Today marks the official start of Week 2 of my Century Training Series where I’m documenting my efforts to train for my first century ride in late September 2009. Because today is a scheduled rest day, I’ll use it to conduct a re-cap of Week 1. Here’s a link to the Century Training Plan I’m following.

Week 1 started off rather easy with a one hour endurance ride scheduled for Tuesday. I actually thought this might be too easy for me but I did it anyway and completed it with no problems. On Wednesday I had to skip an interval workout because of a late afternoon thunderstorm. Thursday, Saturday and Sunday saw me ride per the century training plan. As the week went on I found the rides getting a little tougher as the required time at endurance pace was lengthened with it topping out at two hours on Saturday. In a few weeks I’ll be doing Saturday rides of three to four hours in length which kind of blows my mind right now.

Here’s a recap of my cycling numbers from last week as well as today’s measurements:

Total Riding Time: 7h:24m
Total Miles: 109.3

Neck: 17.25 in
Chest: 46 in
Left Bicep: 14.5 in
Right Bicep: 14.5 in
Waist: 47.5 in
Left Thigh: 29 in
Right Thigh: 27.5 in
Left Calf: 18.75 in
Right Calf: 18.25 in

A look at the numbers

The total mileage of 109.3 miles is the most I’ve ridden in a week since I did a cycling fundraiser from Connecticut to Ohio over 15 years ago. If I hadn’t had to skip Wednesday because of the thunderstorm I would have probably been around 140 for the week. I think that’s pretty impressive for a guy that’s 80+ pounds overweight. My weekly time in the saddle and mileage should only increase from here and peak about three weeks before my century before it tapers down.

My measurements, for the most part, were unchanged. I’ve always carried around extra weight and being in the military it was always a problem for me. I came to dread the ‘rope and choke’ as we called it. They subtract your neck circumference from your waist circumference to get a number (the smaller the number the better). This number is then looked up on a chart and for your corresponding height you get a percentage of body fat. Not the most accurate system in the world but that’s how they do it. I was always right on the border…and sometimes over. The thing with taking the neck and waist measurements is that many people who are trying to lose weight actually get worse before they get better. The reason is because the first place you lose anything is in your neck with your waist the last place. With your neck shrinking, and your waist staying the same, the resulting difference is a higher number therefore a higher percentage body fat. Not until you start losing the belly fat and love handles do you see decreases in body fat by the way the military measure you.

All that said, my numbers this week are reflective of the shrinking neck syndrome. I lost a little in the neck with most everything else staying the same but I did lose some in the calves too. This is only a week of keeping track so I’m not expecting to see huge changes and neither should you if you’re doing something similar. It takes time to see those numbers go down. The biggest thing is to not get frustrated if you don’t see immediate changes.

Some lessons learned

  1. Hydrate. With the daytime temperatures here in Texas hovering near 100F everyday it’s very important to stay hydrated. This includes drinking water throughout the day, while on the bike and after riding. I’ve got on the bike covered but need to concentrate more on the other two especially post-ride.
  2. Eat properly. I’m still struggling with this. I’m eating much better than I used to but I’m struggling with variation in my diet (chicken and tuna does get a little old) and timing of eating. Before Saturday’s ride I didn’t eat breakfast and I think it hurt my performance during the ride. You have to make sure you’re fueled to ride and re-fueled post-ride.
  3. Ride early. With the temps high it’s important for me to ride early on Saturday to avoid late morning high temperatures. I got started late on Saturday and I paid for it with sweltering heat by the time I finished at 11:30.

A look at Week 2

Because I started my century training plan two weeks early I’ll go ahead with Week 2 this week and then fall back to Week 1 to start again. I did it this way to make sure I get into the training plan with no problems and can implement a couple other things into it before actually starting the 10-week plan. Week 2 will see an increase in time in the saddle of about 1.5-2 hours total with Saturday’s ride coming in at three hours of endurance riding. Should be a lot of fun as I’ll be up in Oklahoma where the area I ride is more hills than flat.