This is a post from Judy Stermer, the Vermont Foodbank’s Director of Communications and Public Affairs. During the day, she’s helping us inform the public about hunger in Vermont and the charitable food system. On evenings and weekends, though, she’s on the roads and trails, by bike or running shoe. So we asked her to give our Harpoon Point to Point riders some training tips.

Haven’t heard of the Harpoon Point to Point? Learn more here.

Eight years ago, I rode my first 100 miles in the Harpoon Point to Point. I found a million or more training plans out there, which for me was totally confusing! How much do I need to train? How many miles should I go before the big day? What training plan will get me over the finish line feeling healthy and ready to enjoy the great party?

The tips below are ones that worked for me when I trained for my first and then second century rides. Try them out, toss the ones that don’t work and adopt ones that make sense for you and your ride!

  1. Harpoon Point to PointTime in the Saddle is the most important thing for me. Riding 25, 50 or 100 miles is going to take hours, so not only to I need to train my legs and arms and core, I also need to train my butt. Padded shorts are a must but they aren’t everything. Getting in a few long rides on the weekends helps normalize sitting on a bike seat!
  2. Long rides are a must for my training. When training for the 100 mile ride, I rode a 60 mile training ride and a few 70 mile training rides but never 100 miles before the Harpoon Point to Point.
  3. Hills! If you’re riding in Vermont, you are very likely acquainted with hilly rides. It’s hard to go more than 5 or 10 miles without a climb. But if you live somewhere flat, consider finding some hills to practice on. The 25, 50 and 100 rides all have hills.
  4. Non-biking days are important too. When I train for biking I don’t JUST bike. I run, I walk the dog, I do workouts on Nike Training Club, I garden. By not biking every day, I give my biking muscles a rest and build other muscles that help with overall health and strength. When I started out, I was only biking 2-3 times a week.
  5. Eat and drink while you bike. It took me awhile to figure out what and how much I need and want during a long bike ride, but once I did, I was able to ride longer and stronger because I want getting the right nutrition. I like Clif Shot Blocks, bananas, water and some sort of electrolyte replacement drink. I like to make my own. The most basic rehydration drink that contains electrolytes is one made with water, salt and sugar.
  6. Find a friend. I love riding with a friend or two. It makes the time fly, and it’s always nice to have someone to help when fixing a flat! We have a number of training rides scheduled for the Point to Point too—consider joining us. You’ll meet other riders, maybe see a new piece of Vermont, and end with a free Harpoon beer! You’ll find the schedule here.

What does your training look like? We’d love to hear how you are getting ready for the Harpoon Point to Point presented by National Life Group. Tell us in the comments below.

Happy Training!