Helpful tips to follow when training for a century ride


People might sign-up for a century ride for a number of reasons. Often these rides are done to raise money or awareness for a charity or a cause. Other people may use it as a benchmark for fitness. Traveling 100 miles on a bike is an achievable goal, but certainly a rewarding and commendable accomplishment nonetheless.

That being said, even experienced riders likely need to do a bit of training before setting off on a century ride. By following these helpful tips, you can make sure your body is ready and you've prepared your technique. Here are some things to consider:

Start early
One of the most important ways to get ready for a century ride is to start training many weeks in advance. This is especially true for inexperienced riders. This way, you can boost your stamina and comfort on the bike in smooth, gradual intervals. Conditioning is a key concern, or else without it, you might face rehabilitating cramps and other issues.

"Start training many weeks in advance."

Another reason to start early is that it becomes easier to follow a routine during your training. You may be waking up earlier to ride to work or otherwise moving around other obligations.

It's very easy to find an excuse not to ride, but by building a reliable schedule, you can better fit training for your century ride into your regular life.

Mix Long and Short Days
As you build endurance, you want to be sure to extend your rides further and further. Sometimes 100 miles can be a daunting task, but by ramping up the length of your training rides, it can be a bit more manageable. That being said, Steve Matson of Matson Cycle Coaching and a Category 3 road racer told Active that you don't always need to push it to the limit when preparing for your century ride.

Instead, Matson suggested only going for long rides a few times each week, trying to push the distance every time. On other training days, it's best to stick with exercises that build muscle and stamina. This can even be done on a stationary bike, which is helpful when the weather isn't cooperating. 

Track your progress
Nowadays, there's dozens of different apps and wearable devices that can provide all sorts of helpful insight into your training. These can do everything from monitor distance and speed to sharing progress with friends, family members and fellow riders.

Use a wearable fitness tracker to learn more about your heart rate and the number of calories burned when riding. This is good a way to visualize and quantify your exercise, and can be used to set goals or simply as motivation. Apps geared toward biking enthusiasts can help you see how far you rode or possibly uncover new paths or loops. These digital tools are a way to enhance and improve the training experience.

When preparing for a century ride, a strict training regimen can go a long way.
When preparing for a century ride, a strict training regimen can go a long way.

Modify your diet
Getting ready for a century ride is a great idea and a way to integrate exercise into your daily life. To maximize the health benefits and your training efforts, it pays to consider a change in diet. Leafy green vegetables, fruits, nuts and whole grains fuel your body with plenty of natural sugars, vitamins and minerals. Processed foods, meanwhile, are loaded with empty calories, trans fats and additives that can leave you feeling fatigued. Be weary of work-out products that make claims that are too good to be true, and be sure to stay well-hydrated. A Ortlieb Bottle Cage is perfect for bringing your water along with you while you ride.

Go for a practice ride
It's wise to go for a long bike trek once or twice before your century ride so you have a frame of reference for what it takes. You don't necessarily need to go 100 miles, but an extended ride is still helpful.

Pick a route with challenging hills and other sections to simulate some of the difficulties you might face during the big ride. Use what you learn to modify your training regimen accordingly, and don't get discouraged if you are feeling sore or overly tired. When the day of your century ride comes, this extra practice will make a big difference.

About Stephane Marchiori

Owner of
Bike touring since 2003, including:
a 5-Year Bicycle Journey Around The World!

Speak Your Mind