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When Do I Start Training for a Century Ride: 103, 66 or 37 miles

Elizabeth at the San Diego Century

Elizabeth at the 2010 San Diego Century Bicycle Tour

If a century ride is on your calendar for this year, then you’ve been thinking about how much you need to train and ride to be prepared for 100 miles or more.  Or maybe your next goal is a ride in the 50 mile range, or the 25-35 mile range.

Whatever your next goal is you certainly don’t want to get on to the course and find out that you can’t finish.

Here are some guidelines for how long it takes to prepare for different distances.  The guidelines assume you have a level of cycling fitness.  If you’re just starting make sure to clear your activities with your doctor, begin conservatively and be consistent.

100 MILES: 15-20 WEEKS

100 miles:  Plan on 15 to 20 weeks of training before your target century ride if you are able to comfortably ride 20 – 30 miles at the start of the program.  If you are riding longer distances regularly it will take less time to prepare, and if you are just beginning to ride then give yourself more time to build up your mileage.  If the San Diego Century (or another May/June century ride) is on your list, then jump into the weekend group rides for the 17 week Century Training Series supported by the San Diego Trek Bicycle Superstores.  There are ride guides to support every level of cyclist, the routes are well-designed, you’ll meet great new friends and it’s no charge.

Don’t forget to put in miles during the week as well as on the weekends.  For guidance on what to do during the week, download our free training programs for 103, 66 or 27 miles from legendary coach and cyclist John Howard.

50 MILES: 8-12 WEEKS

50 – 60 miles: Plan on 8 to 12 weeks of training if you are able to comfortably ride 10-15 miles at the start of the program.  Consider joining the Trek Century group on weekends even if the mileage may be a little high.  You’ll be well supported and there are typically route options that allow you to ride a shorter distance.  You can also check out our regular “11 Ride Ideas” for group ride options that are lower mileage than folks training for the century rides.

25 MILES: 5-10 WEEKS

25-35 miles: 5 to 10 weeks if you are able to comfortably ride 5-10 miles at the start of the program.  Our “11 Ride Ideas” have solo and group ride options that are lower mileage than folks training for the century rides, and you can always contact coaches Darryl MacKenzie , Bruce Millikin (via email at bruce@coach-bruce.com) or John Howard for suggestions.

MORE INFORMATION:

Educate Yourself on Bicycle Safety and Skills with the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition

If you’re riding on the road, read this article every cyclist needs from Richard Duquette on how to upgrade your car insurance for added protection in the event of an accident.

Consider making Bike to Work a part of your routine.

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