Century Training

A few people have asked me what training I did for my century ride.

I'm currently riding 4 days a week (well, I took 10 days off at JavaOne and on vacation). Monday/Wednesday/Friday, I do a 15 mile ride which takes about an hour. It has some up and down hills, and a steady 2.5 mile hill in the middle. I try to ride that hill at a somewhat painful steady-state, where my legs are hurting but I don't feel like I'm going to die.

On the weekend (usually Saturday), I'll go on a long ride. I started at around 30 miles in March, progressed to 50 miles in May, and then peaked at 70 miles the week before the century. I aim for a pace that will leave me tired at the end but not so I couldn't ride more if I had to, which obviously varies based upon the distance.

For the century, I found it to be hugely useful that I had ridden the bulk of the course before, so that I knew where all the hills were and how steep they were.

I'm planning on adding more mileage as the summer progresses, and perhaps a new bicycle.

Oh, and I haven't yet gotten around to getting a heart rate monitor yet, though that would probably be a useful addition. I bought Chris Carmichael's book a while back, and I'm planning on trying some of his training drills - I would really like to be able to bump my average speed up a few miles per hour.

Comments (10)

  1. dh says:

    What is your time goal for the Century? I had always heard that 8h is a good max. time to try and achieve. I suppose it depends on the amount of socializing you do during the ride.

  2. Eric says:

    My time goal was 7 hours. I managed 14.9 MPH over the 101.75 miles, come in at 6:49:22.

    That’s on a very hilly century, with 2900 feet of elevation gain. If it was a flat century, I’d expect to do it in less than 6.

    I think 8 hours isn’t a bad max time to shoot for. The century I did gave you 10 hours total to do the century, and taht would give you two hours of break time.

  3. dh says:

    Congratulations on your accomplishment. Now all you need to do is run a marathon then you can join the "Century vs. Marathon. which is tougher?" debate.

    I’ve done both once. The answer is easy to me: the marathon is much tougher.

  4. Eric says:

    I’ve found running just to run to be very boring, so I don’t think there’s a big chance I’ll do a marathon.

    My uninformed opinion is that a marathon is tough even if you run slowly, while the toughness of a century depends on the course and the speed at which you ride it.

  5. Tina says:

    How is running just to run different than biking just to bike?

  6. Eric says:

    At the risk of offending my running brethren, biking isn’t boring for me the way that running is. I watch the road, shift, look for traffic, look at scenery, eat, drink, avoid mothers with strollers, etc.

    And the fact that I’m travelling lots faster means that I get to see more

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