Women’s 100 Training Guide

How To Tackle The Women’s 100

Cycling 100km is a milestone for any rider – but with a little preparation and some help from friends, anyone can make sure they get the most out of the ride. We asked ex-professional rider Julie Krasniak for her tips for a century with confidence.

08 June 2017


Having the right clothing is key to a comfortable ride. Before you set about cycling for several hours it’s worth investing in a pair of high-quality cycling shorts, a jersey and a good pair of gloves. Wet weather gear is essential too – a waterproof gilet or jacket, a cap and overshoes are extras that can go a long way to making your ride more enjoyable. What’s more, these things will fold up small enough to fit into the pockets of your jersey.


Don’t let a bike that’s not working properly spoil your day. As a minimum you should check your tyres for wear, and lube your chain before you set out on any ride. Ahead of the day, a full bike service is vital to avoid dramatic surprises when you’re far from home or your destination. On every ride you should carry one or more inner tubes, tyre levers, a multi-tool and a pump (or some CO2 cartridges, although they’re hugely wasteful). And, if the thought of changing a tyre scares you to death, practise before you ride – there’s no excuse for not being able to fix a roadside puncture.


100km is a long way for any rider. If you’ve never ridden the distance before the best approach is to build up slowly, beginning with shorter distances. Setting appropriate goals and taking small but incremental steps is a tried and tested way of scaling up your mileage. Many of us save the weekend for our longest rides, but building one or two shorter rides into your week is important too. Entering a shorter event a few weeks before the Women’s 100 is a good way to check your progress.


Before you set out on any ride you should know the weather forecast and the profile of the route to avoid any nasty surprises. If you’re starting early it’s very likely that the day will warm up, so the key is to wear layers that can easily be put on or taken off. And if you’re heading to the hills, a jacket or gilet is essential – when the gradient goes up you’ll get warm, but will cool down rapidly once the descent begins.


Nutrition is a number one priority, and your meal the night before a long ride is vital. A good plate of pasta, quinoa, rice, bulgur wheat or lentils will help make sure you have energy throughout the day. Other tips include avoiding alcohol and overly fatty foods in the days running-up to an event. And you’ll certainly need to take some solid food with you for the ride itself. Sports nutrition companies offer a wide range of products, but traditional food also has its place. Dried mango or papaya or nuts such as almonds are healthy and free of chemical additives. Fruit and almond bars are also stalwarts for snacking in the saddle.


Professional riders take hydration seriously, and so should you. During any ride you need to replace the fluid that your body loses as you sweat. You need to drink and eat right from the first few kilometres, and drink before you start to feel the need because once you’re actually thirsty, it’s already too late. High glucose, sugary drinks ultimately make you feel thirstier and cause your blood glucose levels to peak and then fall. Hitting that low is sometimes called bonking – you may feel weak, tired, light headed and even anxious. A coke during the last 15 kilometres will often work if you’re looking for an extra burst of energy and a clear head.


Riding with friends is much more fun than riding alone, and it makes the challenge of 100km much more enjoyable. But it’s best to try and ride with cyclists of a similar level – there’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re holding others back, or indeed feeling frustrated and getting cold because the pace is too slow. Cycling in a group also makes the miles tick by far quicker, especially if you all take a turn riding at the front of the group. If you’re not confident riding with a group then start by riding as a three or four. Many cycling clubs offer cycle training for those who want to learn group riding skills.


Everyone needs a plan when they are training for an event. Build up your mileage gradually until you’re hitting the kind of distance you need to ride, but be flexible and make sure your training suits you and your lifestyle – the rides in the following guide can be done back to back on a Saturday and Sunday, or split across the week. If the weather turns bad during a ride don’t feel compelled to keep going, and if you miss a ride don’t worry. Never ride if you are ill or overtired – you’ll pay for it later. This plan starts with the assumption that you’ve already got some base miles in your legs.

Five Weeks to Success

Week One - Build

    Ride one - 35km
    Ride two - 65km

Week Two - Build

    Ride one - 40km
    Ride two - 70km

Week Three - Build

    Ride one - 45km
    Ride two - 75km

Week Four - Peak

    Ride one - 40km
    Ride two - 80km

Week Five - Taper

    Ride one - 30km
    Ride two - 40km

Week Six - Event

    Ride one - 20km
    Women's 100 - 100km


Sign up to join a ride or organise one yourself, rally your friends and ride together on Saturday 14th September.

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