For those unfamiliar with the term, a century ride is a 100-150 mile race that lasts about 11-12 hours and is mostly recommended for hard core riders. For newbies at times it becomes overwhelming but trust me it’s an experience of a lifetime. Training for these rides isn’t like training for any other race and thus you need to avoid certain loopholes to get it right. So here’s what you should do.
Take the long road
Since you now have an idea how tough and tiring these races can be training for 5-6 days in a week is a must out of which 2-3 days should be really long rides where you get close to at least 60-70 miles.
On the remaining 2-3 days focus on rides that help you improve basic skills such as pedaling, shifting gears etc. Apart from that focus on muscle development, cardio and a few months in also improve your VO2 capabilities.
One of the biggest mistakes new century riders tend to make is not starting their training ASAP. While most experts will recommend 2-3 months of training which is great for semi-pros with a good riding efficiency and gear but for newbies my suggestion would be training for a minimum of 6 months.
Your body needs time to adjust to the longer rides and rigorous training so you not only barely cross the finish line but perform well too.
Go the full distance
Has your trainer be telling you that a 70-80 mile ride will prepare you well enough for a century ride? While I have no objections to that but my question is why not simply go the distance and prep better? You’ll be surprised how often people fail to make the entire distance so why take the risk?
A full ride once a week for the final 2-3 weeks should be ideal. This will provide a mental as well a physical boost.
Make interval training priority
To build your VO2 the most ideal technique is integrating interval training along with your other cycling routines. Here you’ll need to cycle as hard as you can for a short burst of about 40-45 seconds in between your normal rides.
Build on those seconds and lower rest times as your lung capacity increases and muscles develop. It’s great for endurance and thus perfect for century riders.
Confidence is crucial to these races. It’s not about questioning your ability but rather finding a way to do it.