Most women are so busy; we have little time for our own activities. The following training program, adapted from Bicyclingmagazine will help you prepare for those 62 miles with just 3 training rides per week: one long, one steady, and one speedy.
LONG RIDE: In your first week, try to ride 2.5 hours, or about 30 miles. This will be the foundation that you build upon. Your long rides should be at a steady pace, though Denver's hilly roads make that a challenge! Aim for 70 to 75 percent of your maximum heart rate (MHR).* If you don’t have a heart rate monitor, think of it as a 7 on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being your maximum effort. Most Denver-area cyclists find that weekend mornings work best for this long ride, since it's still cool outside, but it doesn’t matter when you do it, as long as it gets done.
STEADY RIDE: Your steady ride should start with an easy warm-up, leading to 2 to 4 intervals which are about 15 to 30 minutes each. These intervals should be difficult enough to increase your breathing and raise your heart rate to about 80 to 85 percent of your MHR, or an 8 to 8.5 on that 1 to 10 scale. After that first interval, give yourself 15 minutes of easy riding before the next interval. Think of this ride as, "15 fast, 15 slow, 15 fast, 15 slow." This ride is effective in cardiovascular build-up. It helps improve cyclists’ aerobic capacity to exercise longer at varying intensities.
SPEED RIDE: Speed workouts for a metric century? Yes! Speed work helps your endurance by raising your lactate threshold, the point at which your legs burn so bad they are screaming for you to stop. The goal? Raising your threshold enables you to peddle longer, harder, and faster before your body gives up. So warm up - 15 or 20 minutes - and then ride 4 to 6 very hard intervals for 1 minute. (And we mean, a 10 on that scale of 1 to 10!) After you’ve pedaled that maximum effort, recover with a slow & easy spin for 2 minutes. ie, "Super-fast 1 minute, rest 2 minutes." Try that 4 or 5 or 6 times, and you will have completed a very demanding and strength-building session.
The secret to training for a metric century is to increase your overall mileage week by week. This will help you avoid injury or fatigue. Enjoy your training & we'll celebrate your success with you in just 4 weeks!
*To figure out your maximum heart rate, take 220 minus your age. That is your predicted heart rate maximum. Then take that number and multipy it by the various percentages, i.e. 70% or 80%, etc. That is the goal for your heart rate for the specific training ride.
This schedule is just a suggestion; please taylor it to your own lifestye. Plan your week according to what works best for you, and be sure to take a day off. *your choice: Most women enjoy a variety of physical activites, and these support your goal of riding a metric century. So enjoy guilt-free cross-training! This includes yoga, running, tennis, strength training or - perfect for Denverites - Red Rocks stair climbing!