PLANNING YOUR TRAINING PROGRAM MILEAGE
There are as many cycling training programs as there are trainers, but certain basic
"rules of thumb" can be used to help you develop your own personal program for
that upcoming event - usually a century or longer - but this program works for shorter
distances as well.
- Before beginning a regimented training program, develop a base of at least 500 miles of
easy rides. (If you have a good winter or off season training program, you can pare down
- Once you have your training base, calculate your average weekly mileage, and then plan
to increase it by no more than 10 - 12% per week. This includes both total weekly mileage
as well as the distance of your long ride. (This 10 to 12% figure was developed from
marathon training to minimize musculoskeletal injuries. Bicycling is easier on the joints
and muscles, implying that this figure might be pushed.)
- It's important to ride at least 5 days a week, and take at least one day off (but
no more than two). Depending on your level of training (or evidence of
seventh day is either an additional intermediate mileage day or an additional rest day.
- one long mileage day
- one short mileage day
- 3 or 4 intermediate mileage days
- 1 or 2 rest days off the bike
- Plan your short mileage day to follow the high mileage day. It should be about 1/4 of
the length of the long ride. Done at a leisurely pace, it can help to loosen up your
muscles after your long ride of the week.
- The intermediate mileage days should be midway between the short ride and the long ride
of the week in mileage. One or two of these should be interval training rides.
- The long mileage day is keyed to the length of the event or ride for which you are
training. Some coaches suggest you work up to the length (or even 125% of the length) of
the event while others feel that reaching 75% of the event distance is adequate. This is
usually a Saturday ride (with Sunday as a backup for bad weather or other unexpected
circumstance that could derail your training program).
- The final high mileage day of your training program (the week before the event) should
be at least 75% of the length of the planned event.
- You can estimate the length of your training program by using your "average"
long ride from your 500 mile base training period, increasing it by 10% a week, and
repeating this until you arrive at a figure that is 75% (3/4) of the length of the event
for which you are training.
- Be flexible and adjust your program to your lifestyle. A rigid program is destined to
- As far as pace of your rides:
- the long ride should match your own planned century speed
- the short "recovery" ride should be a leisurely pace at no more than 50-60% of
your maximum heart rate
- two of the intermediate rides should be at the planned century pace
- one of the intermediate rides, preferably prior to your day off the bike, should be at a
brisk pace 2 - 3 mph faster than your planned century speed.