Bike Training

11 Aug

So this was a response I wrote to a question on our forum. The rider in question has finished an Ironman  typically has a good swim and run but is passed a lot on his bike leg. Looking at his splits his bike is indeed his weakest leg. He rides 3 time a week. 2 x 15 miles on turbo or road with a longer ride at the weekend of 45 – 50 miles. Typically averages around 15 – 16 mph and a bit faster in races though that could be atributed to switching from a road to a TT bike. So read on to see what I to say.

As Matt says just riding more does work! But if you’re time limited and you’re currently then to get faster you need to do one (and preferably both of two things) learn to hurt more, and start putting in some intensity into your riding. If you spend most of your time at 15-16mph then you’ll race at around that speed too.

Here’s the reality, there is no difference between riding fast on the flat and riding up hills. Both are a question of applying an appropriate force to an appropiate gear. This is of course only true for seated climbing.

Gym work might serve to help prevent injuries and help your peak sprint power but the force we apply to a pedal is of an order of magnitude less than the force we apply in the gym. You would be quite capable of applying the same force as Fabian Cancellara he can just do it for longer. So any time you would devote to getting faster on the bike in the Gym would be better served getting faster on the bike, on the bike!

I can let you know what has worked for me over the last couple of years.

Over the winter months (Nov – Mar) I focus mainly on indoor sessions with a ride out at the weekend.

Session 1: Skills and Drills. This was mainly on Rollers and consisted of single leg drills, and both legs working on a a range of cadences on the bike, This effectively was an interval session but the intensity was faitly low. The rollers helped immensly with bike handling and core stability.

Session 2: Hills. Could be done outside but I mainly did this at the TFN spin session that I led and on a turbo due to the light. Set of high force / low cadence intervals building specific leg strength and learning to hurt. These were done at around 25m TT / standard bike leg / Z3 / 1/2 IM intensity.

Good sessions are in:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Workouts-Binder-….3049353&s r=1-1

Session 3: Longer ride outside. On a Rolling course with friends. intensity down and go for time in the saddle. You’re looking for time in the saddle rather than specific mileage. But this would still be at Z2 / IM / Aerobic pace with a bit more intensity on the hills.

Other good sessions might be watching and following the spinervals or Sufferfest series of bike workout videos! Getting an MTB or cross bike and doing some off road work. Anything that raises the heart rate a bit and gets you out of a comfort zone would be good. And most importantly it’s meant to be fun!

Once the light got better I simply swithched out the skill session for a weekly 10 mile TT. These are probably the single best session you can do. 20+ minutes of high intensity is receoverable from on a weekly basis. As it’s against the clock then you can push yourself, it’s on your race bike so you get practise on that. And you learn to hurt. As my mates are now bored of hearing from me ‘ If you haven’t seen Elvis you haven’t gone hard enough!’.

Doing the odd 25M and 50M TT at the weekend during the season would also be good.

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