1. Before you get into serious training, have at least a few hundred long easy miles under your belt as a good base.
2. Increases total weekly miles by 10 - 15% per week. The 10 to 15% figure has been used for years by marathons runners to minimizes musculoskeletal injuries with training.
3. Once you begin your actual training program, it's important to try to ride at least 5 days a week, and take at least one day off. Depending on your level of training (or evidence of overtraining) the seventh day is either an additional intermediate mileage day or an additional rest day. A typical weekly program would look like this:
- ONE long mileage day - The ride which is your goal is the basis for planning your weekly long mileage days. Some coaches suggest you work up to a ride equal to the length (or even 125% of the length) of that event while others feel that reaching a distance equal to 75% of the event distance is adequate. This is usually a Saturday ride (with Sunday as a backup for bad weather or other unexpected circumstance that could derail your training program).
- ONE short mileage day - Plan your short mileage day to follow the high mileage day. It should be about 1/4 of the length of the long ride and ridden at a leisurely pace to loosen up your muscles after the long ride of the week.
- THREE (or four ) intermediate mileage days - The intermediate mileage days are midway between the short ride and the long ride in distance. At least one of these should be an interval training ride.
- ONE (or two ) rest days off the bike
- the long ride should match your own goal ride pace
- the short "recovery" ride should be a leisurely pace at no more than 50-60% of your maximum heart rate
- two of the intermediate rides should be at the planned goal ride pace
- one of the intermediate rides, preferably prior to your day off the bike, should be at a brisk pace 2 - 3 mph faster than your planned goal ride pace.
6. Remember to be flexible and adjust your program to your lifestyle. A rigid program is destined to fail.
7. A good nutrition program is an important part of preseason training. Carbohydrates are the key to optimizing your personal performance. If you are planning to trim off a few pounds while training, cutting back on total Calories risks poor performance and the psychological impact of feeling you are not going to be at or beyond last years level. So if you are trying to shed the pounds, be prepared to deal with the fatigue that will surely occur on those longer rides. Suggestions for nutrition for six specific types of rides are summarized on the web site Cycling Performance Tips.
Keep these tips in mind as you plan your training program and it should be a successful riding season!