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I'm six months after a double ankle joint fusion surgery. Both my surgeon and my physio have suggested cycling. I have a wind trainer and have plinked my road bike on it and being working on my strength now for about four weeks. I'm up to 35 minutes about fives times a week. I am permitted to go onto the roads, but am still a little reluctant and am staying at home, inside, for the moment. Plan to venture outside in the next week or so.

In November I would like to do the Source to Sea race in New Zealand--it's a 120 km road race. I'm not too worried about racing, but I would like to complete it (it has a nine hour time limit). I have never cycled that far, ever. After five months on crutches, I'm not so fit, but I was a very active person doing swimming and rock climbing. I'm 5'6", and about 125 pounds. I was hoping for training tips and help. Thanks in advance.

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Welcome to Bicycles SE. Unfortunately, this type of question doesn't really fit into the Stack Exchange Q&A format very well. See the faq for the types of questions that work well on this site. – jimirings Apr 21 '13 at 0:27
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Welcome from a fellow Kiwi - love that area of the country. It should be a great ride - nearly all down hill and relatively flat, however keep in mind the short winter days make it difficult sticking to training schedules......

Between now an November you have heaps of time to get fit enough for the event. It's 160km for the full event - more than big enough to be a challenge - 9 hours is a pretty generous cut off time, - especially given the 600 vertical meter overall descent. The top riders are finishing around 4 hours, so if you can make half their speed you still have time up your sleeve.

If I was in your shoes, I would start by pushing your training time out (preferably on the road, but wind trainer is OK to start with), until you can do 1 hour comfortable. I would use a heart rate monitor if doing indoor training to keep me honest. Outdoor I find it useful but not essential.

I would drop to no more than 3 days a week (With 1 day between - never back to back days). Once you have comfortably gone an hour, something like

Day 1 - Long ride - 5-10% longer each week, slower than race pace Day 3 - Medium ride - 70-80% of above, slower than race pace Day 5 - 30% of above at faster than race pace / sprints / interval training.

Optional - Only if feeling good and drop the instant you have any symptoms of over training Day 2 - Nothing. Day 4 - Very slow, easy ride. Day 6 - Very slow, easy ride Day 7 - Very fast, short ride or sprints- no more than 1/2 hour - ONLY of feeling really good.

The one key ride is the Day 1 - long slow distance. I would aim to be getting it to 140km about 3-4 weeks out from event. If you (honestly) aren't feeling up to it, don't train - over training is your worst enemy. You will drop training rides - it's OK. If you have more than 2 weeks layoff, then you will need to go back a few weeks and built up from there, otherwise, it won't hurt to miss a few, and will do more harm than good if you try to "make up" for it.

There is lots of plans an information out there - read up on a couple and cherry pick what suits you. Be very aware there is a lot of pop-science behind many of these "plans" - base on extrapolating the results seeing a .0001% performance improvement in an elite athlete and then applying that to "You will go faster if you......." Essentially read up on our own Arthur Lydiard - his work in the 60's is the foundation of most training schedules today.

It's essential to build endurance, then build speed.....

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Thank you so much! – Jennifer Arai Apr 24 '13 at 3:41

There are lots of different views on how to train, but you've got plenty of time, so there's no need to find the "optimal" scheme -- you just want what works for you.

I would encourage you to get out on the road as soon as you can (dunno what your weather issues might be). A trainer does not have enough of a varying load/pace (even if it's programmable) to really challenge your muscles, plus it's incredibly boring.

And you need to build up your time/distance -- not all at once, but by September you should be doing moderately paced 4-hour rides maybe every two weeks. You don't need to train for the full 120km, but should be able to do maybe 80km without incredible discomfort. On "race" day you can let adrenaline carry you the last 40km.

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Thanks so much. – Jennifer Arai Apr 24 '13 at 3:42

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