by: Kevin Mackinnon
Here is the second month of training for those who have been following our summer training program and preparing to ride 60 or 100 km at MS Bike later this year. Last month our goal was to get you comfortable on the bike and help you develop a consistent training plan—this month we want to build on that and up your training levels a bit.
RELATED: The MS Bike training plan: Week 1-3
Suggested training week
We still have a couple of days off in the program – feel free to put in some active rest (walk, easy bike, other activity) for one of those days, but make sure you have at least one full day off every week to ensure you’re getting some rest and letting your body recover.
Rider’s choice/strength work
The most important component of a successful training plan is consistency. Three workouts a week for 12 weeks will take you much further than the occasional five-workout week followed by weeks with one or two efforts. This month, we’re adding one more ride to the program. If that’s a stretch for your busy schedule, skip one of the easy rides.
Ideally, these rides are about half to three-quarters the distance of your long ride each week. If you find that to be way too easy, check out this more advanced 8-week plan.
The long ride is an important component of your training plan—the goal at MS Bike is to go the distance and make a difference, right? The key to your long ride is to start at a reasonable level and build gradually.
These rides should be done at a 60 to 80 per cent intensity level. The easiest way to gauge that level is to make sure you can keep a conversation going. Make sure you don’t feel completely out of breath while you’re on these rides. Don’t sweat it if you have to push a bit beyond that on climbs but keep things easy the rest of the way.
Most people look to do their long rides on the weekends when they have more time, but any day of the week is fine as long as you get it done. Here are some suggested long ride builds for the second month of the training program based on goal distances of 60 km or 100 km.
60 km ride goal
- Week 1: 25 km
- Week 2: 30 km
- Week 3: 40 km
- Week 4: 35 km
100 km ride goal
- Week 1: 40 km
- Week 2: 50 km
- Week 3: 60 km
- Week 4: 50 km
The goal with these sessions is to work on your speed and strength on the bike. The faster you can go, the easier a slower pace will feel when it comes to your big ride later this summer. This session should be anywhere from 45 to 75 minutes in length and should incorporate some pushing the pace.
For example, you could simply ride at a quicker tempo for 20 to 50 minutes. You could also find a hill close by and do some repeats up that. Another option is to do some intervals where you push the pace for either a set time (1 to 3 minutes) or a set distance (500 m to 1 km), with a similar length of time or distance as a recovery in between.
Rider’s choice/strength work
Even though your legs will be doing the lion’s share of the work for your big cycling effort this summer, maintaining overall strength should be a critical component of your training plan. You don’t need to hit a weight room for hours and hours of strength training every week. In fact, that probably would hinder your bike goals as you would likely gain some unwanted muscle mass.
Your strength work should be very mostly focused on core strength and incorporate as many body-weight exercises as possible. Aim to complete a couple of strength sessions a week for about 20 minutes.
For core strength workouts that will help every cyclist, check out this equipment-free program.
To prepare for the strength workout, you should do at least 15 to 20 mins of some sort of warm-up activity—bike, run, brisk walk or an elliptical trainer session are all great options.
About MS Bike
Every summer cyclists of all ages and fitness levels come together across Canada to find, and conquer, their personal cycling challenge at MS Bike. This year is no different as we come together at MS Bike, uniting online. Join us as together we hit the road, trainer or stationary bike and connect for a cycling experience you will never forget.
Register at msbike.ca
Kevin Mackinnon is a former professional triathlete who has been coaching cyclists, runners and triathletes for more than 30 years. He is the editor of Triathlon Magazine Canada and a senior editor at Canadian Cycling Magazine.