One of the most popular posts I write each year is this one – the one that has the training plan in it. Once again I have put together a 15 week training plan for RAGBRAI this year. This isn’t really a formal training plan, but what it does provide is a guideline for how much you should be trying to ride in the weeks leading up to RAGBRAI. While I call this a training plan, I hesitate to say that you need to ‘train’ for RAGBRAI. That sounds a little formal and may give thoughts of hammering out rigorous intervals. To train for RAGBRAI, you basically have to just ride your bike, increasingly far each week. This will build up your legs and perhaps more importantly, your butt, for the long journey ahead of you in July. You see, you don’t need to be in tip top shape to do RAGBRAI, but you do need to sit on your bike and pedal it for several hours a day. So that is what you need to train your body for. Just sitting on a bike for four to seven hours a day would be tough. But you also have to propel yourself down the road, in the heat and humidity, up and down a few hills. The more you can ride prior to RAGBRAI, the easier it will be. That is the key to ‘training’ for RAGBRAI. If you haven’t done RAGBRAI before and it sounds daunting, don’t despair. If you look over this plan, you will see it builds up to long rides of 75 miles, which is as long as you will ride on any given day in RAGBRAI unless you choose to do the Century Loop. And keep in mind that you have all day to ride that on RAGBRAI, so physically speaking, it is not an impossible task. It isn’t even all that strenuous if you follow this plan and put in the miles. Yes, you will be tired at the end of the day but you should be able to get up and do it again the next day. One rule of thumb I like to use is to try to get in up to 1000 miles of riding before RAGBRAI. If that isn’t possible, at least aim for 500. I know some macho types brag about not doing much of any training and go ride it but if you really want to enjoy yourself and feel good at the end of each day, ride, a lot beforehand.
This plan begins on April 6. So you have a few weeks before this begins. In the meantime, get your bike ready to go, and get out on your bike as the weather permits. Starts with short rides, especially if you haven’t been following my advice and you haven’t been keeping active during the winter! You might even want to just start out with 5 or 10 mile rides if you are new at this. Try to ride two to three times per week at the beginning and then increase the frequency of rides and the distance. But increase gradually. You will see this plan only adds about 10 miles more per week, but after 15 weeks, that adds up. Also add more days of riding. By July you should be riding four to six days per week. Not only is the challenge of RAGBRAI that you will be riding a long way each day, but you have to do it seven days in a row, so you should get your body used to riding almost every day as you are preparing. One note about this plan. You do not need to follow it to a T. If you ride three days or five days a week, that’s fine. (Just don’t try to jam all the miles in one day). You don’t have to ride Saturday and Sunday every week if other days work better. The main objective is to try to hit the total number of miles per week and also to try to do a ride that is as long as the longest one listed. If you do these two things you will be in good shape.
So take this plan and print it out and write in with the miles you ride and see how well you can do.
Click to download an Excel spreadsheet: RAGBRAI_Training_Plan_2014
Cklick to download a PDF: RAGBRAI_Training_Plan_2014
Coach David Ertl
David Ertl is a USA Cycling Level 1 (Elite) Coach. He coaches the Des Moines Cycle Club Race Team and is a national head coach for the the JDRF Ride To Cure Diabetes and he coaches individual cyclists. He also provides cycling training plans and ebooks at his website: http://ift.tt/KCPCu1 . He can be contacted at email@example.com. Follow him @Cyclecoach on Twitter and on Facebook at http://ift.tt/1dBevyp.
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