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Last week before Century, How do I prepare?(7 posts)

Last week before Century, How do I prepare?jimmydean
Oct 1, 2001 9:00 PM
Controversy between a friend and myself. Got a century on Sat. We have trained hard and feel fit and ready.

He feels (has been told) that he should ride easy on Mon. and Weds. and then ride at least 50 miles (moderate to hard pace) on Friday, the day prior to the race, to "shock his system" for the following day.

I have always tapered the week prior to a century, say 50 miles moderately on Monday, easy 25-30 miles on Weds. and then take Thurs. and Friday off. I usually feel strong.
I just thought his plan would leave him short on reserve energy stores.

Any thoughts on this type of preperation vs. mine? Or, are we both goofy? Thanks for any help, Jimmydean
re: Last week before Century, How do I prepare?bikedodger
Oct 2, 2001 8:38 AM
If you are in really good shape, then the 50 miler wouldn't hurt (I have done 2 centuries after doing 50 mile rides the day before, but I feel I would have been faster by not doing so), but if not then you would definitely reduce your energy reserves. I cannot understand what is meant by 'shock his system'.

I always have had better results with tapering off the week of the ride as you are proposing. If this is our first century then I would definitely recommend the tapering off and rest days.

re: Last week before Century, How do I prepare?Jon
Oct 2, 2001 8:41 AM
I've never heard the "50 mi. hard" advice before. Seems to me that would deplete your glycogen stores
pretty badly, leaving you flat for the Saturday ride. The idea of "shocking" muscles on the day
prior to an event comes from racing. Short, hard intervals seem to "wake up" the body after
a taper or short rest. The effect is both neuromuscular and aerobic in that lactate clearance
mechanisms seem to get fired up. However, such an effort would be limited to a 30 min. to 1 hr.
ride with three or four 90 sec. intervals at race pace, not a 50 mi. hard ride. Personally, I like
your plan a lot better! After all, you're not preparing for a race.
Oct 2, 2001 11:47 AM
I'd rest up. You won't gain much training effect in a few days, but you could easily get yourself tired and sore. Absolutely do not ride 50 miles the day before your first century. That's just plain stupid, unless you are a very experienced road racer. I'd do a couple of light rides this week, maybe push it up a couple of hills. Don't ride Friday.

I agree...jimmydean
Oct 2, 2001 8:47 PM
jimmydean here again,
my buddy tells me the ride on friday will now be "easy to moderate". I believe that's still too much and I agree with Dog that rest is the way to go. This race is not well attended, 30-40 riders with plenty of brutal headwinds, it's not like he can sit in the back of the pack and kick. Not that he would normally do that, he'd take his turn pulling, but if your depleted, drafting's an option,just not in this race.

Anyways, thanks for the input so far, jimmydean
man's best friendBirddog
Oct 6, 2001 9:48 AM
Dog is right. I do like to ride the day before a century though and I typically do 10 to 20 miles moderately hard with a couple of sprints or short hills and overall I ride with a good spin. By doing this, I just don't feel stale on race day. I would not go more than 20 miles though, the day before the race.
my advice is too late but...Tig
Oct 9, 2001 8:15 AM
I agree with the tapering the week before a century or other big event. A hard 50 mile "shock" ride is exactly opposite of accepted and proven preparation practices.

One thing not mentioned is about building glycogen stores (carbo loading). To build a full muscle and liver glycogen store, we have to burn it through exercise first, then replenish it quickly. If we ride a little each day before the event, we can keep this cycle going. Naturally, the ride's durations and intensities should be tapered down as the day approaches, but to not ride the day before may rob you of the full glycogen store potential. The cycle is broken. Of course, each person's fitness level and body is different and will factor in on effectiveness. The Friday ride should be easy but long enough to burn glycogen.