I have been riding a bike for 26 years since competing in my first triathlon on a mountain bike. Within a month after my first event I purchased a road bike and got connected to a group of guys on the Ann Arbor Michigan cycling team. I had no idea how to train. I often road in the biggest gear and did not have the strength or fitness to keep up in a group ride for more then a minute. When the guys were doing a recovery ride, that was my threshold workout. I learned a lot from them before I moved to Colorado 3 years later. Along with my experience and education, I am grateful they taught me pretty much everything I know and teach today.
Whether you are looking for some late-season bike fitness or planning on how to get faster into a new season, I offer 10 tips below
- Set some SMART GOALS
- Get a bike fit, one of the most important investments you can make in the sport of triathlon or cycling
- Start with, or redo a bike fitness assessment to determine your current level of fitness and to set your heart rate and power zones. If you don’t have that baseline assessment, it is difficult to know what you are capable of and “if you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.” The most accurate way to determine your zones is to be tested every 6-8 weeks as your fitness changes with training. Train with your heart rate monitor or power meter based on the zones you just determined, as well as rate of effort, RPE.
- Keep a training log
- Perform weekly cycling drills on your racing bike to become more efficient, focus on your pedal stroke and cadence. Learning proper technique provides the foundation to improve your endurance, strength and power
- Follow a progressive training approach, and mix up your weekly training with speed and recovery workouts, skills and drills, endurance, tempo, threshold and speed workouts. Build technique and endurance, add low cadence strength work, whether on hills or flats, do increasingly longer intervals where you get your turnover down to the 60-70 rpm range. Once you force your legs to handle that higher load, then you can work on power and turning that higher wattage/effort over faster/at higher RPMs and effort. Stay out of the gray zone. Riding moderately hard while preparing for an event is only going to allow you to ride moderately hard in the event.
- Perform race pace interval training during the build phase of your training plan. Your body needs to know what race pace feels like, so train for it, then race it you liked you trained it.
- Train alone so you can focus on your pace based on your fitness. Training alone also allows to manage your thoughts. I guarantee you will have some negative thoughts during training and while racing, we all do. Training alone, as I say, I like to train with me, myself and I, will help you manage your thoughts, not distracted by others around you.
- Take recovery seriously. Most of the benefit from a hard workout comes from the recovery.
- Keep it social once in a while. Go on group rides with people who are slightly faster than you can jump start your fitness and motivation.
If you have any tips or questions, please join our t2Endurance Facebook group or leave us a voicemail from your desktop, laptop or mobile device
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