How Do I Prepare for My First Quarter Century Ride?

Hilary with her TT bike

One of the things that are consistent among riding, running, and swimming is, that the more you do something the more efficient you will become. And, the faster you do something, the faster you will become.

Although some may find it daunting, it’s easier than you think.

How do I start?

Obviously, you need a bike. You may want to buy a pair of cycling shorts that have a chamois. It will make your ride more comfortable.

I also suggest riding gloves. Most triathletes don’t wear gloves because on an aero bike, you don’t need them as much but on a road bike, your hands may blister as they sweat. The other benefit of gloves is for protection, in case you fall. Most of us land on our hands and the gloves will soften that.

You don’t necessarily need a riding jersey but it is nice to put your keys and your phone somewhere.

Make sure you have ample hydration (with some sort of electrolyte mix) with you and you may want to stick a gel in your pocket.

How do I prepare for the quarter-century?

Try to schedule yourself to go outdoors to ride (or indoors if the weather is bad), at least three to four times at a minimum per week. The schedule below is for three days. If you can fit in four days, even better! Take either Tuesday or Thursday and do the same workout.

Here is a 12-week schedule for someone who has never ridden 25-miles and is a beginner rider:

Week 1 – Let’s build up consistency!

Tuesday – Easy Z1 ride for 10 minutes

Thursday – Keeping it easy for 15 minutes

Sunday – Ride for 20 minutes

Week 2:

Tuesday – Keeping it easy Z1 for 15 minutes

Thursday – 15 minutes easy

Sunday – 25 minutes keeping it easy

Week 3:

Tuesday – Last week of keeping it easy and building consistency for 20 minutes

Thursday – 20 minutes

Sunday –  35 minutes keeping it easy

Block 2 – Week 4:

Tuesday – Ride for 30 minutes today; during that ride after about 20 minutes or so of easy riding, throw in some intervals. This means to try to go faster (much faster) for 2 minutes (your RPE (rate of perceived effort) is a 7 out of 10), then easy for 4 minutes.

Thursday – Ride 30 minutes at an RPE of about a 4 or 5, not too easy but not hard either.

Sunday – 45 minutes easy

Week 5:

Tuesday – Ride 35 minutes with 3 min intervals a 7 out of 10, then 5 minutes easy. Warm up and cool down with easy riding.

Thursday – Ride for 40 minutes at a 3 or 4 throughout the ride.

Sunday – Ride one hour easy – just ride as you feel!

Week 6:

Tuesday – Ride 45 minutes with 4 min intervals 7 out of 10, then 5 min easy with a warm-up at the beginning for 15 – 20 min and finish the ride easy.

Thursday – Ride for 40 minutes for a moderate ride throughout

Sunday – Ride for 1:15 as you feel

Block 3 Week 7:

Tuesday – Ride for 50 minutes easy

Thursday – Ride for 50 minutes moderate – Try to find hills!

Sunday – Ride for 1:20

Week 8:

Tuesday – Ride for an hour with intervals – 5 minutes at a 7 out of 10, followed by 5 minutes easy. Remember to warm up and cool down.

Thursday – Ride for an hour with longer intervals. Start with 20 min warm-up. Then 10 minutes at a 5 or 6 out of 10 and 5 min recovery.

Sunday – 1:30 ride – Try to find hills!

Week 9:

Tuesday – Ride for 1 hour

Thursday – Ride for 1 hour

Sunday – ride for 1:45

Week 10:

Tuesday: Ride 1-hour moderate

Thursday: Ride 1-hour moderate

Sunday: Ride easy for 2 hours

Week 11

Tuesday: ride 30 minutes

Thursday: ride 30 minutes

Sunday: ride for 1:30

Week 12

Tuesday: ride 20 minutes

Thursday: Take off!

Sunday: Ride 25 miles or 2 hours

This program may not be for all beginners, make sure to check with your doctor before doing this program. Also, some of you who have been riding more may get to 25 miles sooner. However as long it takes you, I just want you to know that just getting out there and being consistent is the key to enjoying years and years of riding and endurance activities.

Good luck and enjoy every moment!

P.S. Let me know if you want a schedule for a half-century next!