QUESTION: With the cancellation of every local and regional gravel and road bike ride ongoing with no end identified, it’s understandable how most recreational riders are finding it difficult to maintain a training plan that was patiently constructed this winter, and adhered to during indoor training rides, to create peak fitness for at least one event this summer.
My event was to be a Metric Century, the Tour de Oahe along the Missouri River bluffs in central South Dakota. Though we are lucky to be able to ride outside and utilize our fine beaches for kiteboarding unlike my friends in the Columbia River Gorge where all recreation is closed, it’s hard to just train for training’s sake.
Is it possible to gain fitness by simply targeting Strava segments for road, gravel and/or mountain bike? If so, for a 68 y old what frequency (rides or segments per week) and duration (how long of segment) should a guy aim for on a weekly basis to achieve peak fitness this summer should an event later this summer not get cancelled? — Randy B
ANSWER: It’s really hard to stay motivated riding alone all the time, isn’t it? I am personally depending almost entirely on smart trainer workouts for my intensity training and find myself “phoning it in” when I’m riding alone outside lately.
You can absolutely use Strava segments to gain or maintain fitness if that helps give you the motivation for riding intervals.
If you already have a specific training plan that you’re already working from, your best bet is to find rides with Strava segments that have similar time lengths to your currently prescribed intervals. So if your training plan has a lot of one and five minute intervals on your hard days, find a route that has a similar number of Strava segments of those lengths. If you can’t find a ride that is similar enough, I’ve seen some local riders on Strava who will ride a small, two or three mile loop over and over again to repeat intervals on the same segments or hills.
And speaking of hills, if you can find Strava routes with climbs that are similar in length and elevation to your metric century, ride some of them. Because what could be better than practicing hills that are just like the ones that will actually be in your event?
One thing you should definitely avoid is turning every day into a Strava segment hunt. That is too much intensity, and can quickly lead to burnout, overtraining, injury, or all of the above. If your training plan has easy days built in, keep doing all those easy days.
Here are some additional links to get you going.
VeloNews has also covered training with Strava segments in the past.