The road is waiting for you. It might be covered in snow and unaccessible for months, but it will be there, ready and waiting when the snow melts. La question est de, will you be ready for it? Cycling race season starts in spring, and many of the longer races happen in June, or July to take advantage of the longer days.

What does that mean?

Training starts now. Simple to say, much harder to do.

Where do I start?

Training for every race is going to be different. The question is what race (or races) are you planning to do, and what are their distances. You need time to build a good mileage base, get those long rides in, and still have time to taper. You never want to reach your peak mileage just a week before the race. Give yourself a couple of weeks to recover from heavy mileage to hit your optimum performance level the day of the race.

What should I be doing?

For many beginning cyclists they aren’t sure how to approach training other than just getting out and riding, so learning your race can be important. If there are hills, be sure to incorporate hill climbs into your training, both long and sustained, as well as short, anaerobic hill burst to challenge those lungs.

How long should I go?

When it comes to your peak training length, if it is anything 50 miles or shorter, I would absolutely ride that full distance for your training rides or even a little farther. If your race is longer than 100 miles, try to aim for 75-85% of the distance for one of your last long rides before tapering. You need the recovery time, but you also don’t want to be going farther than you have ever gone only halfway into the race. Trust me, not a good idea.

Remember that training can expire.

Just because you did a half century last year, doesn’t mean that you are prepared for it this year. Train like it is your first, but do it smarter the following times around. You have been here before, you know what to expect, but that doesn’t replace miles put in.

Becca Capell
Head Trainer iFit

 

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