Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Bike America: Training

Five or six months ago, Josh and I were talking about my trip and I said something to the effect of "I don't need to train, I could start riding my bike across America tomorrow and be fine." I know this makes me sound full of it but I still believe it's true. Riding a bike is hard work but it's not so hard that a young, in-shape person can't do it (for miles and miles on end) if they try. That being said, I knew that training for this ride was very important for two reasons:

1. For the sake of my butt, neck, and hands.
2. During the first week or two, an un-trained body would survive but would likely be pretty miserable.

The problem was that I didn't know exactly how to train aside from staying fit and riding my bike a little more frequently. So that's what I have done. It's not like training for a running race where you build up mileage, you time your splits, and you focus on speed. The most important things to build and maintain in training are strong-as-shit legs, a hard butt and hands (for sitting on a bike seat and leaning on handlebars), and a familiarity with breathing hard.

I didn't create a training plan. I have simply been motivated by the excitement of the trip and a desire to be in tip-top shape when it begins. To put it simply, my training has been a non-scientific, un-planned combination of spinning, running, biking, frisbee, gym classes and soccer. There has been a lot of variety, which there won't be over the summer, but it's kept me from burning out and it has motivated me to be excited about exercise every single day.

Last week, I shared this image to give you a sense of what my weekly workouts have looked like. If you love to sweat in a million different ways, you are beginning a cross-country bike trip, and you want my advice on how to train, here is what my typical week has looked like in preparation for my ride:

But remember, I have no credibility yet in saying that this works. Only time will tell.

Honestly, I'm not one for following a super strict schedule. I'm sure any professional athlete would tell you otherwise but, in my opinion, the best way to train is to be excited about what you're training for and, naturally, it will motivate you. If you couldn't already tell, I am beyond excited about the journey that begins June 14. And that has made me strong in my training without my always knowing it.


  1. I think you are right, if you didn't train you would have been just fine! Now you will be a little bit happier though and your body will thank you!

    I think that a century ride training plan may have helped, but other than that you did exactly what you needed to do.

  2. You'll rock it, girl. You were a strong rider already so that definitely helps. But yeah, you're right--for the sake of your butt & neck training helps. Those are the 2 things that kill me when I get back into riding after a hiatus.