Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Triathlon Training - How to Ride Long

In this article, I will share some ideas about how to approach the most important training session of your week -- the long ride.

To start I asked Coach KP, for his thoughts on long rides. He came back with some good advice.

  • Know what you want to accomplish (today and tomorrow) before you leave;
  • Fuel and hydrate appropriately for what you want to accomplish; and
  • Be able to finish strongly over the second half or so that you are able to choose your efforts rather than have them dictated to you via fatigue.

Train like you want to race, finish strong.

If you only remember the three points above then that's enough. What follows are some additional thoughts that get into the logic behind the key cycling workouts that I have included in the program.

A summary of the key limiters we face in long course racing:

1. Cycling endurance
2. Recovery
3. Muscular Endurance Overall
4. Flat TT strength

With this in mind, if you have extra time and energy then you are nearly always best served by riding more often, or longer. Wen you consider periods of sport-specific overload, always start with the bike. It is the safest place to extend your endurance and it provides the biggest return with your racing.

Athletes that live in hilly, or mountainous, terrain must make time to work on their flat TT skills. Long steady state main sets on flat terrain (TT position) are an essential part of long course training often overlooked. Aim for even paced riding on the aerobars. Your optimal bike position is what is comfortable after 4-6 hours of steady riding on the aerobars.

Comfort is speed.

IM Canada Specific Long Ride...

Main Sets in Order
40 mins steady
Long climb, steady
40 mins steady
Big gear session

Those main sets should be placed inside a long ride -- remember that you will be wise to step DOWN from your best training performance on race day.

For a race like Lake Placid, you would want to substitute rolling hills for the long climb. For any Ironman course, I see merit in finishing with a big gear session.

The Classic Race Simulation Ride

You want to make your Race Sim rides as close as possible to the conditions (terrain, weather) that you will face on race day.

5.5 hours as 1/3rd easy, 1/3rd steady (goal IM effort), 1/3rd slightly over steady -- odds are you will over-estimate your steady ability. Run 2-3 miles off the bike as a reality check -- are you ready to run a marathon?

A few weeks later repeat with a more moderate definition of steady (most likely -- just repeat if you got it right!). Second time use 60/60/60 (kilometers) instead of time.

Have an honest assessment of what you can tolerate on the bike and be able to run WELL for the ENTIRE marathon.

While you are riding, it is normal to look at average speed and try to calculate your bike split. I highly recommend that you relieve yourself of time goals for IM -- we have zero idea what will happen when we go that long. Enjoy the experience, focus on the correct effort level and let the time take care of itself.

To ensure that you have enough energy for your key sessions, at least half of your run volume should be easy pace or slower. Your most challenging run is your long run -- challenge yourself with steady endurance, not fast pacing.

When faced with a choice between running more often and running longer... run more often.

If you are new to cycling, over 35, or female then I recommend strength training. There is a huge difference between 1 session a week and nothing.

Remember to have fun and not to take it too seriously -- we are (after all) simply swim/bike/running around in circles!


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