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Training for a century this fall(6 posts)

Training for a century this fallronniedee
Jul 21, 2003 5:57 PM
My goal for the current year is to complete a century ride by sometime around October. If you're willing, please share your advice for training. I've gotten several ideas for training plans from magazines and cycling websites, but I'd like to hear from this site too.

Also, and probably more importantly, what works for you regarding nutrition on and off the bike.

Is it going overboard to buy energy bars or gels and to use sports drinks? I bonked for the first time 2 weeks ago doing my first 3 plus hour ride on a midride peanutbutter and banana sandwich and water. Not a pleasant experience!

If you use energy bars and sports drinks, what do you prefer?

For the 1-2 hour rides, I don't worry too much about what I eat. For anything longer, I would like to know what works best in your minds.

By the way, does anybody know anything about the century ride coming up in October in Chattanooga?
a good rule of thumb...dirtysky
Jul 21, 2003 8:10 PM
is to set up the weeks training something like this: start with the most difficult riding first sprints, intervals ect. after your rest day of course and do your endurance riding 4-5 hours toward the end of the weeks training. the idea is to do the harder stuff first when you are freshest.

i dont know how many times a week you are able to ride or if you will want to follow a rigid schedule like this one or not(its best to start out looking at the ideal and then trim it down to what is essential to incorparate into your program so that you can accomplish your goals as a rider). you wont have to follow such a rigid routine to have a good strong effort come time for your century, the main thing you'll need to do is remain consistent with your training. set up goals for yourself with each new week of riding and stick to them. remember to increase distance/difficulty gradually.

the main thing i would focus on given your goal is to build up my endurance ride little by little each week so that within a month of "the big ride" my weekly endurance ride is up to a good 5-6 hours saddle time. remember you are not pushing hard on endurance rides that is for other days. a very easy way to know if you are pushing to hard on your endurance day is if you find yourself riding harder than would allow you to carry on a conversation your going to hard.

cyrille guimard, the coach that helped to fine tune a very young but talented greg lemond said that the biggest improvement in a cyclist comes when we ride at about 10% below our actual anaerobic threshold usually between 85 and 93 percent of our max heart rate.

a very positive way (frequently overlooked) to build up your strength as a rider is to do recovery rides on your rest days when you can. i've found that often 1 to 1 1/2 hours of easy spinning on rest days does a lot more for me than a complete day off the bike.

as for on the bike energy replacement, if i know i'm going to be spending more than 2 1/2 hours in the saddle i'll start drinking an energy replacement drink (they all work well dont worry about buying more expensive ones unless you really want to) about 1 hour into a ride and continue sipping on the stuff as well as water. i'm not a big fan of energy bars or gels (although the gels do work well if you find that you are already beyond the point where regular food will work in time). fresh fruit is my personal favorit on the bike food.

above all remember to stay hydrated on and off the bike. if you are well hydrated going into a ride it will be easier for you to stay that way and the water you carry with you will go farther. dehydration increases the time it takes for our bodies to recover and recovery is the key in boulding up strength on the bike.
a good rule of thumb...dirtysky
Jul 21, 2003 8:17 PM
is to set up the weeks training something like this: start with the most difficult riding first sprints, intervals ect. after your rest day of course and do your endurance riding 4-5 hours toward the end of the weeks training. the idea is to do the harder stuff first when you are freshest.

i dont know how many times a week you are able to ride or if you will want to follow a rigid schedule like this one or not(its best to start out looking at the ideal and then trim it down to what is essential to incorparate into your program so that you can accomplish your goals as a rider). you wont have to follow such a rigid routine to have a good strong effort come time for your century, the main thing you'll need to do is remain consistent with your training. set up goals for yourself with each new week of riding and stick to them. remember to increase distance/difficulty gradually.

the main thing i would focus on given your goal is to build up my endurance ride little by little each week so that within a month of "the big ride" my weekly endurance ride is up to a good 5-6 hours saddle time. remember you are not pushing hard on endurance rides that is for other days. a very easy way to know if you are pushing to hard on your endurance day is if you find yourself riding harder than would allow you to carry on a conversation your going to hard.

cyrille guimard, the coach that helped to fine tune a very young but talented greg lemond said that the biggest improvement in a cyclist comes when we ride at about 10% below our actual anaerobic threshold usually between 85 and 93 percent of our max heart rate.

a very positive way (frequently overlooked) to build up your strength as a rider is to do recovery rides on your rest days when you can. i've found that often 1 to 1 1/2 hours of easy spinning on rest days does a lot more for me than a complete day off the bike.

as for on the bike energy replacement, if i know i'm going to be spending more than 2 1/2 hours in the saddle i'll start drinking an energy replacement drink (they all work well dont worry about buying more expensive ones unless you really want to) about 1 hour into a ride and continue sipping on the stuff as well as water. i'm not a big fan of energy bars or gels (although the gels do work well if you find that you are already beyond the point where regular food will work in time). fresh fruit is my personal favorit on the bike food.

above all remember to stay hydrated on and off the bike. if you are well hydrated going into a ride it will be easier for you to stay that way and the water you carry with you will go farther. dehydration increases the time it takes for our bodies to recover and recovery is the key in boulding up strength on the bike.

hope that some of this helps, have a great ride and fun preparing for it!
d
A little help...biknben
Jul 22, 2003 5:41 AM
I'm skeptical of DirtySki's advice. I doubt you are ready for any type of intervals and you will see little benefit at this point. That type of training will increase your speed but doesn't do much for endurance. You are trying to endure your first century not do your fastest century. The use of recovery rides is good advice.

Slowly build your endurance over the coming weeks. This is probably similar to what you have read in the mags. Those, often criticized, 16-week plans are good for someone trying to do their first century. The critics of those plans often forget they are intended for first timers.

My rule of thumb is that you should be able to double the distance you can ride well. What I mean is, if you can ride 50 miles fast/hard and feel good at the end, you should have no trouble completing twice the distance. Although, I would recommend doing a 75-80 mile ride at least two weeks before the century ride. Use that ride as an experiment. Eat and drink as you plan to for the century and see how you feel. Some products may not sit well in your stomach and you can make adjustments in types or concentrations before the century.

I would encourage you to use energy bars and drinks. You may not need them for shorter workouts but they are required for longer rides. I use just plain water on rides up to an hour long(commutes/recovery rides). Anything other than that, I use Cytomax in my bottles and will bring Gu packs and/or Cliff Bars. A 24 oz. bottle per hour is a good rule of thumb. For longer rides (+2.5 hours) I will drink a bottle before departing then start drinking on the ride after 45-60 minutes. This is really dependant on weather conditions (heat) and your personal hydration needs.

for off the bike nutrition, eat sensibly and stay hydrated.

Finally, relax. You'll do fine on the ride. It's good to see you're asking the right questions beforehand. Too many people try to wing it and end up asking these questions after have a horrible first century.

Good Luck
Ride often during the week and a long ride every weekenddzrider
Jul 22, 2003 6:33 AM
I find it more important to be steadfast than to have detailed plans. If you ride 4 days during each week for an hour or more and add 5 miles to your weekend long ride every other weekend you should be fine. If you're concerned about speed, do some intervals and/or hill repeats. If the century you've chosen has some long climbs, do some long climbs. Try to make the training process as much fun as possible.

I like Hammer-Gel and convenience stores on long rides. I also like one bottle of energy drink and one with plain water. Experiment on your long rides and go with what works for you.
re: Training for a century this fallbent_spoke
Jul 22, 2003 3:27 PM
I used a schedule outlined in Bicycling Magazine. You can go to the library & get a schedule. One that i used called for Mon(17mi/easy), Tues (20mi/mod), Wed (26mi/easy), Thurs(off), Fri (17mi/easy), Sat(25mi/mod) & Sun(35mi) for a total of 140. The schedule builds to 284mi for the peak going from 140, to 161, 173, 197, 210, 239, 229, 268 & 284). The final week was 26, 30, 34, off, 34, 20, Century. With a spreadsheet, you can fill in the daily mileage based on a percentage of total & 1st week. If you are not that far along, use this as a guide & build by 10-15% per week. I also have a schedule that maxes out at 155 (didn't use though), so there are a number of ways to get it done. My max week was 240 miles & I didn't have any problems...I've heard much lower mileage totals with good luck.

Eating & drinking is real important, so start early & keep at it. They say that you need 1/2gram carb per pound per hour, so if you weigh 150 the would be 75 grams of carbs. I'm into PopTarts right now cause they're tasty & reasonibly inexpensive. A bottle of GatorAid might add 30-35g of carbs, so between eating & drinking you will get your requirement. Find something that works for you. Also you shouldn't change your routine just before the big ride. Go with what ever works & tune your bike, replace parts, shorts, gloves etc before hand & break in/test.

Have fun training & enjoy the Century!!!!