In any given week, a triathlete will need to work out on the swim, the bike, and the run. This is a given and will need to be a regular practice of any individual desiring to succeed in triathlon. You can not ignore a certain discipline and expect to get better at it. However, you might think that all you need to do is get out and run some given distance at a certain pace, or swim a certain number of laps over a certain amount of time, or bike a certain distance. This can lead you to some better fitness, but you will need to get more specific in your training to extremely get better at triathlon and each of the disciples. In this post, we will discuss the finer art of your bicycling workout days. Click on the following, if you want more information on swimming workouts or running workouts.
The bicycle portion of the triathlon is in the middle of the three disciples. If you exert too much energy during this portion of the race then you will not have enough to finish the race. If you do not exert enough during this portion of the race, you could find yourself at the back of the pack. The bicycle portion of any race is the longest portion so this discipline needs to include both strength and endurance. You also need to work on the different terrain you will find in any given triathlon race.
The types of bicycling workouts vary based upon indoor cycling or outdoor cycling. If you are riding on a trainer indoors then you will need to base your workouts on your heart rate much more than speed. I feel that if you can get outside to do your workouts you will be more experienced in going over varying territory such as rolling hills or even steady climbs. However, during much of the year the weather may not be suitable to train in this way, so you will need to have a good workout for indoor cycling.
I would suggest using the Spinervals workouts to get good workouts for indoors. These workouts done by video will push you in your indoor cycling workouts.
Now, what kind of workouts should you include in your regular bicycling workouts. One workout you will need will be an endurance ride. These rides are typically rides where you try to put all of your training together to go farther, faster. You will want to select a route where you can ride a long distance, longer than you have slipped in the other parts of your training. You will want to maintain a steady pace and keep your heart rate low. These rides will help your body be able to handle the long distance of the triathlon and still have energy left for the run. You will want to make sure that you can push yourself while keeping good form and a steady pace.
Another type of workout is the interval workout. These workouts are easiest to complete on flat roads or on a trainer. These rides will consist of a warm-up, then a series of taking your heart rate to its maximum and then returning to a steady pace. You need to be able to have a long enough interval to where you are exhausted. I have found one particular interval workout is to take my heart rate over my VO2 threshold for three minutes, then return under the threshold for 2 minutes then back over for three and then back under. Do 3-5 of these sets. These interval workouts should push your ability to accelerate when on the bike.
Another workout is to set a time or distance and maintain a race pace. Try to extend your time or distance in each subsequent workout. These should be hard workouts that will enable your body to increase its strength and endurance while in a race situation.
You also need some strength workouts. These workouts are easier to perform in a mountainous area like where I live close to Asheville as opposed to where I used to live in Florida. In a mountainous area you ride comfortably in a warm up and then attack a long steady climb. These climbs will help to build strength in your legs and calves. If you live in a flat area, you may try to find at least a bridge or some hill to repeat these climbs as many times as you need. There is nothing like building strength on the bike then to actually ride the bike while building strength. You can complete these workouts on an indoor cycling machine by increasing the resistance and putting your gear in the largest gear of upfront and the smallest in the back. You can complete these as an interval called a Power Interval where you press the pedals requiring more strength than normal.
Tomorrowmore, you will want to have some workouts that are based upon the speed of your cadence. You need to be able to pedal as fast as you can while staying comfortable in the saddle. You will do this on a flat road, a decline, or on a cycling trainer inside. You will want to make the pressure needed for the pedals as light as possible and go for as fast as you can. This will help you to build the ability to pedal faster while keeping the pressure off of your legs.
Lastly, you will need some "brick" workouts. These workouts involve riding your bike for a given distance and time. You then dismount and run for a set time to get the feeling of having to run after cycling. These types of workouts are best done towards the end of a training cycle where you are then going to race.
There are a myriad of workouts you can find to help you be a better cyclists. As someone who struggles in my races in this area, I am constantly trying to build strength and endurance while always knowing I will need to turn off the bike. Work hard on your bike and you will see the results in your races.