Go further in spring with this cycling training plan

If you’re planning a trip that demands consecutive days in the saddle, here’s how to prepare for it

If this is the year that you are planning your first century ride, you have come to the right place. While it may seem like a tough target, it is easily attainable by following the carefully designed steady build-up in this plan. Whether you have managed to secure a place in RideLondon or one of the many other long distance sportives out there, it’s time to start training, so that by event day you are confident that you can meet the 100-mile challenge in store.

How to use this training plan

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What’s involved

Unsurprisingly, our plan builds on the work done in the previous instalment. It still runs in four-week cycles, with every fourth week a little easier, and it still contains a significant proportion of time off the bike, to ensure you’re recovering. However, the rides themselves are slightly less focused on simple skills, and more focused on building the general aerobic conditioning and long-ride endurance you’ll need on the day.

>>> 16 of the best British sportives to ride in 2016

The plan also contains one sportive every four weeks. These are simply there for you to practise your ‘race craft’ — pacing your ride despite other riders around you riding confidently, riding on roads you don’t know, and eating and drinking to a practised plan.

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This plan is for you if…

You’re keen to press on with performance gains
You’re a new cyclist looking to improve
You have a place at RideLondon (or similar) and need some help preparing
You’re returning to cycling after a long period off the bike
You want to break the magic 100-mile marker

Learn about training zones

Key sessions

Build Rides

Rides where you increase the effort and pace in the later stages emphasise the endurance development aspect of your training, and should help improve your fat-burning capacity. Initially, this ride will include just a block of Zone 3a at the end, but eventually you will be able to follow that with a second, shorter block of Zone 3b as well. This should really help with your pace judgement and prepare you for the reality of digging a bit deeper towards the end of a ride.

Long Rides

The long rides in this block grow to become harder and longer than last time around. Planning to eat and drink during the ride and then executing that plan each week, will be vital — aim for 60g of carbs an hour — which is roughly 500ml of energy drink and half an energy bar. It might seem a lot, but hit the rides as planned and that’s what you’ll need.

Sweetspot efforts

These extended blocks of Zone 3b riding are at the core of building your fitness and at the core of this plan. You’ll find them in your midweek sessions and in your Sunday ride. It’s important that you keep the effort as even as possible, but don’t be fooled into letting them ‘feel’ exactly the same the entire time.

Dress right for thr spring weather

Further plan: block 1 – reinforcing fitness

Click here to download a high resolution PDF of the spring training further plan: block 1.

Further block 1 - reinforcing fitness

Further plan: block 2 – loading the long ride

Click here to download a high resolution PDF of the spring training further plan: block 2.

Further block 2 - loading the long ride

Further plan: block 3 – last-minute improvements

Click here to download a high resolution PDF of the spring training further plan: block 3.

Further block 3 - last-minute improvements