Author Topic: Training for longer rides  (Read 3460 times)

Training for longer rides
« on: June 24, 2010, 12:52:02 pm »
Hi. New to this. In terms of speed and keeping within the time limits, I'm comfortable up to 200 perhaps even 300km, but how best do I improve for the 400km and beyond distances where you need to build up a time cushion so you can sleep?

I guess losing the weight/cutting the body fat percentage is a given, but for the endurance? Practising by frequent repetition doesn't seem feasible when you go over a full day's ride. Is it best to do short rides at high intensity/fast cadence/hills, whatever?

Sorry if this has been gone over before - if there's an existing thread, a link would be appreciated.

Re: Training for longer rides
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2010, 01:10:02 pm »
My only advice would be to just try one and see what happens.

On the 400s I've done I've generally finished within an hour or two of the time limits. Sleep wise I had a 10 minute nap on one, a 45 minute nap on another, and no sleep on the other (but it did start at 5pm so I was well rested before-hand and not starting tired after getting up at 5am to get to the start).
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Re: Training for longer rides
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2010, 01:13:39 pm »

I guess losing the weight/cutting the body fat percentage is a given

you guess wrongly
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Re: Training for longer rides
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2010, 01:18:07 pm »
You have avoided the first potential pitfall - that of choosing a forum name of 'Hare'.

Sensible replies below.

fboab

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Re: Training for longer rides
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2010, 01:26:03 pm »
I think it's easy to worry about it and fret yourself into a frenzy of training, but in my limited experience I'd recommend just trying a longer ride and see how you get on. It could be bloody miserable, but it's unlikely to actually kill you...
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Re: Training for longer rides
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2010, 01:28:14 pm »
There is no great mystery.  Just cycle regularly and build up to a 400km ride by doing 100s, then 200s, then 300s.  If you can do a 300 (both in terms of being fit enough and also having a "good time" on the bike) then 400s mainly become about time management, particularly on night stages, which comes with experience.

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Re: Training for longer rides
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2010, 01:28:39 pm »
I went from 200 to 1400 last year by cycling 20km to work 4 times a week tat a brisk pace.

I don't have time for too much cycling at week end so this was the main reason for this training regime but it worked!

So I would say that "often" works.

Then I had Nuncio to shepherd me on my first 200 and 600 and coached me into the very efficient tortoise method. (Don't stop too much!)

Re: Training for longer rides
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2010, 02:04:46 pm »
Probably the most important thing for doing your first 400 is to pair up with someone experienced who isn't too fast for you, but will keep you going and recommend how long to stop and when. Hopefully you'll have met some people on your 200 and 300s that have a similar pace to you, so you can naturally ride with them on your 400 (Salvatore performed that role for me).

Time management off the bike is just as important as how fast you ride - remind yourself that every minute spent faffing at a minor control is a minute less sleep (or a minute more before you finish and sleep), so try to get a good routine for quick controlling.

Night time is the big challenge on longer rides; it is easy to let your average speed drop or lose time on navigation problems.

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Re: Training for longer rides
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2010, 02:57:10 pm »
I do not do that number of really long rides, i.e. over 200km. But I do have multiple SR and rode LEL. The main benefit of doing long rides is managing mentally with the long hours in the saddle. I would suggest planning a ride of about 100 miles and trying to ride it, then a little faster and then a little faster. I do not think the riding really long rides conditions the body better. When I started riding 300 events all my cycling was to an from work and the occasional evening TT. Riding fast and pushing your body I find makes riding easy, well easy.

I would take notice of your bike fit and little niggles. A friend did his first 400 this year and nealy had to pack because or swelling in a tender area. A small niggle in a 200 could force you to stop on a 600. I think more people are stopped finishing really long rides because of sorness, stiff necks, hot feet etc than because they were not capable of finishing. Get the fit of the bike, saddle, shorts and all that little stuff right and it make a huge difference.
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Re: Training for longer rides
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2010, 03:47:18 pm »
I went from 300 to 600 then did a 400 a month later.

If you are comfortable with a 200 then you will be fine with a 400 in my opinion.

Yes, the saddle may start to get uncomfortable.
Yes, your hands may get sore.
Yes, you legs will ache for a few days afterwards.
Yes, the night stage can be a bit dull and miserable if it rains.
Yes, you may get a bit sleepy, cold, bored & hungry at 3am.

However, if you can complete a 200 then you proved that you can keep turning the pedals for 10-12 hours. It's unlikely you will suddenly lose this ability to keep turning the pedals.

Unless it's a very hilly 400 then just ease back 1km/hr, keep eating and drinking and you'll be fine.  Save any sprinting for the final 10m rather than the first 10km.

A 400 does not feel like finishing a regular 200km Audax and then doing another one (I always feel like "That's enough" after any Audax).  On a 400 or 600 you'll find that 200km passes by surprisingly quickly.  

I'd say that the sign that you can do a 300 or 400 is sitting in the finish of a 200 thinking "That wasn't too bad at all".

MattH makes a good point.  I call it "NDA" (No Dicking About).  Time can evaporate at controls and it's easy to settle in to a nice conversation with people who are faster than you and can spare the time.  I still haven't fully committed to the NDA principle but, as MattH implies, any extra time in a cafe equates to less time available on the road.  Importantly it can equate to more time riding in the dark and rain.  NDA during the day allows you to dick about longer during the night when you really need it.

If I can think of 7 Phases of NDA then I will write a self-improvement seminar/book/DVD and make some money.

(I now fully expect YACFers to contribute the 7 Phases of NDA on an Audax)

rottenhat

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Re: Training for longer rides
« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2010, 04:26:59 pm »
In terms of actual training, you can build the endurance with back-to-back rides e.g. two consecutive days of 150-200k.  But it does tend to build up anyway, over the course of a few years of long rides.

Intervals and hill repeats will probably help you improve your speed but I'd feel like I was taking myself a bit too seriously at that point.  My training this year consisted mainly of doing a long ride on Saturday and then attempting to hang (usually unsuccessfully) with the novice racers on the Sunday morning club run.  Whether this has done me any good will become appparent in July.

Re: Training for longer rides
« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2010, 07:57:38 pm »
Thanks guys, for all your responses.


I guess losing the weight/cutting the body fat percentage is a given

you guess wrongly
You surprise me. I'd have thought getting lighter would help, always assuming it was body fat and not muscle being shed. Where am I going wrong in thinking this?

red marley

Re: Training for longer rides
« Reply #12 on: June 24, 2010, 08:09:37 pm »
Losing weight probably would help a bit, but not that much - you don't need to be any fitter or leaner to ride a 400 than you do a 200. As others have said above, the new issues for those longer distances are (i) making sure contact points (bum, feet, hands) remain comfortable; (ii) being comfortable night riding; (iii) managing your eating on the ride; (iv) mental strength to ride 400km without despairing.

Uncle Eric

Re: Training for longer rides
« Reply #13 on: June 24, 2010, 08:55:51 pm »
On my first 400 which I did as a solo DIY the biggest issue was by far in the head. I couldn't help being scared and worry of the unknown and about riding for hours in the dark. And questioning the sanity in biking alone for 21 hours when instead I could be at home and chill. Apart from that it wasn't much different than riding a century, really. Eating and staying hydrated was strangely enough fine on that ride but has been an issue on the other 400s I've done since then. But instead they have been far less mentally taxing, probably due to having company on all of them. So from that limited experience I'd say:

1. try to find someone to ride with with similar pace and that you get along with well.
Not being alone during the night will definitely make it easier when venturing into unknown
territory like that.
2. have a plan for regular eating and hydration. On 200s I can get away with being
a bit sloppy and eat and drink little. Not on a 400.
3. training-wise probably better with often rather than few really long rides requiring
several days off to recover mentally and physically, but as always, YMMV.

mattc

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Re: Training for longer rides
« Reply #14 on: June 24, 2010, 10:18:41 pm »
MattH makes a good point.  I call it "NDA" (No Dicking About)....

If I can think of 7 Phases of NDA then I will write a self-improvement seminar/book/DVD and make some money.

(I now fully expect YACFers to contribute the 7 Phases of NDA on an Audax)
MattC has spare expertise in the many phases of DA. Students always welcome.
Has never ridden RAAM
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Re: Training for longer rides
« Reply #15 on: June 24, 2010, 10:35:15 pm »
I think that there is a significant mental element here - which I havent noticed being mentioned so far ( apologies if I have missed it)
If you really want the longer distance - then I suspect that your body could do it -- but your mind has to make your body do it - when there could be reasons to stop - ie that miserable Cambrian 600 last year - 29 hours continuous rain - very easy to say - not today - i will do my 600 another time.
So mind determination is very important.

As for sleep - well depends on your body / metabolism etc - some are fortunate and can ride a 400 ( and sometimes a 600) without a sleep - others like a good kip - Travelodge , B & B , even  home - this I think depends on your "body" type - some can do endurance without sleep - others need a short nap as an " invigorator" - on this front I think you just have  to learn how you can best handle the long rides.

Some rides do not really have a good sleep option - so then it is ride thru - or make the best of a bad job.

Try it and see what you learn - then for the next time you will know more about yourself
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