Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Training for the Wasdale Triathlon Bike

So with Wasdale Triathlon just around the corner I have been busy back on the bike. Within its 90km of cycling it manages to fit in 2200m of ascent with gradients up to 33%. It is without doubt the hardest bike course in the country, if not the world! The run goes straight to the top of Englands highest mountain so needless to say being as strong as possible on the bike is a key aspect to work on in training. I have been hitting the hills hard during my long rides and mixing it up with mountain biking for shorter rides. 20-25mile rolling to hilly TT sessions have also featured strongly in my training. Started to feel strong again this week so a good sign for the race in 12 days time. Much stronger than last year so hoping for a faster bike split and stronger run.
Will post more on the specifics for this one in a futre blog.
I thought this might be a good time to share some of the training I did through the winter to become stronger on the bike. My Celtman split for 2012 was 7hrs.25. This year I clocked 6.11 and had a much stronger run. The training probally payed off. :)
Coming from a mountain running background into triathlon, I always had a strong run from the bike in my first races but noticed the people in front of me were always stronger cyclists. Talking to them and asking questions the answer was clear. In triathlon, being a strong cyclist makes you a stronger runner. The more you can hold back on the bike, but still go fast, the better you will run. This winter I made the effort to become a stronger cyclist, running was put on the back burner and just kept ticking over. I brought a Turbo Trainer and used it, mountain biking improved my handling and got my legs stronger and a steady long ride once a week (3-6hrs) was my priority session.

The great news is, my cycling did improve, but so did my running! Sometimes it pays to put your doubts and worries aside and try a different approach.

Here are a few sessions that helped me to improve. Try them out and see how you get on. Remember with all training, it’s not rocket science; we are just trying to get enough work done in the session to stimulate the body to adapt. I am a big believer in finishing strong and making small consistent gains over a longer time period.

First thing I did was test my fitness-

FTHR test

15-30mins easy warm up, with a few 30-60sec pickups, (just till you notice a change in breathing)

Ride a 30 min TT, after the first 10mins press the lap button on your HR monitor. Your average HR for the last 20mins is your FTHR (functional threshold heart rate). This is what we are going to try and improve.

10-20mins easy warm down

Muscular endurance intervals sessions

15-30mins easy warm up, with a few 30-60sec pickups, (just till you notice a change in breathing)

Week 1

5X3min intervals (1min easy spinning between), building to just below FTHR. Make each one end at a slightly higher HR, like going through the gears.

Week 2

As Week 1 but hold the last interval just above your FTHR.

Week 3

2 sets of Week 1, with 15mins easy spinning between sets

Week 4

2 sets of week 2, with 15mins easy spinning between sets

Week 5

After an easy recovery week, repeat the FTHR test. Hopefully you should see an improvement or at least the test should feel a little easier!

I usually did a short 10-15min run off these sessions at a very easy pace. It really gives that jelly legged feeling of running of the bike in a race. I also found the concentration to hold the interval pace and not drift off transfers well to race situations.

A good progression is to work up to 5min intervals with 1min30 rests. The next progression for me was to start riding longer intervals but at a lower HR (similar to what I would be riding a Half IM), but that’s another session…..

Stay tuned, train smart and be safe!


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