Marin Cyclists Club
Connecting cyclists since 1963

 

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Training for 100 Miles

Before starting any training plan consult your doctor by obtaining a full physical examination.

In order to be successful on the bike you must be mentally and physically prepared to overcome the challenges of riding a bike.

When you ride keep training logs of your miles taking into consideration the following:

  • Course
  • Weather
  • Intensity (hills, intervals, steady pace, etc.)
  • Elapsed time
  • Mileage
  • Average speed
  • An assessment of how you felt
  • Stretching time

Keep the log next to your bike so that you can add the information as soon as you are back from a ride. This should take 2-3 minutes.

The information will give you specific data of your progress and it will help you avoid overtraining.

 

Now, how many miles should you ride? When should you start? What is an easy day and what is a hard day? What are intervals? How often should I ride? Many questions like these and more will arise as you start your plan. The following plan is a general plan for the person who wants to finish a century for the first time.

 

Increasing mileage to your training should be proportional with your fitness level. As a general rule of thumb, increase mileage by 7% - 10% each week. It is best to start as soon as you decide you want to ride 100 miles, 12 weeks before is recommended assuming you have had base miles of about 40 – 50 miles a week.

 

In order to define intensity, divide up your efforts into zones 1 – 4. Zone 1, an easy day is a leisurely ride that will help you rest, warm up or cool down. Zone 2, a ride at the pace you will ride the century. This is when knowing the average speed of you long distance bike rides come into play. Zone 3, it’s the speed faster than your century pace.  Zone 4, it’s the maximal effort you can do in a small amount of time 20 seconds to 60 seconds.

 

Once your zones are defined you can easily create different workout plans for your self. Always dedicate one day for long rides, one day for zone 4 rides, one day for zone 3 rides and a combination of zones rides. Incorporate strength training and stretching days to be more successful with your plan. Interval training is defined as a workout with periods of zone 4 intensity and zone 1 or 2 intensity as recover. For example, warm up for 15 minutes followed by 1 minute at zone 4, recover at zone 1, repeat 5 times and finish with a cool down, Increase repetitions every week for four weeks by adding 2 repetitions each week. After the 4 weeks allow for one week of less intense work so that your body can recover.

 

Ride 5 to 6 times a week even if some days are only 10 miles. Neurologically your body will adjust to the regimen and advance to a higher level. Physiologically, adenosine triphosphate (ATP) molecules in muscle cells are split to release energy that enables the muscles to contract, however muscles respond to the commands from the central nervous system. Therefore, mind and body is a powerful connection that cannot be undermined. During high intensity workouts as in an event your mind will overpower your muscles to give the last amount of energy to fulfill your goal.

 

I highly recommend hiring an experienced cycling coach to help you attain the best results.

 

In 2002, I hired John Hughes to help me train for Paris Brest Paris 2003, I ended up as the 3rd American to finish and in 15th place overall of the 200 women who entered the grueling 1200km event. Hire a coach in your area who can help you define your zones and accurately prepare a training plan for your success, in the mean time you can start with the following plan.

 

Monday: Recover from the weekend long ride by either taking a yoga class, riding no more than 10 miles or go to the gym and lift weights for your upper body and core only. Rest the legs.

 

Tuesday: Do hill interval lasting between 20 seconds to 45 seconds and rest for one minute in between hill repeat. Start with 6 hill repeats. Pick a hill that is 3% to 5% incline. As training increases, add two hill repeats each week until you reach 15 hill repeats as your maximum.

 

Wednesday: Easy 10 – 20 miles, for example China Camp is a good loop to do at your zone 1 pace.  Another option could be to take the day off and stretch for about 20 minutes.

 

Thursday: Lift weights and ride for about one hour at zone 1 or zone 2.

 

Friday: Mentally prepare for your long ride on Saturday and ride for about 60 to 120 minutes at zone 2. If you are sore from lifting the previous day ride at zone 1 to allow for your body to recover

 

Saturday: Go for a club ride where you will be able to chit-chat most of the ride, with it’s occasional fast pace lines at zone 3. If the pace is too fast for your training, slow down. Another pace line might be just around the corner. The Saturday ride should be fun and taxing to your body. Use it as the day to experiment with food, take note of the amount of water you need, discover favorite foods, etc. This should be between 30 to 65 mile rides every weekend.

 

Sunday: rest day or easy 10-25 miles at zone 1. Keep it short so that you can enjoy the rest of the day with family or friends.

 


Sample of Training Plan to finish a 100 mile ride

Week

M

T

W

Th

F

Sat.

Sun.

Total

1

0

10

12

10

0

30

12

74

2

0

10

12

5

10

35

10

82

3

0

12

12

5

10

40

10

89

4

0

12

15

10

10

40

10

97

5

0

15

15

10

12

45

15

112

6

0

15

20

10

12

50

15

122

7

5

15

20

10

12

50

15

127

8

10

20

20

12

15

55

15

147

9

12

20

25

15

20

55

15

162

10

0

30

25

20

20

60

20

175

11

0

30

30

20

20

65

20

185

12

0

20

25

20

15

65

20

165

Event Week

0

20

20

0

10

100

10

160

 

Zone 1

Zone 3- 4

Zone 2

Zone 1

Zone 2

Zone 2

Zone 1

 

 


Written and created by Susan Forsman, USA Cycling Coach II

 


Trainers and coaches in Marin County, visit some of our favorites.

 

 


 

Marin Cyclists Club   P.O. Box 2611   San Rafael, CA 94912

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