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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    Training for Century

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    So, I am planning on doing my first century ride in 7 weeks. I have done a metric century, and feel pretty good about my riding and my ability to get into condition by the time of the event. My question is, what kind of schedule should I be doing to prepare? I haven't been able to ride more than 3 times a week, and I haven't been doing a whole lot lately...20 mile rides mostly. I know I should be up to doing a 70-80 mile ride about a week before the century, but how should I be working up to that?
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    I am wondering too... I'm at 30 and have 11 weeks to go.

    My plan (not sure if it's a good one) is to step up by 5 miles each Saturday and then make Sunday "half of Saturday". Meaning 35/17; 40/20; 45/22; 50/25, and so on... too much?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by skywalkerbeth View Post
    I am wondering too... I'm at 30 and have 11 weeks to go.

    My plan (not sure if it's a good one) is to step up by 5 miles each Saturday and then make Sunday "half of Saturday". Meaning 35/17; 40/20; 45/22; 50/25, and so on... too much?
    I think that's too little. I increased my long ride by 15 miles per week on a 7 week training plan. Since you have 11 weeks, you could do 10 miles per week. Of course this should be tempered by what you know about your own fitness level and capacity.
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  4. #4
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    Aug 2008
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    Most training programs recommend increasing by 10% each week, so 5/week sounds about right. However, a long ride of 60ish is sufficient, so if you've completed a metric, you're there. Anything above that is a bonus.
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  5. #5
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    Jun 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrekTheKaty View Post
    Most training programs recommend increasing by 10% each week, so 5/week sounds about right. However, a long ride of 60ish is sufficient, so if you've completed a metric, you're there. Anything above that is a bonus.
    I have heard this advice, and frankly, I don't believe it is good advice unless you are also riding at least 120 miles per week. Riding 60 miles feels almost nothing like 100 miles, and even my longest training ride of 75 miles felt inadequate compared to the full century. Of course a lot of this will depend on your overall fitness levels and your strength as a rider.

    I used Selene Yeager's century training plan from "Every Woman's Guide to Cycling." She recommended not exceeding an increase to your total weekly mileage of more than 10%, which is different from increasing your long ride by only 10%.
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  6. #6
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    May 2008
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    Really, if you're only increasing rides by 5 miles at a time, then suddenly going up by 40 miles is huge. That's an extra 2-3 hours of riding, maybe more. It is a mental challenge as well as a physical challenge.

    My longest training rides for centuries were 80-90 miles.

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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ny biker View Post
    Really, if you're only increasing rides by 5 miles at a time, then suddenly going up by 40 miles is huge. That's an extra 2-3 hours of riding, maybe more. It is a mental challenge as well as a physical challenge.

    My longest training rides for centuries were 80-90 miles.
    Adrenaline will carry you through 10-20 miles, so this would be minimal, in my experience. Also, you need to taper during your last week. So, 7 days before, you might ride 60 miles, then mid-week ride 30 miles & give yourself 2 or more days off the bike before your century.
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  8. #8
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    Oct 2007
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    A fellow rider and I are training also - we have 6 weeks to go and are up to 60 miles. I ride three times a week - Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. 60 still feels a little rough, so I'm a little concerned because I am certain there is a huge difference between 60 and 80, and again between 80 and 100!
    I was going to try adding 5-7 miles per week, depending on the amount of incline the route offers. Food/fuel might be an obstacle for me to sort out now - what do you usually carry? Right now I have one water bottle with Nunn in it, the other is plain water, when we refill I do the same, first bottle is Nunn the other plain. I carry peanuts and home-made fruit roll ups. I usually also have a peanut butter granola bar along.
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Indianapolis, Indiana
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    Most important of all, listen to your body! Personally I do not understand it when I see advice that 60-70 miles is "close enough" to a full century. There is a world of difference between 60 miles and 100! Last summer I had no problems with metric centuries, but 75 miles was a quite different story. I injured myself before I reached my goal, and that was due to not listening to my body - or understanding what it was trying to tell me.

    Plans are good, and the goal of 10% mileage increase per week works well - but it is important to remember the body does reach plateaus when building a strong mileage base. Really listen to your body, rest days are as much a part of training as active riding is. I learned the hard way that the body couldn't care less about that training chart we have so carefully worked out if it doesn't get the right amount of rest, nutrition, and hydration.

    You will find your nutrition requirements changing as you ride longer/further, it is a good idea to take more food with you than you think you will need. You won't regret it either way

    For long rides I do not take pure water with me, unless I think I might need something to pour over my head to cool me down if riding in the heat of the day. For long rides I have a hydration pack full of Hammer Heed, and a water bottle of Accelerade. For rides <45 miles I will generally just have water with me and Shot Blocks unless it is VERY hot, then I might put Heed in my hydration pack, it depends on where I am riding.

    I hope at least some of this is helpful, take what you need and leave the rest

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    112
    Hi everyone

    Thank you for the great input. It's so funny the difference advice I am getting on a mostly male (non cycling) forum. I told some male friends on this forum about my bike (knowing that many cycle) and about the planned century. Last night one of them told me "if you can do 30 you can do a century" and another said "four hours training ride, tops, is enough". I bet he's faster than I am. 4 hours would be 50 miles for me assuming I can keep my current pace. I am not convinced I will become faster as a result of this training - just more endurance.

    The thing I have to remember is that I am 45 and while I used to be in great shape, and have tried to at least keep a minimum fitness level, I AM a middle aged sedentary office worker (attorney). I'm on my *** at work constantly and the past few years I've gotten incrementally worse and worse at keeping up with fitness. The call of the couch and a glass of wine is strong after a day at work (why the couch I cannot say). I am trying to reverse what is becoming a long standing trend before it's too late.

    My last ride, two weeks ago (too hot otherwise) was 22 miles and I felt like a million bucks afterwards and felt I could go on and on. Y'day was 30. I felt mostly good, but definite knee pain in my right knee and my back was stiff later in the day. Also my neck hurt somewhat. That's only an 8 mile increase. On the other hand, two full weeks of nothing.

    Re: nutrition. I am SO bad about food. Again, lazy habits. No doubt I should be on a special diet, or at least pay attention. I will be scouring the board for tips there.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    Concord, MA
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    I did a flat century, but with vicious headwinds, with no training other than my usual hilly riding, with rides up to 65 miles or so.
    Would I do it again? Maybe. I might want to do a 75 miler or 80 miler, before, but I don't think that would take away the mental pain of miles 85-100. Most of it is in your head and good nutrition/hydration. I'm just really adverse to "training." I knew in my head I could do it, and I set a realistic time goal, which I beat by a half hour. I did not ride fast, with 6.5 hours of riding time.
    I had been riding for awhile when I did this, so SkyWalker is in a different position. But, it seems like maybe you need to do *more* riding, not necessarily longer. There's a huge difference between 30 and 100 miles. The year I did the century, I rode 3,000 miles, but a lot of those miles were little 15 mile rides I could squeeze in before or after work. I always ride both days on the weekends, usually one long ride and one of 15-25 miles. I take Mondays off and another day during the week. Mostly, those are active rest days, doing yoga or walking/hiking.
    Everyone's different, but I would start riding more if I was in your position, while at the same time, slowly increasing your long ride of the week.
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  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Ann Arbor, MI
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    109
    Here is a thumbnail sketch of Selene Yeager's training plan. It's actually less aggressive than the one in her book, as that one has you riding a minimum of 5 days a week and preferably 6.

    Given what you've said above, I think you would really need to have at least one training ride of 85 miles under your belt before the century (especially if your pace is really 4 hours/50 miles. You need to acclimate to the saddle time, as well as acclimating to the effort. The only real way to make up for volume (number of miles) is to increase intensity significantly. This is the basis of Chris Carmichael's "The Time Crunched Athlete" program: using high intensity intervals, he gets his clients into competitive race shape with a maximum of 8 riding hours per week. I know you're not racing, but the principle still holds. If you can do 40 miles at a pace that sends you into your 80-85% max HR zone, then you can probably do double that mileage at a lower intensity on century day.

    Race day nutrition is a different concern that day-to-day nutrition. I really recommend that you get yourself a copy of "Everywoman's Guide to Cycling." It goes through all of these things, and is for the most part a very good resource.
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