Train to run a faster TT while maintaining your swim and run speed, says coach Phil Mosley.
Image: British Triathlon
Cycle time trials are a brilliant way of improving your bike speed for triathlon. You don’t need to be an expert to take part. Most cycling clubs (and some tri clubs) organise regular that can be entered on the line for a couple of quid. The most common are mid-week club TTs, which are usually 10 miles in length and will take you anything from 19 to 39 minutes to complete. It’s just you against the clock.
The beauty of time trials is that they force you to ride at a steady state, at or above your lactate threshold. This is a particularly potent way of training your body to adapt to riding faster during a triathlon.
So we’ve devised this six-week triathlon training plan to help you ride your first (or fastest) 10-mile or 15km cycle time trial. It’ll also help you maintain or improve your swim and run speed. It is most suitable for anyone training for a sprint or Olympic distance triathlon, although it would work well as a “speed work period” for longer distance events.
It involves three rides per week, two of which are fairly hard (but short), plus a longer steady ride at the weekends. It’s more practical to do the mid-week workouts on a static bike or indoor trainer, but not essential. Once you start time-trialling you could replace one of the mid-week rides with a time-trial.
Before you get started, you need to get your head around the workout intensities and descriptions – read the key and training zones, left. To use the heart rates you’ll need an idea of your maximum heart rate. If you don’t know it, use your peak heart-rate – which is the highest you’ve seen it in the last year. Sessions like run-reps or hill repeats tend to elicit this figure the best. It’s also worth knowing that your bike and run heart rates may be slightly differently. Most commonly, run heart rates are 5-10 beats higher than bike heart rates.
All swim sessions are prescribed in terms of perceived exertion, again, using the Training Zones table below. However, you’ll improve quicker if you attend coached group swim sessions, rather than the solo sets we have provided.
IS THIS PLAN FOR YOU?
Goal: Ride a fast 15km time trial
Timescale: 6 weeks
Start point: swim 400m (non-stop), cycle 1hr 30mins, run 40mins