Bicycle training plan for beginners | Get ready to go 100 miles
One of the best ways to stay motivated and hold on to your new found / rediscovered love for horse riding is to set a goal for yourself. And one of the best ways to achieve that goal is to follow an exercise plan.
As cyclists, we often set ourselves the goal of cycling a considerable distance. Depending on your fitness, this could be 30 to 100 kilometers or more – anything that you realistically believe you can get in a given amount of time.
Whether you are driving your target distance alone or with friends, doing sports or taking part in a charity challenge, one thing is certain – you have to train. So it is good that we have a training plan especially for you.
Before we dive into the plan itself, here are some training generalities you need to stick to …
1. Set your goal
First select your event. Be realistic: you want to be challenged, not overwhelmed. Think about what you want to achieve on your journey.
Do you complete, compete or conquer? Again, be sensible. Set yourself an impossible goal and you will soon lose motivation.
Write down your goal and put it in your wallet, on the fridge door – anywhere you see it enough often to keep you focused.
2. Get on your long journeys
We all miss scheduled rides on occasion, but don’t miss the long, basic training rides that are the focus of your schedule – they’re vital.
Bad weather? Go out anyway; You could get bad weather on the day of the event. Bike is broken? Fix it (we have lots of bike maintenance guides here on BikeRadar), or take it to your bike shop – and learn how to fix it.
On long journeys, your body gets used to coping with the demands of the big day. they help you to use your fuel reserves more efficiently and to prepare your head for long and demanding assignments.
3. Develop technology
Get in the habit of incorporating tech work into your general driving and devoting regular sessions to improving your skills. Find a long, winding hill and descend it over several descents to work on your descent. Try to get faster by releasing the brakes, leaning into corners, and learning when to turn the power back on.
Be careful, however – do this with a passenger and only on quiet roads where you can clearly see the oncoming traffic. And don’t think that you can make up for bad climbing simply by flying downhill.
Protecting from the wind in a group will save you a lot of leg strength and improve your average speed, but it’s not easy and there are tactics to learn, so practice group rides. The more comfortably you are safely on the move in close formation, the more time you can save.
4. Muscle strength
Lactic acid is produced when your body breaks down carbohydrates for fuel, resulting in lactate in your blood, which affects the performance of your muscles.
All you really need to know is that the point where lactate builds up faster than you can distribute it is your lactate threshold (LT). As you increase this (or work on your threshold functional performance), you can get sporty faster.
Working on your strength is also important, both in terms of the strength that you can bring into each pedal stroke and in order to improve your endurance. We recommend regular high-intensity intervals for LT and strength training.
5. Take a rest
You don’t get fitter while riding, you get fitter when you recover afterwards.
Because of this, you must have at least one day of no exercise each week, or more if you are overexerting yourself, and a light week each month.
6. Drink enough
You may have read that you should drink 400 to 900 ml of fluids per hour to stay hydrated while driving, but that’s a myth – it depends on your personal sweat level.
With different intensities and different weather conditions, find out exactly what you need by doing this process over several trips:
- Weigh yourself naked. Let’s say you weigh 75 kg.
- When you return, make a note of the amount you drank and ate during the journey. We say 1,500 ml, which weighs 1.5 kg, and three gels of 0.06 kg each, so you took 1.68 kg with you on board.
- Before showering, eating or drinking, dry off and weigh again. We say it is now 73.2 kg. Subtract the second weight from the first to get your body weight change: 75 – 73.2 = 1.8 kg.
- Add the weight of the food to get your total loss: 1.8 + 1.68 = 3.48 kg.
- Assess all toilet stops as this will result in higher losses.
- Divide the total losses by the driving time: 3.48 Ã· 3 hours = 1.16 kg loss per hour.
You won’t end your workout ride or event at the same weight as you started, but you should eat and drink enough to stay within 1 to 2 kg. Never try to lose more than 2 to 3 percent of your mass.
7. Become fuel efficient
You need to drink to replace the water you sweat and exhale, but drinks also provide fuel. Suffering from a “bonk” – when your body isn’t getting the energy it needs – is bad news.
Use a drink with 5 to 7 percent carbohydrates. This is an isotonic value – it contains the same concentration of dissolved particles as your body fluids and is therefore quickly absorbed.
Some people prefer a hypotonic drink – one with less than 5 percent carbohydrate content. The only way to find out what is right for you is to experiment in training.
Also, choose a drink that contains electrolytes, especially sodium. This speeds up the hydration of your body, which is especially important on longer journeys.
After all, it is important to choose a drink that you like. That way, you are more likely to drink enough. Drink plenty before you set off so that you are fully hydrated, and then continue to drink – little and often – afterwards to aid recovery.
If you’ve been exercising for over an hour, make a carbohydrate drink out of it and don’t wait until you feel thirsty – it’s too late.
You should consume at least 1 g of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight per driving hour. This can be in the form of carbohydrate-electrolyte drinks, gels, bars, solid foods, or a mixture thereof.
Your needs may differ from the norm, so experiment with training to learn exactly what you can handle and what you need for the day.
At an event, find out which food and drinks are available at which points along the route and see whether it suits you. For example, if you can’t stand the energy drink on offer, take your own (or make your own energy drink). When you’re tired of sweet things see if there’s something hearty or carry it with you.
8. Avoid Injury
As you cycle more, you will expose your body to stress and strain. These bike stretches can help improve your flexibility, while weight training can help prevent injuries.
You might be tempted to ignore little things in order to stick with the program. Not! Riding through pain is a great way to turn smaller problems into bigger.
If you hurt yourself, take it seriously. Take time out or do cross-training and if it’s a biomechanical problem, have an expert check your riding position. If necessary, see a doctor.
Whatever you do, don’t ignore potential injury.
9. Training zones
To maximize the effectiveness of the training plan, you need to set your training zones based on your maximum heart rate (HR max).
That way you can target areas you want to develop and make sure you don’t overcook them. Our training plan uses zones 1 to 5:
- Zone 1: (50-59% HRmax) – Easy
- Zone 2: (60-69%) – permanent
- Zone 3: (70-79%) – Fast
- Zone 4: (80-89%) – Severe
- Zone 5: (90-100%) – Very difficult
If you want to take your training to a higher level, you can use a power meter (or a smart trainer with a built-in power meter). We have a separate guide with more information on using training zones.
12 week training plan for cyclists
Read our advice and follow our plan to be able to drive between 40 and 100 miles in just three months, depending on your goal and your current fitness.
If you’ve never used an exercise plan before, don’t be put off – it’s a guide and doesn’t need to be followed literally.
If you can’t drive in the morning as we suggest from time to time, or if you can’t get to the mountains if we advise, swap things – this is real life.
And remember, have fun!