Farther, Faster, Sooner

Express Train with Chris Carmichael

It may look daunting, but this 12-week century-ride training plan(printable PDF) will actually save you time. Designed for beginning riders, it involves shorter, harder workouts—and fewer hours on the bike. With the key below as your guide, start working your way toward mile 100.

Also, check out our century rides calendar to find a ride near you.

Century Program Key
Set your training zones with a field test: Ride a three-mile, flat-to-rolling course as fast as you can. Record your time and average heart rate. Repeat. Use the higher of the two average field-test heart rates (FT HR) to calculate your training ranges based on the percentages in the key below.

1. Ride: Your base standard. Keep your cadence (pedaling rpm) at 80–100 and your effort at 50%–91% of FT HR.

2. Recovery Miles: An easy spin. Ride at 80–85 rpm, 50%–70% of FT HR.

3. Intervals: The following intervals should be performed in the middle of your ride, with recovery periods coming after each interval. FastPedal: In an easy gear, pedal as quickly as you can without bouncing in the saddle. No HR range. Tempo: In a heavy gear, ride at 70–75 rpm, 90% of FT HR. SteadyState: Ride at 90–95 rpm, 92%–94% of FT HR. PowerIntervals: Maximum-intensity intervals. Ride at more than 90 rpm and at least 100% of FT HR.

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