ultra distance riders
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8 Tips For Training For Ultra Distance Rides

Reading time: 4 min
ultra distance riders

You may have ridden centuries but riding long distances is a totally different ball game. Can you do 200KM rides? That's 124 Miles for all our Brits. What about double centuries in Miles?

These types of distance rides, or ultra rides as some call it, are definitely not easy.

As a community of veteran endurance athletes, here are our top 5 tips to making sure you don't tire out doing your next ultra ride.

1. Include An Intensity Workout

Include one ride a week where you train for intensity. This'll help you build power through your workout.

To help you get the most out of this workout, make sure you include both hard riding and light recovery spinning in your exercise.

Mixing up intensity levels is important in your routine. Structured interval rides, sprints and hill repeats should be incorporated into this type of workout.

2. Ensure You've Got Your Nutrition Right

You'll never last a century if you don't know what to consume before, after, and throughout the ride. A double century without getting your nutrition right is even more daunting.

To keep it simple: when you go on your century endeavor, you'll be burning both glycogen and fat to use as energy.

The problem is, glycogen from carbs will only last you a few hours during your hard rides - if not less.

We've all experienced it at least once. The feeling of dead legs and a tired mind.

To avoid this, you need to be replenishing your glycogen throughout your ride.

Think carbs and sports drinks. Fruit and low fat bars work great too.

Most importantly, you need to make sure that whatever you're eating and drinking sits well with your stomach during your ride.

If you're training to do a century or double century ride - you need to make sure you're comfortable with consuming foods and drink throughout your ride. Get to know what types of products work well for you and makes you feel energized.

3. Eat Something Every 60 Minutes

This is an easy one - you need fuel to succeed in any endurance based workout, especially if you're going for a (double) century ride. Eat something once an hour. The sweet spot is around 300KCal of carbohydrates.

As a reminder - 60 minutes is the bare minimum and you shouldn't be consuming all of those calories in one go.

Instead, try refuel yourself throughout the hour, every 15 to 20 minutes. Consistency is key, and the last thing you want is to feel bloated on the bike.

4. Get Your Sodium

You lose sodium whenever you sweat, and it's the core electrolyte you'll need to replenish during your bike ride. Without sufficient sodium levels you will experience cramps.

And let's face it - nobody wants a dreaded cramp when they're doing their century.

Have a little salty snack at the ready and find the amount that's right for you.

Keep in mind, salt can make you feel thirsty, so it's important you don't chomp on too many pretzels during your ride. Just have enough to keep you going.

5. Drink, Drink, Drink

Regardless of your intensity, you're going to want to drink something. Make sure that your stream is consistent and as clear as possible once every few hours.

Make sure you satisfy your thirst without bloating yourself. Feeling thirsty during a ride is normal - your body is literally telling you to drink something. Don't ignore it!

6. Set Micro Goals

There's no point dreaming about how you'll perform 50 rides from now. It's great to set yourself a target over the long run, but many riders forget that they need to focus on the short term.

To do this, set yourself little goals that you can achieve throughout your ride. Whether this means getting to the next leg within a certain timeframe, or giving yourself a generous amount of time in the tough middle section of the ride - go for it.

Breaking up your ride with smaller goals that are easier to achieve encourages you to keep going.

7. Pace Yourself

Steady riders win. Do you ever see a marathon runner start their race with a sprint? Ultra rides are the same. Use your energy conservatively throughout the ride, learn when to expel more energy in tougher legs of the ride, and if you're looking to hit a new PR during your ultra - push yourself with the extra energy you've saved in that final leg.

8. Recovery Is Crucial To Success

Biking regularly, especially after intensive workouts, leads to huge strains on your body. To keep your health in check, make sure you practice a few things religiously:

  1. Never consume alcohol after a ride
  2. Consume high quality carbs and recovery drinks to refuel yourself
  3. Stretch after a ride to relax your muscles
  4. Put your legs up after a ride!