by Stan Purdum
Many cyclists set 100 miles a week as a cycling goal but accomplishing that requires some training, scheduling and gumption. For people who ride frequently, the effort of pedaling 100 miles spread over seven days is not in itself that difficult. But for those who are just beginning 100 miles in a week can sound like an impossible goal.
It is doable, however. Here are some suggestions:
Start with smaller mileage goals and build toward 100-mile weeks.
If you’re just getting into cycling or haven’t been riding for a while, start with riding, say, three days a week. If you can ride10 miles, do that for the first ride. For the second, aim for 12 miles and for the third, 15 miles. And there’s nothing wrong with allowing a rest day between each ride. Continue to build on subsequent rides. If you hit a plateau, drop back to shorter rides but increase your cycling intensity, which will help build endurance. Take an extra rest day, and then resume stretching ride lengths.
Work toward a weekly long ride.
For many people, there’s one day most weeks where it’s possible to schedule a longer ride, so make it a goal for each of those weekly long rides to be 10-20% longer than the previous one. On two days earlier in the week, ride shorter rides, which don’t necessarily have to be longer than those of the previous week, but as you can, increase your intensity.
Find what works for you.
There’s no single “right way” to get to the 100-mile-a-week goal. Once you build up to it, you might ride 25 miles, four times a week. Or you might do 50 miles for your long ride and split the remaining 50 over the week’s shorter rides. Or if you are training for a 35-mile event, you might do two days of 35 miles each and one day of 30 miles. Each week might have a different combination of ride lengths. The important thing is to get out there on the bike as often as is feasible for you.
Commute by bike whenever possible.
If you can bike commute to work, that’s an excellent way to build toward your weekly cycling goal. You may also be able to run most errands by bicycle. Some people find it useful to set up a separate bike for commuting, equipped with saddle bags for bringing home groceries or other goods.
Plan riding times each week.
As you look at your upcoming week in the context of family events, spouse’s schedule, work, etc. consider which times could be for riding. Where necessary, negotiate with your family to keep those times available for you.
Take advantage of unexpected riding times.
Sometimes an unexpected hole opens in your schedule. When it does, avoid wasting time deciding where to ride. Have a couple of default routes that will enable you to get on the road quickly when a time opening occurs.
Have your stuff ready to ride at short notice.
Likewise, when a schedule opening appears, avoid burning time tracking down riding gloves, airing up tires, lubing your chain or doing other pre-ride chores. Have your steed and gear ready to go.
Ride with a friend.
Having a cycling buddy can help you stay motivated to put in the miles. That might be the person to have with you on the weekly long ride. And knowing that the long ride with a friend is coming will help you to put in the time on the earlier rides in the week.
Join a cycling club.
Many of these offer group rides, and the camaraderie is a great motivator.
Get up and ride.
If the morning hours are your best time to squeeze in a ride, don’t fiddle away the opportunity. Get up and get on the bike as quickly as possible. Don’t check your email or social media feeds before heading out. Those things gobble up time.
Keep a record of your rides.
Logging your ride helps you see the progress toward your weekly goal and encourages you to keep going. There are plenty of high-tech ways to track your rides — Strava, Ride With GPS, a computer file, etc., but a plain old paper notebook can provide the same benefit.
Stan Purdum has ridden several long-distance bike trips, including an across-America ride recounted in his book Roll Around Heaven All Day, and a trek on U.S. 62, from Niagara Falls, New York, to El Paso, Texas, the subject of his book Playing in Traffic. Stan, a freelance writer and editor, lives in Ohio. See more at www.StanPurdum.com.