The Big Potato Beginner Training Plan will have you ready for race day for the 100-miler Big Potato distance of Rebecca's Private Idaho.
Today you are just going to ease into the plan. Starting with the basics, endurance miles. These are the bread and butter of any training plan. They are a time for aerobic development as well as good for skills like pedaling mechanics and cadence.
Consistent riding is the most important part of preparing for Rebecca’s Private Idaho. Commit to riding a set number of days each week, stick to the training plan, and you will see improvement. You can move days around within a week, but in order to be prepared for your big event, make sure you consistently get on your bike each week.
Endurance Miles (EM)
This is the next step toward building an aerobic energy system that will increase your endurance capabilities. Expected benefits include:
Slow-twitch muscle fibers gain size and strength.
Increase capillary development.
Increases mitochondria, structures within the muscle cells that produce ATP.
Increased stroke volume from your heart.
Improved temperature regulation.
Increased respiratory endurance.
How to do it:
The pace during the EM workout is quicker than during the Foundation Miles (FM) workout. It is performed at a moderate pace, but at a higher heart rate than the FM workout.
Use your gearing as you hit the hills to remain in the saddle as you climb. Expect to keep your pedal speed up into the 85-95 RPM range.
As with the FM workout, your goal is to ride at least 95% of the ride using your aerobic system for energy. Even though the intensity is greater the closer you get to your lactate threshold, you are still using aerobic energy to power your cycling.
The goal for today is to become familiar with Steady State efforts. These take finding the right road, one where you can pedal hard uninterrupted for 12 minutes. When doing efforts, stay focused on your power, relax your upper body, and control your breathing.
Here's another workout you'll see a lot of during this training- Endurance Miles. You'll need to build endurance, comfort in the saddle, and the mental strength to get you through the long rides. We are certain however, on the Big Potato course, the views will keep your mind excited and energized.
The goal for today, 30 minutes at tempo, is great for developing your aerobic system in a short period of time. Find a road that is flat to rolling or slightly uphill. Keep constant pressure on the pedals. You might hold back a little on the climbs, and find yourself going harder than normal on the downhills in order to have smooth power output.
Tempo (T) Workout
Goal: Strategically placing tempo workouts into your training program has many advantages:
-Greater comfort while cruising on rolling terrain.
-Better fuel utilization during long races or rides.
-Increased capacity for more intense workouts.
-Better power at moderate intensities.
-Increased muscle glycogen storage capacity.
-Improved free fatty acid oxidation, which spares muscle glycogen.
-Increased mitochondrial development, structures within the muscle cells that produce energy.
-Improved aerobic efficiency.
How to Do It:
Pedal speed should be low. Try a 70-75 RPM range while staying at the prescribed heart rate intensity. This helps increase pedal resistance and strengthens leg muscles. Also try to stay in the saddle when you hit hills during your tempo workouts. This adds more pedal resistance and readies the connective tissues and supporting muscle groups before training heads into more explosive workouts.
It is important that you try to ride the entire length of the tempo workout with as few interruptions as possible - tempo workouts should consist of consecutive riding at the prescribed intensity to achieve maximum benefit.
A great follow up to yesterday's ride and successful first week on the plan. Enjoy the ride. But don't slack off; keep it at endurance pace.
Today you want to take what you learned from last week's Steady State, and really knock it out of the park. Stay focused on the power output and pacing. Nail the timing and do some perfect intervals. These are hard, but believe us, they work. It is important to get the proper dose though, so don't bail out half way through these.
Endurance miles are easy, but take it seriously. Keep your cadence between 90 and 100. Focus on smooth and efficient pedaling.
Keep an eye on your average cadence for most rides. If it is consistently less than 85, you may want to incorporate some high-cadence pedaling drills. Spin at 100+ rpm for a minute, then rest a minute, and repeat 5-10 times. This Fast Pedal drill can be incorporated into Endurance Miles rides, and it is very helpful in increasing pedaling efficiency and teaching the body to adapt to riding at a higher cadence.
You aren't bumping up the mileage just yet; we have plenty of time left for that. But let's do something really fun today: 40 minutes of tempo! Do the tempo efforts in the first third of the ride so you are fresh, get some rest after each interval, then go into endurance miles. Hold the power up and stay at endurance for the remaining time.
Tempo riding is just above pure aerobic training and just below working at lactate threshold. Therefore, tempo riding is not without effort and would be difficult to sustain the required pace for hours, but it doesn't require so much effort that it quickly tires you out. In a bicycle race, the peloton -- or group of riders -- often works at this steady pace, performing tempo riding until there is an attack or until they need to bridge a gap.
If you have trouble eating while riding, a good strategy is to practice eating during Tempo efforts. You will most likely be riding Tempo for a large part of the big gravel ride, so being comfortable with eating at that pace is crucial to keeping your nutrition in check during the ride. If you wait always for easy parts of the ride to start eating, you may not be giving yourself enough time to take in the nutrition that you need.