The Busy Mom’s Guide to Century Training

venus de miles training

With The Gunny Girl after a ride. Notice that I didn’t have time to find a hair tie, nor could I find the right sunglasses. Story of my life…running around, too busy!

braveskimom logoEnthusiasm carried me through the first week.

I have never ridden a century, so when I signed up for Venus de Miles Colorado I was, to put it subtly, SUPER STOKED.

I pushed “enter” and got on my bike. During week one, I rode five times, pedaling well over 100 miles and I loved every minute.

Then we went on vacation. When we returned, summer was in full swing and suddenly, between the heat, the wind and my sons’ busy days, I was having a hard time riding even 80 miles a week. 

And while September 29th may seem distant from these long warm July days, any long bike ride demands respect and consistent training.

So what’s a busy mom to do? 

Embrace Technology

In the past, my idea of training was to ride, ride and ride some more. I rode as much as I could to build up leg strength and make sure my seat was ready for several hours in the saddle.

But in a world that runs on apps, there is no excuse not to use technology to enhance your training. 

When it comes to cycling apps, the marketplace is dominated by two apps: Strava and MapMyRide. No matter with whom I talked, these two came up again and again.

map my ride  strava logos

Both apps are free to download, but if you want all of their features, you’ll need to pay extra. While I’ve heard great things about Strava, my husband and brother both use Map My Ride, and we share routes on this app. So that’s were I started.

When I go out, I turn MMR on, put my phone in my pocket and ride. Like my bike computer, MMR tracks my distance, time, average speed and calories. But it also maps where I’ve been, my elevation gain and split times. On some popular routes, it even rewards me with badges (hello, Queen of the Mountain).

I think it’s more accurate than my computer, so now I mostly use the computer for timing intervals and watching the clock.

Busy Mom Benefit:

MMR maintains a list of my workouts with all of this data. No more trying (and failing) to keep a log. It does it for me.

Get a Plan

cooling down cycling

Even when it’s stupid hot, my plan makes me ride.

When I started looking for apps, I hoped to find something similar to the running app “Couch to 5k,” but for a cycling century.

I couldn’t, so I searched the internet and found free, generic training plans based on miles per day, week and target pace. 

I looked through a few of these, notably one available at Most of them provide daily and weekly mileage and steadily increase the weekly totals with a reduction during the last week before the ride. As a basic roadmap, they can point you in the right direction.

Busy Mom Benefit:

These plans are free and they help you plan your training each week.

Take Advantage of FasCat Cycling

training peaks screen shotEven better, as a registered Venus de Miles rider, you can use one of three basic training plans from FasCat Coaching and Performance Center in Boulder. FasCat is a Venus de Miles sponsor, and Nadia Sullivan is a FasCat coach.

If you requested training assistance when you registered for Venus de Miles, you should have received an email from her asking you if you’re a “beginner,” “intermediate” or “advanced” rider. Once you respond, you’ll get a link to your plan which you upload at

A account is free and after you apply your FasCat plan to the calendar you’ll get daily emails telling you what to do. 

Busy Mom Benefit:

The daily emails save time and make your training regimen seamless. No one is going to make you do what they suggest, but you no longer have to think about what to do. I love it (even though I don’t always do it).

venus de miles buttonIn addition to providing these free plans to Venus de Miles riders, FasCat sells similar plans and offers personal training, bike fitting and more.

If you’re super busy and super-motivated to increase your skills and speed, I can totally see how having a coach would help. If nothing else, a live coach makes you accountable. Even better, a coach can design workouts for days when you can’t bike, are injured, or on vacation with no bike available. 


Pedals will start turning in the Venus de Miles ride two months from today! That’s plenty of time to train. You don’t have to ride 100 miles either. There are also 33 and 67 mile options! 

Use this code for a small discount in your registration fee: bccokristen

See you on the road! 

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© 2013, Kristen Lummis. All rights reserved. Any use or publication of content, including photos, requires express permission.


  1. Tricia Williams says

    Thanks Kristen! I needed that! I am riding the Bike MS City to Shore in September and my training has faltered! This will help. Although I am riding at sea level, my legs are not there yet. Can’t wait for today’s ride now! ~ Tricia

  2. says

    One of our Illinois ambassadors, Run with Jess, spent the weekend balancing training with time with the family. How did your weekend ride go?

    • says

      I actually was downhill biking at Bike Snowmass (Colorado) this past weekend! So, not a lot of pedaled miles under my feet. But it was super fun! Back at it today!

  3. says

    I agree using some type of technology (I use Strava) and at least having a training plan available to look at is key. Paying attention to my nutrition has also helped me a lot this year. I had no idea I was eating in the wrong order on rides until recently.

  4. says

    Bars or real food in the first and second hour for long term energy and then the gels or chews. I knew bars were for long rides but I waited until 2 or 3 hours in before I would eat them. You need them early on to sustain you and then the chews or gel to keep you going short term in the final hour(s). I have also been using the Skratch labs hydration mix and it is helping. Basically my energy stays consistent and I am not hungry at the end of rides. I use to devour anything after a ride!