Thursday, March 17, 2016

#10WeeksTo100 – Week 3 – Faster is as Important as Farther

Sizzling Century, Kokomo Indiana, 2013
I have to admit, during my first decade of riding, preparing for centuries was all about just riding more miles. It was bicycle touring that drew me into the sport, and I never seriously pursued anything competitive beyond a few citizen races (none of which indicated I had a future in bicycle racing).

Most of my early centuries were all-day events, with lavish food and lunch stops, and long breaks off the bike. Through the early 90’s, most of these bike club events were sanctioned by the League of American Wheelmen (later to become the League of American Bicyclists), and their “standard” for a century was to complete the 100 miles in under 12 hours. (Sadly, September as National Century Month as all but disappeared from the current LAB scope of interests.)

Even after I acquired a used Raleigh Pro, a vintage (road) racing bike made in the early 70’s, (and bike #4), it was more for just riding “light” when I didn’t want to ride my fender and rack equipped touring bike. It was fun and sporting, and let me dabble in sew-ups and those few citizen races.

Shady Sag, Sizzling Century 2013
It wasn’t until my late 20’s and early 30’s that speed became a part of my distance regimen. Riding “Sub-6”( 6 hours riding or even total time became my goal for many centuries, as I also worked on less time off the bike, even riding some solo centuries non-stop.

This was at the same time I was able join more fast club ride, both sport group rides and race training rides. I soon realized that shorter, faster mid-week rides were allowing me to improve my on endurance rides, even when they did not approach the pace of midweek fast rides.

Those short, high intensity workouts were make me stronger, and more rested than my previous “all miles, all the time” regimen. And over time, my average speed began to pick up as well, in line with the confidence and experience of riding with those faster groups.
So use your midweek rides to keep yourself more rested and prepared for your longer weekend efforts as you build up your distance. While you may have small increases in distance mid-week, a regular training loop route that is the same distance each week is ideal for your brisk ride day.

Just remember to add the speed incrementally, testing yourself and watching the overall speed. If you average speed was 14 mph in your talk test, riding to maintain 15 ½ to 16 ½ on short evening ride is fine. And you may want to return to your “test ride” loop again, working to improve from your original time for this ride.

Tips to get faster
  • Accelerate out of stop signs. Don’t just roll away, stand up and accelerate after a stop to get more quickly back up to speed.
  • Shift up and stand on the flats. When there isn’t a hill to be found, it is easy to drop into an easy pace. Shift to a higher gear, stand for 15 to 20 pedal strokes to accelerate, and the settle down at the faster pace. (This is good skill to learn for saddle pain relief too, and we will talk more about that later.)
  • Hold that effort at the top of hill. Once you crested a hill, hold that effort and use to accelerate back up to your higher pace.
  • Use a Tailwind. Don’t just coast along, use a tailwind to learn what your bike feels like going faster.
  • Use a Headwind.  A bit more challenging, but strive to maintain your event pace into a wind.  This is just as good a riding faster!


Week 3 Riding Plan: 1 Distance Ride, 1 Brisk Ride and 2-4 event pace rides.
  • Monday- No Ride – or 5 -10 miles easy
  • Tuesday - Pace Ride - 10-15 miles
  • Wednesday – Rest Day
  • Thursday – Brisk Day – 10-15 miles, 2-2.5 mph faster than pace ride
  • Friday – Rest day
  • Saturday / Sunday Both days at pace with a long day (25-35 miles) and a medium day (12 to 22 miles).




Week 3 of the #10weeksto100. 

 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

Thursday, March 3, 2016

#10weeksto100 - Week 2 - The Training Plan

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.

While building up to your event distance is important, you need to have a mix of riding to improve your overall fitness. Your training also needs to help you be ready for the unexpected, and to help you with your comfort during riding. Finally, you also want to be sure  you have balance in your schedule that keep you rested and reduces the chance of injury. This is why I am a strong proponent of only long day per per week.  This is a schedule that leaves you time for recovery and that other stuff that comes up in “life”. (In a future post I will cover tips for training in a time crunched schedule.)

At the start of TOSRV, 2007
The training plan (and ongoing training habit) I suggest is that you challenge yourself just two days a week. One day each week is for riding faster than your planned event pace, and one day is for increasing your distance. The rest of the week – 2-4 times, or what ever you include in your schedule, is for just riding at your event pace, including 1 easy recovery day of riding.  This training plan will help protect you from the risk of over-use injuries (from just piling on more miles), help you learn to ride at a consistent pace, and through the "Pace Plus" days, help you in building some reserve strength and speed.

On weekly basis, your riding will look like this.

Event Pace Rides (Just Out Riding): 2-4 times per week, at the speed you want to ride your century, or even easier if it is rest day.

Pace Plus Ride (Once per week): This is one short to medium ride that is slightly (1 1/2- 3 mph) faster than your event pace. These faster rides are to help you boost both your strength and cardio fitness. Your pace pluse ride can be the same distance each week (like a recurring training ride), but it is important that it is ride at a faster pace than your planned event pace.

Endurance Ride (Once Per Week): Once per week, you go on your long ride, with the goal of maintaining your event pace for the entire.  You will also want to add 7-10 miles distance (or 30 to 45 minutes of riding) each week leading up to your event. This is gradual build-up to your event distance is endurance and mental training. It also you start learning about eating and drinking both before and during your event.
Riding Tip:  It's also a good idea to start your endurance day at the same start time as your event will start.

8-10 Weeks of Training: 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.

Pre-event Week: You will reduce the intensity and distance (called a taper), and then your big event.

Week 2 Riding Plan: 1 Distance Ride, 1 Brisk Ride and 2-4 event pace rides.

  • Monday- No Ride – or 5 -10 miles easy
  • Tuesday - Pace Ride - 10-15 miles
  • Wednesday – Rest Day
  • Thursday – Brisk Day – 10-15 miles, 2-2.5 mph faster than pace ride
  • Friday – Rest day
  • Saturday / Sunday Both days at pace with a long day (20 -30 miles) and a medium day (10 to 20 miles).


Week 2 of the #10weeksto100. 

 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