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How Much Training Is Necessary To Complete A Century On A Bike… It’s all in the Three F’s


August 2013

Food, Fuel and Fluids

I need to eat the proper foods for energy.  I need the proper fuel onboard.  I need to drink the proper fluids in the right succession.

So here’s how I train for a century now that I have a few under my belt… If you can call it “training”:

16 miles a day: Wednesday through Friday.
35.5 miles on Saturday
16 miles in Sunday
Monday: Day off
35 miles on Tuesday – Club ride

…And that’s if we have no rain. If we get rain during the week I’ve just taken the day off. Other than that I went on one prep ride on July 4th, 76 miles. That’s it.

I know the 10% per month folks are probably fit to be tied right about now, but the truth is I’m in an awesome groove, so let ’em froth – I never bought into the notion that you should only increase 10% at a time (not for cycling anyway).  Depending on fitness and size (I have an abundance of fitness and no extra weight), I truly believe that if you can ride 50, you can make it 100. In fact, this is exactly how I got into long rides in the first place. I went from 35 to 62.5, then to 90 and 100, then 125…  Not exactly 10% at a crack.

Three weeks ago I had to dig deep through a rough patch in the Tour des Lacs.  I was struggling going up hills at about the 80 mile mark and I wanted to take it easy the rest of the way back…  Deep down though, I knew I could motor through it because I’d been through worse.  Sure enough I kept chugging along and 15 minutes later and I felt a lot better – I finished strong.  Just the other day at around the 90 mile mark my quads knotted up after a decent pull into the wind.  When I dropped back to take my place at the back of the pace line I missed my wheel by a foot and started losing ground, fast.  I stood up and gave it a few good cranks anyway, got back into the draft and sat back down.  A few miles later I was okay again  Last year, the second my quads knotted I’d have been off the back.  I would have written about it, saying that I just didn’t have the legs, that I should have trained harder, that I should have taken better rest days (or more of them) or drank more Gatorade (technically I should have had a bit more because I did exactly that after both knotting issues and felt better, but that tidbit I picked up through trial and error).  The point is, I would have been wrong.

With that said, I always have a little bit of a problem with “listening to my body”, that quaint little sound bite.  If I didn’t know any better, my body told me to take it easy for the last 20 miles of the Tour des Lacs and the last 10 of the Assenmacher 100.  I do know better though, what my body was telling was, “Drink more ya dope, I need some Gatorade in here”!  What I’m getting is this:  If I have a goal, be it lose weight, ride “x” mph or become fast enough to hang with a specific group of cyclists, I can’t simply “listen to my body” – I have to learn all of the translations first, because at some point, if I really want to get fit, ride “x” mph or ride faster, I’ve gotta learn to tell my body to shut the hell up and work a little harder.

I’m just sayin’.  Of course, if I’m working just a little harder than Jensie, then maybe, just maybe, I can have a listen.



  1. Sandra says:

    Ah. Precisely why I swam 1300 instead of the “safe” 1000 yesterday.
    STFU makes a big hit in my soul.

  2. Kim says:

    Gotta love ya. I’m chuckling because our posts are about polar opposites today! I hear what you are saying though. Man, I have never had so many friends who are hurt (which is where my new perspective comes from)

    • bgddyjim says:

      Kim, I think we’re looking at the same dollar bill just different sides. The point I was trying to make was that I have to be very careful confusing listening to my body with I’d rather sit on the couch. If your body is really saying I really need rest, by all means take the rest. Just make sure it’s not your head trying to convince your body that you need to rest.

  3. […] how to get into shape for your first.  For a more detailed look, I have two posts on the subject, here and […]

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