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Ask Levi: How Do I Increase Mileage for a Big Ride?

Today’s question is about increasing mileage and adjusting your on-bike fueling to match the new distance…

Hi Levi,

Thank you for your email, I am finding your site interesting and informative. Perhaps you can give me some advice?. I am 63 and ride 30-40 miles four times a week, then swim on a couple of the other days. What I would like to do is a 60 Mile trip. How do I go about adding the additional mileage?. I eat bananas, jelly babies (do you have these in the U.S.?) and M&M’s as on the road top up fuel, are these OK?

thanks for your help.

Hi J.B.,

Thanks for reading! It sounds like you’re in good shape and putting in some good mileage each week! Based on the email, I don’t think you’ll have too much difficulty adding the mileage.

Here’s how I would do it…

First, let’s say you ride 150 miles per week on average. I would keep that about the same. Rather than add total mileage, we’re going to allocate your current mileage a little differently.

I would take three of your rides and limit them to 20-30 miles. Then your fourth weekly ride can be longer. You might even bump your long ride up to 50 miles one week and 60 miles the next. Or you could take gradual steps and go to 45, then 50, then 55, and then 60. Depends how comfortable you feel each week.

Since your weekly training volume will stay the same, the overall impact on your training lifestyle should be minimal.

As for ride fuel, it’s sort of a personal thing. If bananas, jelly babies, and M&M’s are working for you on 40 mile rides, they could probably work for you on a 60 mile ride. The problem is that those foods are mainly simple sugars, especially if you go heavy on the candy. Your body might get sick of that over the course of 60 miles. You might feel better and have more consistent energy levels over the course of the ride if you add in some complex carbohydrate sources, which could be as simple as some sort of energy bar or a granola bar full of oats.

Good luck!

[For everyone else in the US that isn’t quite sure what jelly babies are… I think of them as a cross between jelly beans and Sour Patch Kids. They are like a semi-soft jelly bean and they’re shaped like babies or little kids.]
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coach levi
Hi, I'm Coach Levi. I'm a USA Cycling Certified Level 3 Coach as well as Level 1 Certified with Precision Nutrition. Want to feel better, ride faster, and look great? Let's work together!

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Coach Levi is my favorite child and favorite cycling coach. I'd choose him over Christoper McCarmikael even. Did I mention that Levi can coach you to a healthier lifestyle where you look and feel your best?
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