I will be able to manage that. I'm already keeping track of my miles, and I need to increase them only a bit to be as prepared as I want to be. So thanks!
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Old 02-22-17, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by maartendc View Post
Hello all,

I am going to try and ride a century around April-May of this year. So far I can do around 60 miles. The furthest distance I have ever cycled is about 75 miles last year, but I was exhausted at the end. I am afraid I will have trouble sustaining a full 100 miles (hilly terrain).

My current cycling schedule is like this:

Monday: 2 x 10 minutes (commute)
Tuesday: 2 x 10 minutes (commute)
Wednesday: 2 x 20 minutes
Thursday: 2 x 10 minutes (commute)
Friday: 2 x 10 minutes (commute)
Saturday: 2 x 15 minutes - hard effort
Sunday: 1 x 5 hours - easy / moderate effort (55 miles average)

So I do very low miles during the week because my commute is only 2.5 miles, but I bike every day. On Sundays I do one long ride of 55 miles or so.


What would be the best preparation for the century?
- Should I gradually increase the distance I do on Sundays? 55, 60, 65, 70 miles, etc.
OR
- Should I try to fit in more miles during the week? (lets say a 20 mile - 2hr ride on Wednesdays or so).

Which approach would benefit my training for a long distance event (century) more?

Thanks!
There's no law requiring you to take the most direct commute route to work. Is there any way you can take a detour?
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Old 02-22-17, 07:49 PM
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The guidelines I've heard for centuries and double metrics (200Ks) is that if you can do 2/3 of the ride reasonably comfortably, you can do the whole ride.

So if you're comfortable with approx. 140 km rides, you should be able to ride a 200 km all right.


For longer rides, I've heard that if you can cover the distance you intend to ride over a long weekend (a 3-day weekend) you should be able to ride the distance.

So if you can ride a 200K, a 150 km, and 50 km ride over a long weekend, you should do all right on a 400K.


And for longer ones like the 600K distance ... if you can ride 600K over a week, you can ride it in a day.

These are things I've just heard tossed about in casual conversation.


So back to the OP's situation ... I'd recommend getting comfortable with about 60-70 miles so that you can ride 60-70 km and then do the yard work or go out grocery shopping or whatever. So that 60-70 miles isn't completely exhausting. Then you'll be ready for a century.
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Old 02-23-17, 09:32 AM
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Please know that I mean no disrespect . . . but I doubt you're getting any training benefit worthy of the name from a 10-minute commute. Your body won't be shifting into endurance mode (i.e., century mode, fat burning mode) until you've ridden at a moderate pace for around 30+ minutes. I think your most important step is to find a way to turn 3 or 4 of those 10-minute rides into 45-minute or 1-hour rides during the week. It is important to condition your body to function in "endurance mode." Once you've done that, I think you'll be surprised how easy longer distances become.
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Old 02-24-17, 02:11 PM
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If time is an issue I would look into adding some intervals into your week. Hill climbing was mentioned, but, there are others that will help you build your fitness. I've read about dozens of different methods, check some out and find what targets your weak areas. Work on those until they become easier. These will translate to longer/easier miles on your Sunday rides.

At least, that worked for me.
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Old 02-24-17, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
Please know that I mean no disrespect . . . but I doubt you're getting any training benefit worthy of the name from a 10-minute commute. Your body won't be shifting into endurance mode (i.e., century mode, fat burning mode) until you've ridden at a moderate pace for around 30+ minutes. I think your most important step is to find a way to turn 3 or 4 of those 10-minute rides into 45-minute or 1-hour rides during the week. It is important to condition your body to function in "endurance mode." Once you've done that, I think you'll be surprised how easy longer distances become.
Yeah I was aware that those 10 minutes commutes dont really do a lot for me. Although there are some steep hills in my commute, so at least I am hoping it helps build some leg muscle strength. Nothing in terms of endurance. But I can try and take a detour some time, to add in some more miles.

Originally Posted by Gaelen View Post
If time is an issue I would look into adding some intervals into your week. Hill climbing was mentioned, but, there are others that will help you build your fitness. I've read about dozens of different methods, check some out and find what targets your weak areas. Work on those until they become easier. These will translate to longer/easier miles on your Sunday rides.

At least, that worked for me.
Thats a good point. The most exhausting part of the 100 miles would be steep hills, so I can try to do some serious climbing during the week, even if it only amounts to about an hour or so.

Originally Posted by Machka View Post
The guidelines I've heard for centuries and double metrics (200Ks) is that if you can do 2/3 of the ride reasonably comfortably, you can do the whole ride.

So if you're comfortable with approx. 140 km rides, you should be able to ride a 200 km all right.


For longer rides, I've heard that if you can cover the distance you intend to ride over a long weekend (a 3-day weekend) you should be able to ride the distance.

So if you can ride a 200K, a 150 km, and 50 km ride over a long weekend, you should do all right on a 400K.


And for longer ones like the 600K distance ... if you can ride 600K over a week, you can ride it in a day.

These are things I've just heard tossed about in casual conversation.


So back to the OP's situation ... I'd recommend getting comfortable with about 60-70 miles so that you can ride 60-70 km and then do the yard work or go out grocery shopping or whatever. So that 60-70 miles isn't completely exhausting. Then you'll be ready for a century.
Interesting metrics. I can actually do 60-70 miles okay now, pretty tired afterwards. I will try to get better at that distance, and take it from there.

It will be a long time before I can do 400 or 600, yikes!

Thanks everyone!
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Old 02-25-17, 07:55 PM
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Just an idea, but what about turning those 10 minute cycling commutes into 2.5 mile walks or runs or run/walks? Or like someone above mentioned, try to add some miles either to or from work a few times a week.

For me, I try to turn my lunch hour into training sessions when I can and just snack or eat lunch at my desk.
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Old 02-26-17, 12:48 PM
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We are also ramping it up on our tandem. We did 84 miles yesterday, only 2500' of climbing, so it was a long endurance ride. We were tired at the end, which says to me that we need more short, hard efforts. Next weekend we do maybe 35 miles with 2000' and punch it hard on every climb until we can't anymore. Weekend after, we'll do the same, but a few more miles. Gotta get those aerobic systems functioning better. It's gonna rain but screw it, we'll just do it in the rain. Our main problem right now is that I've been sick since New Years, still have bronchitis. Very gradually getting better, but lost a lot of fitness.
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Old 02-27-17, 11:37 AM
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If you have a Garmin, here's a free 8 week training plan to prep for a century.

https://connect.garmin.com/modern/training-plan

EDIT: That doesn't go to the plan. Click "+ Find a Training Plan" and the select cycling under "Filter by."
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