Proper training is the key to an enjoyable BP MS 150 experience.  The following training suggestions will help you finish the 180 miles with a smile on your face.  If you need more customized training help, please consult with a BP Wellness Center staff member.

The following training advice is separated into categories: Warm-up/movement preparation, cardiovascular, strength and flexibility training.


Getting your body prepared for action is part of the exercise process. It is a mistake to "jump straight into" full bore exercise without giving your body tissues and nervous system a "heads up" on what is coming next. Proper movement prepwarms the muscles and connective tissue, circulates synovial fluid across the articular cartilage of your joints and gets your brain connected to each muscle group. The result is more efficient, pain free movement which increases performance and reduces wear and tear on your body. It is more than insurance--you can't afford not to do it. Check out your options: Mobility Drills, Dynamic Warm-up (floor) and Dynamic Warm-up  (standing). It is recommended you do them daily, first thing in the morning or at least before a workout--or both.


Onroad cycling

Participating in the weekend training rides is the best way to get comfortable with riding in a large group.  The rides follow a natural progression of mileage as the BP MS 150 gets closer.  Rides are usually offered on Saturday and Sunday.  One long ride per weekend is sufficient.  As the BP MS 150 approaches, choose a weekend to participate in a long ride on Saturday and Sunday.  This will help your body adjust to being in the saddle for two days straight during the BP MS 150.  Must be registered and paid in advance--details will follow. http://www.conocophillipsbikeclub.org/


Offroad cycling

The stationary bike (upright) is an excellent way to log saddle time during the week.  The following guide will help shape your off road cycling program.  We highly recommend using a heart rate monitor while training.  Using a heart rate monitor can be an excellent way to insure you are training hard enough to get optimal benefits from your sessions. It is also a way to gauge your intensity on a ride so you do not run out of gas before the end.

 Without getting into a lengthy discussion of exercise physiology (with regard to heart rate and training zones), here are some quick prediction formulas to aid you in figuring out your maximum heart rate (MHR) and training zones: 

MHR for a relatively untrained person: 

220 – age (__________) = MHR __________


 MHR for an active person:

 205 – ½ age (_________) = MHR __________

 Once you have your MHR, calculate some heart rate training percentages (percentages of your MHR that is) and write them into the appropriate box below:




















Fundamental training advice would be to plan on doing your long rides in the 75-80% range. Without getting too fancy, your stationary cycling workouts during the week should be anywhere from 30-60 minutes long, 70-90%. The shorter the workout, the higher your intensities, the longer the workout, the lower the intensity. If you are going to cycle everyday, however, you would want to have some lower intensity 65-70% recovery workouts between the higher intensity sessions. A training week would look something like this:



 A more detailed program (including use of the Karvonen formula) can be set up for you by a member of the Wellness Center Staff as well as a more detailed explanation of heart rate training.

Use this Cardio Program Design article and the Cardio worksheets Endurance Cardio Training Sheet , Advanced Training Sheet  and Speed Cardio Training Sheet  to track your workouts and get a better handle on interval training.

Spinning classes are also a great way to get in some cycling during the week.  Many places offer different training profiles such as strength rides or endurance rides.  The Wellness Center will be offering "spinning like" classes in our own 20 bike studio.

 Strength Training

Strength Training is essential in any training program.  Cycling is no exception.  Why?  The upper body, including the core muscles (abs and back), is an integral part of the pedal stroke.  A strong torso provides the stability to deliver maximum power from the legs to the pedal.  Muscle strength in the quads and legs can mean the difference between walking and riding up a short (10 to 15 pedal stroke) hill.  Also, a strong upper body gives additional protection for those falls that are part of the sport. 

Look at the following cycling strength routine and training tips

 It should be done minimally twice a week. More advanced routines are available. Incorporating strength training into your weekly workout schedule may look something like this:



After a long day on the bike, nothing feels better than a good stretch.  Flexibility can go a long way towards improving your cycling performance.  When stretching, try to pick a time when you are not rushed (I know, don’t laugh). Spending the time to hold your stretches long enough (at least 5 normal breathes) is the key to improving flexibility. Stretching should be done at least 5 times a week. After a workout or home in front of the TV at night are great times to stretch. Include the following stretches in your routine. More stretches and more advanced stretching and assessment techniques are available in the Wellness Center. 


Aches and Pains

A little stiffness and soreness is normal with regular exercise. If you start having more intense pain in and around your muscles or joints, or if you have pain during certain activities--ask a Wellness Center staff member for help. I we can't help you, we will direct you to someone who can. Check out the self-help trigger point guide if something starts to feel sore.


Common Cycling Mistakes

  1. Not eating before a ride. Read A Full Morning.
  2. Pedaling in high gear for long periods.  This can increase the pressure on your knees and lead to overuse injuries.  Shift to lower gears and faster RPM’s.
  3. Incorrect saddle position.  At the bottom of the stroke your knee should be only slightly bent. 
  4. Incorrect handlebar position.  Handlebars should be one inch lower than the top of your seat. Check out Jim Langley's  Bike Fit Checklist for pain symptoms and the corrective adjustments.
  5. Not changing hand and body position frequently.  Being in one position too long will put unnecessary stress on your upper body.
  6. Coasting downhill after a long uphill.  As you climb a hill, lactic acid will build up in your muscles.  By pedaling lightly as you descend, you can help remove the lactic acid. 
  7. Locking your elbows.  Keep your arms relaxed.  This will help you absorb bumps from the road better.
  8. A note about new bikes and equipment: The most important piece of equipment out on the road is you. You are the engine. Before thinking about spending an extra $1000 on a bike that's 10 lbs. lighter--do you need to lose 10-20 lbs. yourself? Focus on getting yourself in shape first, new equipment second.