Thursday, March 3, 2016

#10weeksto100 - Week 2 - The Training Plan

When I talk about my spring riding to prepare for one of my favorite events, novice riders are surprised to hear that I have my first 1,000 miles of riding in so early in the year.  While I start the year with that goal in mind, those miles come about has much by habit as anything else.   A training plan is just that, laying out your weekly preparation so it becomes habit.  By breaking down your training into routine, weekly events, it becomes much easier to accomplish.  And when the preparation becomes a habit, the end goal is much easier to complete.

Our first step in your training plan was to have an end result in mind. With your answers to the 3 questions from week 1, you have given some thought to who you are as a rider and how you want to ride your event. You should also have a MPH base number from  10 mile “talk test” ride. With this information in hand, we can go about creating a training plan.


My suggested training plan is very basic, with a focus on maintaining a schedule for your riding for the 10 weeks leading up your event.  The plan is based on time rather than mileage.  Your first step in your training plan was to have an end result in mind. With your answers to the 3 questions from week 1, you have given some thought to who you are as a rider and how you want to ride your event. You should also have a MPH base number from your 10 mile “talk test” ride. With this information in hand,  your plan is almost done.

At the start of TOSRV, 2007

Each week is a minimum of two 90-minute workout rides*, typically during your work-week, and one long ride that will incrementally increases 30 to 45 minutes per week over the 10 weeks.  While most or your riding will be at your event pace, one ride per week should be a “Pace Plus” ride.   When your schedule allows, you can add additional rides, and you can be flexible and change from the 3, 4 or 5-day schedules I have included.  (In fact, if you life is like mine, you probably will!)

Planning Tip – don’t forget to include and pre and post workout time, along with travel to the ride start, when planning your week.

The ride plan focuses on these three goals:
Training your body to maintain your event pace
Exceeding your event pace for an entire ride once per week
Incrementally increasing your longest ride each week, while maintaining your event pace

Each of the goals supports the other.  Learning a consistent riding pace is the to key endurance riding success, while riding over your event pace for short intervals helps build strength and confidence.  Your endurance ride will build upon what you gain from Pace and Pace Plus rides.  Pace Plus riding under normal conditions will also help you to maintain your planned pace on a windy day or hilly route.  Another important aspect of a Pace Plus ride is that it helps to avoid the risk of overtraining, a common novice mistake.

Another work out type is the Rest and Recovery ride, i.e. gong riding just for fun, with no goal in mind.  A short, easy ride, a day or two after your longer ride will help to warm and relax tired muscles.  You will be pleasantly surprised how much better you feel the day after this type of short ride, compared, to just resting for 2-3 days with no activity after a long or challenging ride.

Finally, your workout schedule, like mine, may include bike commuting.  Bike commuting, is typically going to be at or below your event pace.  This is all a factor of the distance you commute, the number of days you can commute, and how much you need to carry along.   My commute of about 10 miles (1 way) is usually 3 days a week, with an easy ride in, and challenging myself more for the ride home.  I then do my pace plus rides on the non-commuting days.  Bike commuting may not work for you for you, but certainly consider it, especially if you feel training time is hard to find.  (See also, How to Find the Time, also in this series.)

The total plan is based on 8-10 weeks.  The number of weeks will vary on base level of fitness, and where you are in your riding season. An early season ride may need the full 10 weeks, but if you are already riding longer distance, you can adjust the schedule, as long as you build up the distance over a few weeks. You may not ride all the way up to your distance, but that is okay.

Here is a quick summary of your different workout rides, and their goal.  With the schedule summaries that follow, you can add these these into your calendar (another important habit).

Your Pace workout goal is to maintain your planned event pace for the duration of the ride.
Your Endurance workout goal is to increase your distance at event pace each week.
Your Pace Plus workout goal is to exceed your planned event pace, by 1-2 mph each week.
A Rest and Recovery ride is a short ride at your event pace or easier, to warm up and relax the muscles you have been training.  I sometimes call these “Just Out Riding”, just getting out for the fun of it.
Bicycle Commuting can be used as fits your schedule and needs, from easy base miles, to a Pace Plus ride home at the end of the day.

When you look at the weeks ahead and laying out your you schedule, here is how the different options might look

3-Day Schedule – Tuesday, Pace ride , Thursday – Pace Plus – Saturday – Endurance Day.

4-Day Schedule - Tuesday, Pace Ride , Thursday – Pace Plus – Saturday – Pace Day – Sunday Endurance  Day
- OR - Saturday – Endurance Day – Sunday Pace or  Rest and Recovery Day

5-Day Schedule – Monday – Rest and Recovery Ride Day Tuesday, Pace Ride , Thursday – Pace Plus – Saturday – Pace Day – Sunday Endurance  Day


(Revised July 27, 2017)

Week 2 of the #10weeksto100 series 

 The series is intended as mentoring, rather than athlete specific coaching. That being the case, these are broad, general guidelines of a riding style and philosophy. You can find the series intro here - Preparing for Your First Long Ride or Century

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