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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 Anti-Aging: 12 Ways to You Can Slow the Aging Process and of the book Distance Cycling. He has written 40 articles on training, nutrition, psychology and medical issues for He is a veteran of Paris-Brest-Paris ’79, ’87, ’91, ’95, ’99, Boston-Montreal-Boston ’92 (course record), Rocky Mountain 1200 ’04, Furnace Creek 508 ’89 (course record) and ’93 (first place) and the Race Across America ’96. More about Coach Hughes.

[ 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

More Information
Coach Hughes has written a number of pieces directly relevant to randonneurs, all available from RoadBikeRider

  • Endurance Training and Riding — The three article bundle covers training, nutrition and the skills for finish rides of 100km and longer. 48 pages available for just $13.50 (a 10% savings) from
    1. Brevets — The eArticle on how to train for 200 km to 1200 km and longer brevets. 16 pages for just $4.99 from
    2. Nutrition — What to eat and drink on rides of 100 km and longer. 16 pages for just $4.99 from
    3. Riding the Long Ride — What are the key final preparations for a ride of 100 km or longer, how to complete them and then how to manage every aspect of the ride. 16 pages for just $4.99 from
  • Butt, Hands, Feet — How to prevent and treat pain in cycling’s pressure points. 12 pages for just $4.99 from
  • Intensity — Using Rate of Perceived Exertion, a Heart Rate Monitor or Power Meter to Maximize Training Effectiveness. 41 pages eArticle for just $4.99 from
  • Mastering the Mental — How to prepare for the inevitable mental challenges and how to deal with them on a ride of 100 km or longer. 17 pages for just $4.99 from
  • Showstoppers — What are all the factors other than training that stop you from completing a ride? What can you do to prevent a DNF. 65 pages for just $14.95 from
  • Other articles by Coach Hughes from