How to Train for a Century Bike Race

How to Train for a Century Bike Race

If you have found that cycling has become more than a work commute and just pottering about at weekends on your bike, you may realize that you are ready to take the next step up and try a century bike ride. A century ride or race consists of riding one hundred miles within half a day, that is to say twelve hours. Many cycling clubs arrange century events to raise money for either charity or the club and this is a great way to get into the event.

The Complete Book of Long-Distance Cycling states that if you are able to ride thirty miles every other day, then you are probably ready to ride a century race. In this blog we look at the steps you must take to prepare for your first century ride.

Build Up Your Base

To ride a century race, you must build up to it, this is done by gradually increasing your time in the saddle and putting more miles on the clock. By doing this your body will accept small steps in endurance and build up the muscles and stamina to cope. There is a rule of thumb to the amount of increase per week and that is around five percent. For instance, if your normal ride is ten miles, then an extra half mile the first week, etc.

Increase Your Intensity

It is not enough to just put the miles in the tank, you must also gradually increase the speed and intensity that you are putting into your bike riding. The best way to do this is by adding extra speed sessions and perhaps take in an extra hill or two. The reason this will help is that it stops your body from getting lazy and just used to long slow speeds, give it intensity to think about and challenge it.

Recovery Rides

As well as adding intensity to your sessions you will have to balance this out with recovery rides. These recovery sessions should be carried out roughly at sixty percent of your maximum heart rate. There is a calculation to work out your own heart rate, subtract your age from two hundred and twenty. So, if you are thirty your maximum heart rate should be one hundred and ninety beats per minute. Multiply 190 by 0.6 and you can calculate that 60% of a man’s maximum heart beat is 114, and that should be your heart rate during your recovery sessions.

Plenty of Rest and the Correct Nourishment

During your training you will need to have plenty of rest too, so that your body can recover; and don’t forget to eat the correct foods to nourish and clean the body. It is highly important that you are hydrated when you race and train, as a rule of thumb you should drink at the same rate as you sweat, plenty of water and electrolyte-enhancing drinks are the order of the day.

Finally train at your own pace, build up to your very first century ride and do not race until you are fully prepared, otherwise you may fail badly, and this could put you off of century racing for good.