Bike Your Best Century Yet!

By Michelle Portalatin
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You've cycled 100 miles and want to do it again-and better, stronger, and faster. This program will get you there in three months.

You'll do three to four rides a week in specific heart rate zones and strength train one or two times a week. All the workouts (except the long ride) take only one hour to complete, making them easy to fit in to your daily schedule. A heart rate monitor is necessary to ensure training in correct intensities, and note that all rides can be done on an indoor trainer, except the long ride, which is best done outdoors to practice real cycling and increase bike-handling skills. Recovery rides are optional and can be replaced by a yoga class.

Heart Rate Zones

Zone 1: Easy, aerobic, 60 to 70% max heart rate, recovery

Zone 2: Moderate, aerobic, 70 to 80% max heart rate

Zone 3: Moderately hard, lactate threshold, 80 to 85% max heart rate

Zone 4: Hard, anaerobic threshold, 85 to 90% max heart rate

The Workouts

1. Tempo Ride (1 hour)

Warm-up: 15 to 20 minutes, Zone 1, 80 to 90 rpm

Main set: Intervals, Zone 3 to 4, 80 to 100rpm

Cool-down: Remainder of hour in Zone 1, 80 to 90 rpm

2. Cadence Ride (1 hour)

Warm-up: 15 to 20 minutes, Zone 1, 80 to 90 rpm

Main set: 20 to 30 min, Zone 2 to 3, 90+ rpm

Cool-down: 15 to 20 min, Zone 1, 80 to 90 rpm

3. Hill Repeats (1 hour)

Warm-up: 10 minutes, Zone 1, 80 to 90 rpm

Main set: 1- to 6-minute intervals, Zone 4, 60 to 80 rpm

Cool-down: Remainder of hour in Zone 1, 80 to 100 rpm

4. Long Ride

Warm-up: 15 to 20 minutes, Zone 1, 80 to 90 rpm

Main set: Steady pace, Zone 2 to 3, 80 to 100 rpm

Cool-down: Last 20 minutes in Zone 1, 80 to 90 rpm

5. Recovery

Warm-up: 10 minutes, Zone 1, 80 to 90 rpm

Main set: Steady pace, Zone 1, 80 to 100rpm

Cool-down: Remainder of time in Zone 1, 80 to 100 rpm

Strength Train Workout

For each circuit, perform each move in order. Rest 1 to 2 minutes. Repeat the entire circuit three times, then move to the next circuit.

Circuit 1

Box jump or squat jump: 10 reps

Front squat: 15 reps

Push-up : 10 to 20 reps

Circuit 2

Split squat: 10 reps each side

Alternating side lunge: 30 seconds

Dumbbell bent-over row: 10 to 12 reps

Circuit 3

Single-leg deadlift 10 to 12 reps per side

Single-leg calf raise: 12 to 15 reps per side

Russian twist: 30 to 60 seconds

Side slank: 30 to 60 seconds per side

Training Terminology

Tempo: Increases lactate threshold, or the intensity at which one can ride before lactic acid builds up in the muscles to the point that it causes fatigue and slows down performance

Cadence: Increases pedaling efficiency by focusing on maintaining a cadence at 90+ rpm (revolutions per minute). If you don't have a cyclocumputer with a cadence option, calculate cadence by counting the number of pedal strokes you complete on one leg in 15 or 20 seconds and multiply by four or three, respectively.

Hill repeats: Increases hill climbing efficiency and strength

The long ride: Increases aerobic capacity or the ability to ride longer distances

Recovery: Easy spinning improves recovery by increasing blood flow to the musculoskeletal system and has psychological benefits after all the hard training.

Flexibility: Stretch quads, hamstrings, hips, calves, chest, and shoulders after each ride. Yoga one to two times a week can also help maintain or improve flexibility for optimum muscle function.

Strength: These total-body strength routines target all the major muscle groups with an extra focus on the lower body and core muscles used during cycling.

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