Let’s Talk About Planning Your Ride

What is your methodology for planning out your ride?  This is another of our Let’s Talk posts that will be built by you so let’s hear all you have to say about your pre-ride strategy.  What determines how far you’ll ride or what route you’ll take?  Do you follow a training program?  We want to hear about your comments, suggestions, and opinions about everything having to do with planning out your ride.

The video below serves as a prelude to generating comments to this topic, but feel free to jump right now down to the comments section below.

  • http://twitter.com/icemanbb Bob Burpee

    I plan almost all of my weekend rides (20-60mi), not specifically for training but for fun, and exercise. I try to vary the route somewhat, once I’m in the city. Fortunately Pittsburgh is a fairly hilly city so I don’t have to go out of my way for any hill work. I try to not let the weather dictate the distance but I have to admit that I will from time to time reduce the distance if it’s going to be a 90+ degree day. I will try to get an earlier start (as early as 05:30) to avoid some of the heat. I’m also guilty of enjoying the actual planning.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Riaan-Coetzee/1205638496 Riaan Coetzee

    Let’s see … in the mornings I go to work. If I get out early (ie the kids and wife fed, out the door and off to school, and the maid early for a change) I extend my route from the normal 12-13km to 15-25km. In the afternoons I go home – if I had a short ride in the morning, I may end up doing a longer one in the afternoon. If I can get away from the office earlier, I end up on an epic trek through a game reserve or over some distant mountain. On weekends, if I get the time, I plan to go do something ‘special’, like a certain trail or uphill I haven’t done before (or want to do again)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1280350442 Eric McWhirter

    I usually end up riding in a new area when I get a chance to ride, So I use Google maps to plan a route, it has been helpful in getting a look at the roads and seeing if there are bike routes, and I have a Garmin and can send routes to my unit, I do use Training Peaks as well

  • http://twitter.com/openmikey Mike Neifert

    Long rides I plan out. Short rides, I just ride. I usually ride against the wind first so it’s smooth sailing coming home.

  • http://twitter.com/openmikey Mike Neifert

    If I’m riding by myself, I don’t plan much unless it’s a really long ride. If I’m going with others, I still don’t plan much unless it’s a really long ride. For long rides, I think through where I’m going and sometimes even map it.

  • Ben Germain

    I’m about to take off right now so let’s see what I do. Right now I’m thinking about my options and have decided that with the 1 1/2 hours I have available I will do one of my favorite loops in this area. The wind is light so that should not affect things and I’ll be back in time for dinner with my family. guess that’s how I do it.

  • Charles

    I make my mind up the day before or before I ride and try to stick with the plan no matter how I feel and usually am happy I did. If I want to do 20 I will bang it out. If I feel I need 50 I will stick in there during the ride ignoring any reason to cut it short. I am use to what each ride is like so I can pick and choose. If I plan on going with a group I let them decide. I think it is very seldome I just go out and see what happens. I have a time I have allowed and I use it or a plan like ride 30 and run 5 today.

  • Melinda

    It depends on if we’re riding as a family or individually. Our family rides tend to be on flat trails and a short distance. If I’m by myself on the flat trails, I ride until I’m tired. If I’m riding the hills in my neighborhood, well…. let’s just say I’m still developing in that area. Eventually, I plan on training for a century, but that’s probably at least 3 months away.

  • Justin

    I also use the wind direction trick and generally start off going in to the wind. Otherwise, I stick to most of the same routes and pick one each time based on how I’m feeling and what distance I plan on going that day. Sometimes I choose a flatter route and other days I go for hills.

  • http://twitter.com/ibc2ibc IBC2IBC 2012

    I like to ride generally for about an hour and just go where my bike takes me, which to can lead to some slightly confusing rides lol

    • Tim

      I generally stick to many of the same routes each week. So for me it all depends on how many miles I want to get in that day. Most of the time it is due to how much time I have available and how many hours I have until it gets dark outside. During this time of year I have more flexibility in the length of my rides due to it staying light longer.

  • Keith Edmiston

    I use the “Cyclist Training Bible” book by Joe Friel and a premium Training Peaks account to structure and plan my workouts…RideWithGPS to map it out in advance. Not a bad solution for under $25/mo.

    • JJ

      I just recently got involved with Training Peaks as well after seeing the ad on this website. I havn’t yet made full use of it but will look into becoming a premium member as you mentioned.

      • Keith Edmiston

        JJ…I had a free TP account for awhile, but seldom used it since I couldn’t use it for planning. I had other ways to track what I had done, but not planning what I wanted to do in the future. Once I decided to “self-coach”, the premium TP account became a no-brainer. It’s not too fancy from a graphics point of view, but it’s robust.

        So, I used it to create an Annual Training Plan (used the wizard to make it easier/quicker), then used the Virtual Coach to spit out workout sessions that I could then drag-n-drop in to my calendar. Upon completing a workout, I upload the data from my Garmin Edge 500 and it updates the info for that workout. Pretty snazzy.

        I can, and somewhat do, also track nutrition intake. I would say this has a lot left to be desired since so many other options (LiveStrong MyPlate, for one) are out there that are much easier to use. Aside from the hassle of input, the nutritional analysis is pretty cool…pie charts, etc. to break down the nutrients that I take in. I don’t take that stuff too terribly serious, as I refuse to get that crazy about it all, but “real” athletes can/do if so desired. I plan to use it more for trend analysis than anything…over time, seeing how much my change in diet contributes to my change in fitness will likely provide added incentive to keep pursuing my goals.

        This brings me to my last point…goals. Joe Friel (the guy that wrote the book that this website was built to support) actively states that this is all about racing, and as such, incorporates “periodization” concepts that have you work on “base”, then “build”, then “peak” just before scheduled races. Since I don’t really want to race, other than the odd time trial perhaps, I sought other goals that I could work up to. So, for me it’s the LiveStrong-Austin 100 miler this year, followed by a Christmas time epic ride on the Rapha Continental 337 ride out near Garner State Park in Central TX. These are the “A” events that I’m working towards, and I’ve built my workout plan around that in the TP website.

        Hope this helps give you some things to consider when deciding if you want to do the TP premium or not. If you do, I would recommend jumping in to the 6-month term…it’s about half as much $$ as the monthly term, and you really need more than a month or so to fully evaluate it I think. Enjoy!

  • Justin Winokur

    I use RideWithGPS to plan out rides. I just moved to a new area so I really know nothing about different roads. For that, I use both RideWithGPS and Bikely to try to make the rides. It becomes difficult when planning a 100+ mile ride, since I need to work stops in every 25 miles or so.