As a followup to my post last week on Setting Goals, I thought it was time that I established my 2008 goal. I know, it’s already August but I failed to set proper goals back when I started and I thought I should go ahead and do it now. I started in April and rode between April and June. During that time period I managed to ride 300 miles. I felt better physically and my clothes were fitting better every week. Once July rolled around my riding came to an abrupt stop due to a couple of injuries that have kept me off the bike for more than a month. The progress I had made from April to June was good considering I was just basically out riding with no set purpose but with the time off the bike recently I have basically destroyed the fitness and gains that I had made. Because of that, I’m going to start my 2008 over again here in August and use the rest of the year to get myself ready for 2009.

When I attended Officer Candidate School back in 1996, the Drill Instructors had us on a rigorous training plan that was very well planned out. By doing that, they knew what days were long distance running days, which ones were sprint days, and so on. At the end of the 13-week school I had lost over 30 pounds and reduced my 1.5 mile run time by over 3 minutes. If it worked for me running (which I can’t do anymore due to ankle problems) why won’t it work for cycling? Because of that, I believe that I would benefit from following a regimented bicycle training program to help me build my fitness and lose weight. So, for the past week I’ve been developing a schedule to improve my cycling fitness. I knew several things going in:

  • I knew what I was capable of riding per week based on my bike riding earlier in the year.
  • I knew what my normal weekday mileage was for my morning bicycle ride.
  • I knew I was basically starting over again and needed to build my fitness base back up.

Armed with this information, I designed a small spreadsheet that displays some mileage totals based on the number of weekdays I ride and how far I ride on Saturday. Sunday will always be a rest day. The result is this table.

Mileage Small

The number of weekdays I ride (3, 4 or 5) are in the first column, the second column is the distance of my morning ride (13 miles), and the remaining four columns are what my weekly mileage would be if I did a 30, 40, 50, or 60 mile Saturday ride. For example, if I ride my bike 3 weekdays, plus 40 miles on Saturday, my mileage for that week would be 79 miles. The color coding will make sense in a minute.

The next thing I did was determine how many weeks were left in the year (18 full weeks) and determine on what days I would ride my bike and how far. I again went to Excel and developed the table below:

Mileage Large

The weeks until the end of the year are listed in the first column with the total mileage for that week in the third column. The next seven columns are the days of the week and how far I will ride on each day for the given week. The days I ride are easily adjusted due to inclement weather, lack of sleep, etc. The key, for me, is getting the required mileage in each week. You’ll see in the weekly mileage column (column 3), that I started at 69 miles for my starting mileage for the week of 25-Aug. I knew going in that I’m capable of doing that so it’s a good starting point. You’ll notice that the 69 cell is shaded a light blue. That corresponds to the light blue shaded 69 in the top table. This means I’m supposed to ride my bicycle on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday (three weekdays) at 13 miles in the morning and ride 30 miles on Saturday for a weekly total of 69 miles.

When determining how much I would ride each week, I tried to follow the rule of not increasing my mileage more than 10%-12% each week. In my plan I decided to do that for each three-week period and for the most part I did. The only thing that bothers me is the Saturday miles. I’m not going to have a problem riding 30 or 40 miles but getting up to 50 and 60 miles on Saturday, with only short 13 mile rides on the weekdays has me a little concerned. I’m hoping my plan to be in each “phase” for three weeks will help with that.

Finally, you’ll see that there’s a red line after the week of 6-Oct. That line splits my base fitness and interval training phases as seen in the last column. Cycling Performance Tips says that you should have a solid aerobic base of 500 miles of steady pedaling before adding intervals to a cycling training plan so as to prevent injury. Even though I have already ridden 300 miles earlier in the year I decided to follow this rule in my new program. Why? Because, let’s face it, I’m overweight and not ready for intervals yet. After finishing the week of 6-Oct I will have accumulated 526 miles of base fitness. As I get closer to the interval phase I’ll make another post on my plan for the intervals.

If I follow my plan as it’s set, I’ll ride 1,608 miles between today and 26-Dec. This should get me in good shape, help me lose some weight, help me get into some of my smaller clothes, and prepare me for some hard training in early 2009 so I can do some local rides or charity events.

Well, that’s it. I started the plan this morning with my 13-mile ride on Bike Ride 26. I’m in no way a trainer, or accomplished cyclist, so I’d like to hear your opinions and/or recommendations.