Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Training for a Century--the Marla Streb method

Marla Streb, pro bicycle racer, gives you exactly what you're looking for if you haven't crossed the Century threshold. And she gives it to you in doses of clarity, week by week. If you're doing it for the first time or coaxing someone else, Bicycling Magazine's Century Training Program is the book.

Marla uses her brother, Dave, as her foil to bring her vast knowledge to the average rider, and it works well. After each chapter/week, two training logs follow that contrast his actual sleep/miles/notes with hers. He of course has a "real" job and family constraints. I also like that she pays so much attention to sleep. Not only does my body dig sleep, adequate sleep is under-recognized in its importance to effective training to my mind.

Along the way are snippets of essential but basic wisdom about equipment, overtraining, riding in groups, heart rate, exercises, nutrition, basic periodization, etc. What I most like is what it doesn't include: intense charts and graphs that can be intimidating and off-putting to those we're trying to lure in.

And let's face it, the century is the benchmark. It is the ritualized ride. "Have you ridden a century yet?" is a common question. And once you've done "your century", the whole behind-the-curtain-of-the-harem-tent of longer distance cycling awaits the intrepid explorer.

So I consider Marla's well-conceived, simple, and engaging book to be an "Open Sesame" to the Century Ride. That's a pretty good service to the sport we lovingly refer to as randonneuring. Thanks, Rodale. Thanks, Marla.

Looking for a good guide to the Century? Go with Marla and her bro.

Keep it going to one hundred,