Riding Your Schwinn

Training for a Century Ride

Training for a Century Ride

It's a journey, not a race: the Century Ride

Your first Century Ride is not about doing it as fast as you can, but about getting it done. Here are some tips and things you'll need to do before you set out for the big day.

Getting ready

Before you start officially training, you want to build a base. You should be comfortable riding 25 miles at a time before you start to train.

Training for the ride

Your training will last eleven weeks. During the week, ride 10 to 15 miles as many days as you can. Alternate going fast for a few miles, then slow. Allow at least one day per week for recovery.

A good plan for the week:

Day Activity
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 1-1.5 hour ride with hills
Wednesday: Rest or 1-hour recovery ride
Thursday: 1-1.5 hours with interval training
Friday: Rest or 30-minute recovery ride

On the weekend, tackle longer rides. Here's a good guide:

Week Ride Length
Weeks 1 & 2: 25 miles
Weeks 3 & 4: 35 miles
Week 4: 45 miles
Week 5: 50 miles
Week 6: 50 to 55 miles
Week 7: 55 to 60 miles
Week 8: 65 miles
Week 9: 70 miles
Week 10: 75 miles
Week 11: 80 to 85 miles

Before you go

  • Don't borrow or buy a bike you've never trained on before.
  • Get a tune-up. Make sure everything is in good condition.
  • Practice changing a flat and putting a chain back on.
  • A few days before, start hydrating with water. Eliminate caffeine and alcohol. Eat lots of carbs.

Plan to take along:

  • Spare tire, inner tubes, tire irons, patch kit
  • Portable pump and Co2 cartridges
  • Tool kit
  • Rain gear
  • Sunglasses
  • Bike with 12 to 21 gears
  • Helmet
  • Water
  • Rear-view mirror
  • Padded bike shorts
  • Sunscreen

The big day

  • Get a good night's sleep the night before.
  • Eat a light breakfast full of carbs. Drink lots of water.
  • Wear sunscreen.
  • On the ride, drink before you're thirsty. Hydrate with water or a sports drink.
  • Munch on easily digestible, carb-rich food like energy bars, bagels, fruit and granola.
  • Pace yourself. Remember, it's not a race.
  • Take short rest breaks. Keep them to 10 minutes or less to keep you from getting stiff.