cpa rider found this:
Training for endurance is straightforward, but not easy. You simply identify your target event on a calendar, back off six to eight weeks, and do weekly long rides building up to 75% of your target distance. If your target event is a century the first of July, you reserve one day a week in May and June to do rides up to 75 miles. This 75% rule works for any cycling event up to 24 hours. In the latter case, you'd build up over six to eight weeks to an 18 hour training ride! If your target event is longer than 24 hours (e.g., RAAM), then a 24-hour ride every week or two over the last six to eight weeks may be the best preparation.
Let's assume that our goal is a century ride by July 1 - but it's March. What now? We need to build a base so that by May we're ready to ramp up the distance. There are no good shortcuts to putting in base miles. If you try to build up too fast, the risk of injury or burnout increases. A good rule of thumb is to only increase total riding by 10-15% per year and to also limit monthly increases to 10-15%. Building this way should allow us to ride for decades with smiles on our faces!
Weekly long ride
By the end of base training, the goal is to comfortably ride 1/3 to 1/2 of the target distance. Since we'll be riding a century in by July 1, our base preparation goal is to ride 50 miles by the end of April. We live in San Diego, so this much riding is possible; if you live in Minnesota, you might only ride 1/3 of the target distance (33 miles). If you're training for something longer, like B-M-B or RAAM, then by the end of your base, you should be able to ride 1/2 of the daily riding time, e.g., 12 hours if training for RAAM.
Since we're training primarily for endurance and not for speed, the most important ride is the weekly long ride. The purpose of the long ride is to train your muscles and cardiovascular system, and also your digestive system. A secondary benefit of this ride is psychological. If the long rides can be done comfortably, then our confidence in completing our target event will increase.
The long rides should increase by 5-10% every week, at the same rate as the weekly total. You might try to build up a little faster, but then throw in an easy week every four to six weeks, to allow yourself to recover. The long ride should be about half of your total weekly training volume. This works for long rides up to about 200 miles.
The long ride should simulate the planned event as much as possible. For example, if you're planning a tour, with rest stops every couple of hours and a break for lunch, then ride that way. If you're targeting a race, than train with minimal stops. Only riding time counts, so deduct the time spent at breaks, fixing flats, etc. If possible, simulate the terrain and weather conditions you expect for the event on the weekly training rides.
Pace yourself on the long rides so that you feel good at the end. You may want to do these with other riders to make them safer and more fun, but please don't try to "half wheel" or hammer each other. If you can't carry on a continuous conversation at any time during the long ride (including the climbs) then you are going too hard. The primary purpose of this ride is to have the slowest rider feel good at the finish. Each rider will get the desired benefits, even if they feel that they are "loafing" through most of it.
Identify and eliminate limiters
These rides should also be used to identify the limiters (i.e., "show stoppers") that could stop you from completing the event comfortably. For example, there may be problems with pain or numbness at any one of the places we contact the bike: hands, feet and seat. This is the time to find (1) a saddle that fits your unique anatomy, (2) a comfortable aerobar position so that you can spend most of your flat and downhill riding time in it, and (3) shoes/inserts that keep your feet and knees happy. Knee, neck, back, or ankle problems could also show up for the first time on these long rides. When you identify a potential show-stopper on a long ride, fix it before the next weekend.
Use the long rides to experiment with eating and drinking. There are many good articles on nutrition. Figure out what works for you. Do you ride better with pastries and Pop Tarts? Or with Hammergel and Spiz? When you find something that works for you, use it for the rest of your training rides and especially for your target event.
It helps to do these long rides in one loop or one out-and-back. Then, if you are at least halfway and start to tire, the fastest way home is to keep going. This is especially important as your longest rides approach 24 hours. When I was training for solo RAAM, several of my 24 hour rides started near home on Friday nights and went around the east side of the Salton Sea. At about the halfway point I almost always rode through a low point but managed to continue because every pedal stroke took me closer to home.
The long ride is half of your weekly training - what do you do for the rest of the time? If you're building your base, increasing your endurance and trying to get comfortable on the bike, then just ride. You need to ride at least four days a week to get fitter, so try hard to fit in the rides. I believe the best way to get in regular rides is commuting. You might take a short route on the way to work so you don't work up a sweat and then take a longer route home. Other options are Spinning classes or riding a trainer. You're better off riding briskly for 45 minutes three nights a week, than getting out for a couple of hours only one evening.
A couple of months before your big event, you should start doing a couple of short, hard rides a week. Again, specificity is key. If you're doing a mountainous century, go out and hammer in the hills. Or hammer into the wind. If you're peaking for a fast, flat 12 hour race, do a couple of fast, flat rides a week, focusing on staying aero and maintaining a constant effort. Of course, you also need some easy miles for recovery.
If you are just getting started with distance events, these suggestions may help you complete your first long rides in comfort and a smile on your face.