How To Train For A Century Bike Ride
With the Prudential RideLondon 100 fast approaching, do you feel fully prepared to be in the saddle for up to 8 hours? Follow our tips to make sure you make the most of this amazing experience and are able to enjoy it!
A century bike ride is a huge feat; 100 miles is a long way and you're going to be in the saddle for a long time. Your body will be put under a lot of stress and strain and it's important to train it for that. When it comes to crunch time, your fitness and strength are not as important as your ability to just get your head down and cycle for hours and hours on end.
Because of this, the most important type of training you can do is volume training. This means lots of long rides to get your body conditioned to what you are going to be undertaking. You don't know how your body is going to react at 30 miles, 60 miles, and 90 miles and there could be some surprises along the way. To be as prepared as possible, get those miles in!
Do a dry run
One of the most important tips for long endurance events is 'nothing new on race day'. It's important to train in what you will be wearing on the day, drink what you would drink, eat what you would eat and so on. This reduces the risk of any nasty surprises and also means that the big day is essentially just another training ride and you know what to expect.
Once you have trained in what you will wear, you know it won't chafe or rub. Once you have eaten and drunk what you will have on the day, you know your stomach won't get upset. It's also good to start a few training rides at the same time that the actual event will start so that you can practice your morning routine too.
Make sure your bike is the perfect fit
Being in the saddle for up to 8 hours can lead to all sorts of discomfort and issues. Make sure your bike is the perfect fit by going to a professional for a bike fit, most bike stores will offer this service. It's important to make sure your saddle, handlebars, and pedals are all at the correct adjustments for you as any sort of strain or bad posture, after 8 hours, could lead to a serious injury.
Mimic the elevation profile
It's no good training on perfectly flat terrain if your century ride features lots of hills! RideLondon 100 features some killer hills, including the notorious Box Hill in Surrey, so you need to be doing your hill training. The UK, especially in the south, is famously flat so you may need to go out of your way to practice cycling up and down hills.
Check out the elevation profile of your century ride before you tackle it and make sure you've practised similar elevations in your training. When it comes to hills, the mental challenge can be as big as the physical one, so if you have practised and are able to attack the hills, you will be a lot more successful.
Hit the gym
The final point is possibly the most important. Cycle training alone may well get you to the finish line, but you are more likely to get injured and struggle with the workload if you have not been doing supplementary training as well as stretching and recovery. Make sure you hit the gym to strengthen your legs and back, as their strength will be really put to the test.
Although your legs will be doing most of the work, it's important to strengthen your back, shoulders, and core, as they will also be put under pressure during the ride. If they are not strong enough, you will end up very uncomfortable and may get injured. Also make sure you do lots of stretching, foam rolling, and rehab exercises to keep your body in tip top shape before the big day.