You can conquer the century ride even if you're new to cycling with this step-by-step training plan

By Jessica Smith
October 28, 2013
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Riding 100 miles in 60 days is the perfect way to get your booty in gear and conquer a new challenge. With this progressive, balanced plan you'll not only more than accomplish your goal, but you will feel great afterwards. Your rides can be done outdoors (be safe and always ride with a helmet and check out our expert tips on bicycle basics), or indoors on a stationary bike.

Below is your suggested training schedule, but be sure to listen to your body during your workouts. If a recommended workout is too intense, or too many miles, scale it back to meet your body's needs. And, if you feel like you can do more, feel free to add mileage or extend your workout as needed. This entire program will have you logging more than 100 miles by the end of your eight-week plan. Talk about an accomplishment! If by the final week of your training, you feel ready to tackle the full century (100 mile) ride on your endurance day, go for it! Just be sure to ride safely, change positions often, and stay hydrated during your ride. If you're not sure how do figure out your mileage for your outdoor rides, check out's ‘map a route' option to find out exactly how many miles your planned path will take you.

The Century Plan Breakdown:

Cadence Recommendations: Your ‘cadence' is how many revolutions your pedals make in one minute. In general, you should aim to keep your cadence between 70 and 80 rpms (revolutions per minute) for uphill terrain, and in between 85 and 95 rpms on flat roads. You can invest in a cadence computer for your road bike, or simply count the number of revolutions your right leg makes for 20 seconds, and then multiply that number by 3. (For example, if you counted 25 revolutions in 20 seconds, your cadence would be 75 rpms).

Core Training: Core training strengthens the muscles that help you balance and maneuver your bike, as well as support your body during your rides. Try this core training workout or put together four or five moves of your own from these abs exercises (using exercises from "tight abs" and "shapely back").

Endurance Ride: This ride helps build your aerobic base, and allows you to go the distance. After a five-minute easy-paced warm up (effort 3-4), aim to maintain a steady cadence and intensity (effort 5-6) during the rest of your ride until it's time to cool down for five minutes at an easy pace (effort 3).

Flexibility Recommendations: All that time on the bike is going to create some tightness in your muscles, so it's more important than ever to stretch! Spend about 10-15 minutes stretching on most days of the week, ideally after you have completed a workout. You can follow this routine or create your own.

Interval Ride: Interval training helps improve your speed and endurance. After a five-minute warm up of riding at an easy pace (effort 3-4), alternate pushing hard, either by increasing your resistance or cadence –or both- (effort 8-9) for 1 minute, and then riding at a steady, more comfortable intensity (effort 5-6) for 3 minutes. Repeat this for the duration of your ride, allowing for a five minute cool down of riding at an easy pace (effort 3-4) to complete your interval session.

Recovery Ride: Recovery rides can be just as beneficial as your high-intensity workouts - so don't skip them! You'll still be compiling miles on your bike while you also allow your body to spend some time at a lower-intensity workload during an active recovery ride. Spend your entire recovery ride at about 50 percent of your usual effort (this is a great time to enjoy a ride in the park or with a friend).

Rest Day: It's important to take time off from training to allow your body to rest. So spend some time off the bike and go for an easy walk, take a gentle yoga class, or simply relax.

Strength Ride: This hill-filled ride will challenge your muscular endurance and stamina on the bike. After a five-minute warm up of riding at an easy pace (effort 3-4), ride uphill, either by increasing your resistance level or riding on an actual incline (effort 7-8) for 8 minutes, and then reduce your resistance, or ride downhill, at a steady, comfortable intensity (effort 5) for 2 minutes. Aim to maintain a cadence between 70-80 rpms during your uphill intervals. Repeat this for the duration of your ride, allowing for a five minute cool down of riding at an easy pace (effort 3) to complete your interval session.

Strength Training: It's important to build total body strength off the bike. Aim to work your entire body, and as many muscle groups together at the same time (as you do on the bike) during your strength sessions.