12 week Century Ride Training Program

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1 12 week Century Ride Training Program by Daniel M. Healey Graham Watson 2014 If you are contemplating doing your first Century Ride, a guaranteed route to success is to simply spend more time riding your bike. However, like most passionate recreational cyclists, you are probably holding down a full time job while balancing the competing needs of family and friends with your burning desire to get fitter and faster. If this sounds like you, then some tips from the Professional Peloton will help you achieve your goal of riding the 100 miles without burning the candle at both ends. What I propose is a systematic approach to training that is designed to maximize the benefit you get from every minute spent pushing the pedals. The 12 week Century Ride training program contains workouts that are presented in a progressively overloaded format. They are easy to follow, effective, and most importantly, fun. All you have to do is get on your bike and follow the prescription. Daniel M. Healey Head of Sports Science at BMC Racing Team

2 Training Plan Phase 1 Weeks 1 to 4 Endurance and Strength Longer rides and Slow Tension Efforts (S.T.E. s) The 12 week Century Ride Training Program starts at ground zero. I m assuming you may have had time off the bike or perhaps are relatively new to cycling, but in any case, at the beginning of a fitness program your aim is two-fold. ou must: 1. Get fit 2. Get strong Getting fit is easy on the bike. All you have to do is ride for progressively longer periods between 50-70% of your maximal capacity. So how do you know if the effort you are putting out is 50 to 70% of your maximum? The Gold Standard solution is to use an SRM PowerMeter, but they are expensive and can be overwhelming. A less complicated and inexpensive option is a Heart Rate Monitor. An even simpler method of determining your energy output: talk to yourself. What I m describing here is Conversational VO2 max which is a valid method of monitoring exercise intensity. The harder you go, the more syncopated your speech becomes. At 50% pace you should be able to verbalize 10 to 12 words before being forced to take in air. Increasing your intensity to 70% will allow 6 to 8 words before you automatically gulp down your next breath. Getting fit is relatively simple. Just ride your bike at somewhere between 50 and 70% of your maximum capacity and slowly increase the duration of these sessions. And you can do more by combining some on-the-bike Strength Training with your endurance work: Slow Tension Efforts (S.T.E. s). Tightly controlled seated hill climbing repetitions, S.T.E. s are performed by selecting a big gear (53x17-21) then climbing a long hill at very slow speed. All you need to get started is access to a long steady climb that is 1-2km in length and around 6% gradient. As you begin the climb, reduce your cadence to ~60RPM. These slow revolutions will help you limit the amount of forward momentum you generate with each revolution of the pedals, thereby creating more work for you to do on the next pedal stroke. For S.T.E. hill climbing you should have a relaxed, almost no hands grip on the top of the handle bars. This very light hand grip will stop you pulling on the handlebars and allows you to maintain a relaxed shoulder position (down and away from your ears). This lack of tension around the hands, arms and shoulders translates to a comfortable loading of the neck and will allow you to spend more time in the saddle for significantly less back and neck pain. Now that your hands, shoulders and neck are supple you must concentrate on holding a very tight isometric contraction across your abdominal region during S.T.E. s. By consciously switching on the muscles of your core you will ensure that your hips do not rock during each pedal stroke. A fully engaged core will help you maintain a relaxed upper body and limit the likelihood of lower back pain. On the subject of lower back pain, it is this upper body position with relaxed hand grip and a tight core that should be used 85% of the time you ride uphill (in the early weeks of training). If you regularly hold the handlebars tight while climbing it is your lower back that bears a lot of the load. Endurance and Strength Program MONDA TUESDA WEDNESDA THURSDA FRIDA SATURDA SUNDA x2min S.T.E. s 1-4x2min S.T.E. s x3min S.T.E. s 3x4min S.T.E. s 3.5hr Endurance Ride 3x4min S.T.E. s 3x3min S.T.E. s

3 Training Plan Phase 2 Weeks 5 to 8 Progressive Power Climbing 2 and 3 Phase Hill Repeats Are you sick of being left behind as soon as the road points up? Hill climbing can be one of the most rewarding aspects of the total cycling experience, however, for most riders it is a chore that has to be endured. But there is a way to make rapid improvements in your climbing ability, which is essential as you embark on your maiden Century Ride. A climbing set I ve been using for 15 years involves Two and Three Phase Hill Repeats. Note: it is recommended that you maintain the relaxed riding posture described for S.T.E. s while performing Two Phase climbs. Have a loose grip on the handle bars, actively engage your core and contract the muscles in your legs in a controlled and sequential manner throughout the whole pedal stroke. Two Phase climbing requires you to divide any hill, large or small, into two equal parts. The first half of the hill is to be ridden seated at a low to moderate intensity (50-60% max). The remaining fifty percent of the hill is then completed at a significantly higher cadence and higher power output (75% max) while you remain in the saddle. The first phase of a Two Phase climb will see you comfortably drawing on the strength, power and core stability derived from your S.T.E. s, while the second phase of the climb will force your heart rate to rise with small amounts of lactic acid accumulating in your lower limbs. Three Phase climbing is merely an extension on the Two Phase method. When performing Three Phase climbs each hill is divided into 3 separate parts. The first 1/3 of the hill is ridden seated at low to moderate intensity (50-60% max). Remain in the saddle for the next 1/3 of the hill while lifting the intensity to a maximum of 75%. For the final 1/3 of the hill you are required to get out of the saddle and power your way to the apex of the hill at 85% max. Three Phase climbing when performed against a background of S.T.E. s and Two Phase climbs function to consolidate the elements of speed, power and strength into one workout. This sequential approach works for top level performers and will certainly add a new dimension to your own Progressive Power Climbing Program MONDA TUESDA WEDNESDA THURSDA FRIDA SATURDA SUNDA 05 2x2 Phase Hill Repeats 2x2 Phase Hill Repeats 3.5hr Endurance Ride 4hr Endurance Ride 4hr Endurance Ride 06 4x2 Phase Hill Repeats 07 3x3 Phase Hill Repeats 4x3 Phase Hill Repeats 4x3 Phase Hill Repeats 3x3 Phase Hill Repeats 08 4x2 Phase Hill Repeats

4 Training Plan Phase 3 Weeks 9 to 12 Sustained Power Time Trial Efforts If you harbor thoughts of doing well in your first Century Ride the ability to hold high power for prolonged periods of time is essential. The key ingredients in being able to sustain high power are Strength, Power and Speed. We have already looked at two of these three competencies, Strength has already been gained via S.T.E. s, Power was nurtured by Two and Three Phase Hill Repeats. Speed is the next ingredient that must now be added to the training mix. For dedicated cycling enthusiasts, speed is the end goal. However, it s impossible to go full-gas for more than a couple of minutes so speed needs to be tempered by pacing, and this is where sustained high-speed sessions become critical. By riding on a flat course at sustained high-speed you will convert the work done from your previous hill training into high velocity muscle contractions. It s these high velocity muscle contractions that develop your speed by conditioning your nervous system to work at a higher rate in the presence of increasing amounts of lactic acid. But just like any other phase of training, your sustained high speed work needs to be progressively overloaded. So start with shorter sustained efforts of 5 minutes and gradually build up to a 20 minute session. It is also a good idea to add some sustained high-speed intervals into your longer weekend rides. By completing these efforts on tired legs (say in the middle or at the end of a 3 to 4 hour ride) you ll develop this specific competency even further. Sustained Power Program MONDA TUESDA WEDNESDA THURSDA FRIDA SATURDA SUNDA x10min Sustained 11 2x15min Sustained 12 2x15min Sustained 1x20min Sustained 4+hr Endurance Ride + 3x10min Sustained 5+hr Endurance Ride + 3x10min Sustained 2x10min Sustained OUR CENTUR RIDE

5 By training longer and harder you are likely to reach your goal of completing your first Century Ride. But by following a structured training plan that works through the key elements of endurance, strength, power and speed you are ensuring that you will finish comfortably and perhaps exceed your own expectations. About the Author: Daniel M. Healey is Head of Sports Science at BMC Racing Team. Daniel holds a Bachelor of Health Science and Masters of Science (Exercise Physiology & Nutrition) from the University of New South Wales. He is a Registered Nutritionist (R.Nutr) and Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP). Enjoy the ride. Daniel M. Healey B.HS c MS c (E x Phys) R.Nutr

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