Training for Century

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by bjoesloe, Mar 19, 2005.

  1. bjoesloe

    bjoesloe New Member

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    :confused:

    Hello...new to forum here.

    I was hoping to get some advice. I'll be doing my first century April 24. Anyone have tips on preparation? Because of climate, I may not get outside on the road for another week or two. Even after that it will be dicey, so most of my training will occur indoors.:( I've been doing spinning classes and riding rollers since Feb. Workouts generally never exceed 1.5 hours, but are usually quite high intensity, if only to beat the boredom.

    Is the short duration/high intensity gonna bite me in the a$$ come the day of reckoning? I want to finish my first century feeling well and strong, not dragging me and my bike through the last 20 or 30 miles. I'm also thinking about a time goal. I'd like to say 5 hrs minus rest stops, but that may be unrealistic.

    The only frame of reference I have is a ride last summer. Myself and two friends, 65 miles, sharing the front, 20+ wind gusts for half, quite flat. (at the time, I was a heavy smoker) We averaged a little over 17mph and two of us jumped the last few miles and cranked at about 24mph. IOW I finished strong.
    I actually surprised myself. Of course I celebrated with a nice leisurely smoke!:) My "training" for that ride was haphazard at best.

    What do you all think? Do I have a shot of a 5 hr century on my first try? Any advice on how to focus my training now, and in the weeks and days leading up? (I'm not yet using a HR monitor)
     
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  2. OCRoadie

    OCRoadie New Member

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    Do a search for "Centruy Training" and you will find plenty of training regimens. most of them have you increasing your mileage about 10% per week until your up to 65-70 miles. Of course theirs more to it than that. Personally, I like to get in 60-80 mile rides the couple weeks before a century, but I normally ride about that far every Sunday when the weather allows. Your indoor high intenstiy training will help, but you will should have some good hours in the saddle also.

    A 5 hour century is pretty big goal your first time out. It will depend on the terrain and how you ride. If there's more than a couple thousand feet of climbing, I think around 6 hours is more realistic. In order to finsih in 5, you will need to ride in a paceline almost the enitre ride. My personal best is 5:43, I look forward to going for 5 hours later this summer on the Amtrak century, which is the easiest and flattest Cenutry in CA. I would worry more about finishing and enjoying yourself on your first one. While it's not terribly hard to ride 100 miles and be on a bike for 6 hours, you will have your ups and downs. Find some good company that rides your speed and enjoy. BTW, which century is it?
     
  3. davidbod

    davidbod New Member

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    Your high effort shorter workouts are going to get you come century day unless you ride smart. Since you have'nt done anything lengthy even approaching a century (1.5 hrs vs. 5-6) your tendancy will be to go out and hammer the first 1-2 hours like you have been doing in your training. You will then have to finish the next 3-4 hours of the ride tired and with no endurance from training to back you up.

    Since you only have one month left you need to get some longer rides in now and at slightly slower pace than you have been training at. You realy don't even have the full month, as the weekend before your ride you do not want to do any hard training.

    Good luck, and keep in mind most people's goals for their first century is just to finish.
     
  4. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    Agreed.
    The objective should be to maximise hours cycling.
    Therefore hours and distance is what is required at this stage.

    I would say that trying to complete a century (first century) within six hours
    is very optimistic, to be honest.

    The secret (and it isn't really a secret) is to condition your body to be able to cycle what is, at this point, a very long distance for bjoes.
    Your body needs to adjust to cycling that distance - and the only hope of conditioning it, is by cycling long distance regularly.
    That means hours in the saddle.
     
  5. bjoesloe

    bjoesloe New Member

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    It's not that I'm trying to find a shortcut, it's just dealing with the limitations that are currently presenting themselves.

    I'm just starting to learn about proper training for the first time, so forgive my ignorance. I have, though, run across a few articles that describe how VO2 max and anaerobic gains can be made through shorter but very high intensity workouts. Another stated that one training for a century need not ride more than 50mi in training leading up to event.

    I was wondering if anyone had similar anecdotal experience to support these things. At the least, I know you don't have to train 150 to get ready for 100.:)

    Last summer my longest ride was 68 miles. I did this three days after I got my bike (zero training). I was not riding previous to that and I also was a smoker. I did suffer quite badly the last 10 or so miles, though.:( Two months later,I rode 65, and I'm sure I could have gone 100 that day. I'm feeling pretty confident for this year. I should probably not set such unrealistic goals, but then how would I enjoy the misery and pain of failing?;)

    Well, the snow is melting again, so I should be on the road again soon. Maybe I'll get in my first real endurance ride this weekend.:D

    I almost forgot. How should my training go leading up to the event, so I arrive fresh?
     
  6. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    Not disputing what you have posted here but 100 miles is very different from cycling 65 miles or 75 miles or 80 miles.

    The distance in itself is not the issue - it's how your body performs and to ensure that you can perform without stressing too much, the advice I would give is for you to try to get as many long distance rides in as possible.

    VOmax's and all the rest of it have their place.
    But they're not the be-all and end-all.
    The only way to ensure that you can cope physically is to get miles and hours in on the bike.

    What you want to ensure is that you manage to do 100 miles.
    That is the sole objective.
    So get the miles in - allow you body to become acquaited with long distances and you should have no trouble doing the 100.
     
  7. bjoesloe

    bjoesloe New Member

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    Thanks limerickman for sober and I'm sure experience-based advice. I'll keep things in perspective.



     
  8. davidbod

    davidbod New Member

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    Also since you have no experience at these kinds of distances remember to eat and drink plenty during the first part of the ride. Most of your experience is with shorter distances which don't neccessarily require re-fueling. A century will, and if you don't get it in within the first 2/3 of the ride its hard to get your body to accept the fuel in the last 1/3 or so of the ride, particularly if your body is not used to this kind of endurance test. What you do intensity, eating and hydrating wise in the first 70-80 miles of the ride will have a big impact on the last 20-30.
     
  9. Way2Slow

    Way2Slow New Member

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    I'd tend to agree with some of the other posters that a 5-hour century is not really realistic -- that's an average of 20 mph. Honestly, I would make the goal to finish -- it is definitely tougher than 65 miles, especially when that's the longest you've ridden, and by the sound of it, only once or twice last year.

    Since you've only got about a month or so, here are some general suggestions for you:

    (1) Keep doing your spinning classes and rollers as much as you can during the week, and if you can extend the sessions from say 1 hour to 1 1/2-2 hours that would be beneficial. Don't overdo the intensity though or you will be burned out and fatigued for your endurance rides which are more important at this point. If you can get outside during the week, go ahead and do it.

    (2) On the weekends, you have to get in some saddle time whether it's on an indoor trainer or outside -- work your way up each weekend (try for a Saturday long endurance ride -- nice steady pace, where you're not breathing heavy, and you could carry on a conversation with someone while riding). This is just a rough guide, but try and get in at least a 40-miler this weekend, the following weekend 45, the next one 50 and the weekend prior to the century 55 or 60. If 40 is easy for you this weekend, then extend it 5 or 10 and also increase each weekend accordingly -- ideally I would try to shoot for at least a 60-65-miler the weekend prior to your century ride, but whatever you can do will be okay. If you're stuck on an indoor trainer, then try for a couple of hours or longer of a nice steady pace. If you can't last that long indoors, maybe try for 2 or more sessions in the same day just to break up the monotony.

    (3) On Sundays, try to follow up your Saturday long ride with another pace ride that is also on the long side -- say 60%-75% of the distance you did on the Saturday, so your weekend might look like this -- Saturday 50 miles, Sunday 30 miles -- this way you're at least accumulating as much saddle time as possible while allowing for some recovery between rides -- again, make sure you're riding at a nice easy/steady pace -- the goal is to finish and not be totally wasted.

    (4) While you're doing these weekend rides, make sure you also work on your eating/drinking -- get used to your sports drink, gels, other food (fig newtons, powerbar, clif bar, etc.) and plenty of it -- stop at convenience stores if you need to refill or get food, or whatever. It's easier on century day since there will be rest stops stocked with what you need.

    (5) The week of the century, just do some very easy riding of no more than 1 hour or so, say on Tuesday and Thursday, and maybe the day before the century, and start to do some carbo-loading and drinking lots of water to make sure you're hydrated and ready to go.

    Hope this helps. Others may have some better ideas, but based on what I've done, this should at least give you a fighting chance.

    Good luck and keep us posted of your progess and the outcome.
     
  10. noonievut

    noonievut New Member

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    A question about long rides in general, during breaks do you spend time stretching...and if yes, what kind of stretches are most beneficial?

    I'm no where nere a century, but would like to progress throughout the year and have never had to stretch during a ride...but I would think at long distances it's a good idea.

    Thanks.
     
  11. OCRoadie

    OCRoadie New Member

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    I ususally stretch a little at the rest stops. I stretch whatever feels like it might need stretching, mostly legs and back. I don't know if really helps much, but it feels good. I try to keep the rest breaks down to around 5 minutes (take a leak, stuff down a banana, orange, newtons and PB&J, fill my bottles, stretch and head off). Stretching is always good to do after the ride.
     
  12. sparkywowo

    sparkywowo New Member

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    1) put enough air in your tires
    2) don't worry about doing any special training
    3) ride at a smooth but decent clip and if you get too tired call it a day and try again in May
     
  13. Shreklookalike

    Shreklookalike New Member

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    I think a look at your poll and the subsequent postings confirm that you should forget about the 5 hour goal and just concentrate on finishing. Since more than half of the poll respondents can't claim a 5 hour century as their "best" time, shooting for that goal on your first century is probably way out of line. I believe a poll a few months ago showed less than half the respondents ever even completing a century. So just by getting one under your belt you'll have done something the majority of this forum's posters haven't achieved.

    I agree with most of the advice posted above. Your main objective right now should be conditioning your body to spend extra time in the saddle and getting used to eating and hydrating BEFORE you start to feel hungry or thirsty.

    I've done three centuries (all this year) and my best time is just barely under 6 hours. Granted, that was a solo effort, but I doubt I could have knocked a full hour off just by having others to draft off of.
     
  14. OCRoadie

    OCRoadie New Member

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    I've done three centuries (all this year) and my best time is just barely under 6 hours. Granted, that was a solo effort, but I doubt I could have knocked a full hour off just by having others to draft off of.[/QUOTE]
    You'd be surprised by what you can do in a paceline. It ony takes about a 3mph difference in average speed to make up an hour. I've found that I can ride an easy 3-6mph faster in a paceline than solo. Sometimes it's hard to find a pack riding the right speed to draft, it seems like they're usually too fast or too slow. It's easy to make the mistake of trying to keep up with a paceline that's too fast for you, eventually you'll get dropped and be drained. Also, if your going to ride in the pacelines, be ready to take your pull up front and have some experience riding in groups. Anyways, point being you probably could drop that hour by drafting, but for the original poster, I stick to my advice of just finishing as your goal.
     
  15. dhk

    dhk New Member

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    Good points. A fast paceline is tempting on a Century, but as you say, it's easy to get sucked in, and then overcook trying to keep up.

    Best advice for the first Century is to start at a comfortable pace. If you hit the 80 mile mark and feel great (not very likely), there is still 20 miles to turn up the effort. It's more fun to finish in the big ring than it is to start too fast and then limp home.
     
  16. OCRoadie

    OCRoadie New Member

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    I'd like to know which century someone completed in 3-3.5 hours, or why that is even an option in the poll. It must have been all downhill or a big load of crap (avg speed 28.5mph), maybe they did a metric;).
     
  17. bjoesloe

    bjoesloe New Member

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    The temp edged over 40 today so I got out on the road. Whoa, wait a minute, I forgot about a couple of things...like wind and hills! It's a bit different than pretending they're there in your living room.

    Had a good ride, though. Legs a little tired from skating last nite.

    Thanks for the advice, everyone, keep it coming.
     
  18. bjoesloe

    bjoesloe New Member

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    Actually, that poll shows my ignorance. I was thinking in terms of pro racing average speeds. Don't pro pelotons maintain those kind of speeds over 100 miles or more? I know that is quite a different thing, though. I don't exspect a pack I'll be able to hide in all day. And then, if I did, it wouldn't mean that much to say I did a 5 hour century, would it?
     
  19. OCRoadie

    OCRoadie New Member

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    It depends on the race length and terrain. The leaders of last weekends Milan-San Remo averaged around 25mph, that was over about 180 miles though with some climbs.
     
  20. bjoesloe

    bjoesloe New Member

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    Do you think 100 miles of continuous downhill would get boring after a while?;)
     
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