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Intelligent Cycling Training—Training

Effective Training Rides, Part 2
Sample Objectives

My primary objectives for the preparation rides will be to complete them and to learn as much as I can about my body’s responses.

by Warren McNaughton & John Hughes
© Warren McNaughton & John Hughes, All Rights Reserved

Warren McNaughton is a veteran cyclist having completed numerous centuries, double centuries and multi-day rides including Paris-Brest-Paris. John Hughes is the author of Distance Cycling and many articles on training, nutrition, psychology and medical issues for He is the the former director of the UltraMarathon Cycling Association and editor of UltraCycling, has been certified by the National Strength and Conditioning Association as a personal trainer and by USA Cycling as a coach.

[ Effective Training Rides   Pt. 1 Overall Plan   |  Pt. 2 Sample Objectives ]

The objectives are for a series of brevets for a 1200 km; you can develop a similar set of objectives for rides leading up to your first double century or tour.

200 km (time limit 13.5 hours)

  • Work on pacing: set a reasonable time goal that will also be well below the allowable time, e.g., 10-11 hours.
  • Work on nutrition: practice eating every hour and making sure that calories in are close to calories expended.
  • Check your bike fit: stem height and reach, seat height, etc.
  • Work on getting in and out of controls quickly: spend time sitting on the bike, not in rest stops.
  • Enjoy the scenery and your fellow riders.
  • Work on recovery after the ride: consuming high quality carbohydrates, stretching and massage.

300 km (time limit: 20 hours)

  • Work on pacing: riding at a sustainable pace.
  • Work on hydration: drinking as much as you sweat.
  • Try out various energy bars and drinks.
  • Work on equipment: take everything that you will use for the 1200 km.
  • Work on relaxing on your bike: ride so that you get to the end with tired legs, but your upper body isn't fatigued.

400 km (time limit: 27 hours)

  • Work on mental pacing: enjoy each section as you ride it and don't worry about the miles ahead.
  • Work on pacing: finish the first 300 km feeling like you could ride another 300 km.
  • Work on riding at night: discover how you react to it and test your lights.
  • Work on planning: write down your pace and planned stops; then stick to the plan.
  • Work on mental training: rehearse the ride the week before.
  • Enjoy the sunset and the first evening stars; it's a magical time of night.

600 km (time limit: 40 hours)

  • Ride to finish: use this ride as the dress rehearsal for your chosen event.
  • Work on riding at night: maintain a good pace and minimize stops.
  • Work on pacing: practice taking a sleep break and then getting on the bike without wasting time.
  • Enjoy the dawn: it's an awesome feeling to ride most of the night and watch the sun come up.

Originally printed in UltraCycling