This series will introduce an easy-to-follow training plan that will get you ready for a 50k race no matter how experienced or fit you are as a cyclist. If you’re just starting out with cycling or you’ve been cycling for a while but never followed a specific plan, then this should be a fun way to get some motivation and improve.
8 weeks of training
There will be a new article with a specific training plan covering every day from Monday to Sunday every week for the following 7 weeks. You will also get tips on what to eat, how to avoid common mistakes, how to improve riding technique and keep your bike in good condition. If you stay consistent and follow the plan, you’ll become a much-improved cyclist capable of regular multiple-hour rides. And you will nail your first 50k race, of course!
Mostly slow, sometimes fast
The training plan will specify the length and intensity for each ride. Since this is a guide for cyclists who are new to structured training, we won’t complicate things with heart rate zones and other measurements. We will only differentiate between three levels of intensity.
Talking pace (TP) – You will do most of your training rides at this intensity, it’s the easiest we will use. To do it right, you should be going at a pace comfortable enough to hold a continuous light conversation.
Moderate pace (MP) – We will use this intensity to make certain sessions harder. To do it right, you will increase your effort so that you’re breathing more heavily and unable to talk continuously anymore. But don’t go all out, you should be able to hold this pace continuously for about 30-60 minutes.
Hard pace (HP) – You will use this pace only a few times, mostly on hill climbs. It’s not a full sprint but a very hard effort. To do it right, you should be breathing forcefully, unable to talk, and only be able to sustain this pace for a few minutes.
Week 1 – Confidence and comfort
The goal for the first week of training will be to dust off your bike, get it ready for riding, and get you on it to gain some confidence and comfort. You will do three short rides on a flat, steady route away from traffic. All three rides should be done at your talking tempo and should feel easy. Your training days will be Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday most weeks. If this doesn’t work for you, select different days, but keep “rest days” in between.
Bike fit and padded shorts
There are a few things to do before your first ride, and one of them is checking your bike. Unless you’re an expert, have your bike checked in a bike shop to make sure your brakes and shifting work, no components are too worn-out, and so on. Once you know that your bike is safe to ride, you should set it up in a way that fits your body. Check out this article to spot the most common signs of a bad bike fit.
Now that your bike is ready, you have to get your butt ready too. There’s no way around it, it will take you a few rides to get used to a saddle if you’re new. But padded cycling shorts will make a big difference! If you’re planning to stick with this for the whole 8 weeks, it will be the best investment when it comes to comfort.
It’s best to find a 50k race in your area and start this program about 8 weeks before. If you don’t feel like racing, you can map out a 50k route near your house and set that as a goal for your 8-week training. Cycling is more fun in a group, so if you can persuade a few friends to join you in working through the training plan, you will have a higher chance to succeed and much more fun. Either way, good luck with your first ride next Tuesday!