by the Defence Forces Triathlon Association’s Head Coach, Derek Nugent
Keep the wheels in motion this June with our top cycling training tips;
1. NEVER, EVER STOP PEDALLING. NOT ONCE.
If you stop pedalling, your speed drops. You slow down down, even if its by the smallest amount, which is not what we’re after. There are many factors that lead to this happening such as;
a) poor training or conditioning pre race /ingrained bad habits.
c) poor handling skills/bike confidence, low skill level.
All of these issues and more lead to people stopping to pedal, be it on a bend, or on a flat, its irrelevant. The only simple solution is to fix this issue by pedalling properly at all times, smoothly, evenly and in the appropriate gear for the course. Start visualising that every time you stop pedalling I’m watching, and I’m pretty annoyed that your ignoring my advice (le joke:P). We as cyclists know when the time to stop pedalling is, which is quite simply, never…
2. USE A HIGH CADENCE. 80-100
BIKE SPEED=CADENCExGEAR SIZE!!!
Cadence refers to how many times you turn the pedals in a given minute. Aim for a high, spinning cadence as this will mean your spinning and not straining and will also get your legs ready to “spin” once you get off the bike to start the run! If you can afford one you could get a cadence computer, if you don’t have one then simply count any foots pedal stroke for 15 seconds and multiple by 4, with 90 being the magic number, because when we push low cadence or harder gears, we basically put a lot of strain on our knees and hips, but don’t get anywhere fast.
There is a happy medium and it’s 90, so get used to what it feels like and start pedalling at that cadence. Think of it as a spin rather than a push. Think also of this image, the one where your driving up a moderately sharp hill in town and you see a person on a mountain bike straining impossibly as they attempt to push the biggest gear they have up the hill??? About to almost fall off the bike in their poorly trained cadence of >60???
Well, that’s what I see every time I see someone pushing anything less than the appropriate cadence. Shifting the effort towards the aerobic side of the house and away from the muscularly straining side of the house will free you up energy wise, but most importantly there is this… When you get of the bike you need to run, and running is every bit as reliant on cadence as cycling is…if you cycle slowly, which is what a slow cadence really equates to, then your legs are going to be stuck in “60-75″ cadence which will not get you that PB. You ride sluggish, you run sluggish. Fix this by looking for an average cadence of 90, MINIMUM! ( in the late 90′s the Germans were all about lower cadences, but one Mr. L. Armstrong showed the world the benifit of a 90+ cadence….)
3. IF AEROBARS ARE FITTED, STAY ON THEM, OTHERWISE STAY ON THE DROPS.
Having aero bars, aero bikes and aero wheels is only an advantage if you stay (STAYING AERO, IN POSITION/PEDALLING) on them throughout the entire bike section of the race. You shouldn’t need to come off them at all, (except at the worst of corners, and we only have few in Athlone!) This goes for one and all. If your not staying down on the aerobars (or on the dropped parts of your regular handlebars!) you are not going to get that aero advantage. This said, it’s not so important for your first event however good habits started early will last a lifetime so lets try and train on the drops and be as aero as we can!
I really don’t have too much to say about handling a bike because this is really down to the individuals confidence and personal skill level and this varies. Well I do, but not for today. But remember, the biggest block holding most individuals back when they ride a bike is the rider themselves and not the bike, provided it is serviceable.
In my role as a coach, I see the full spectrum of cycling abilities, but more than anything its highlighted that riding a bike will only get you up to a certain level. You will need to ride in a group to bring you up that bit more, as the skill level will be considerably higher. that said, and being a local Athlone man I would have to recommend the Shannonside Cycling Club and also the Athlone Triathlon Club for people training locally on the TriAthlones beautiful race course.
Triathlon Ireland is your next stop for your local club. To finish, it is the responsibility of each rider to know how his/her equipment handles and to fully explore this. Some corners that were inconceivably difficult, or perceived so when on the bike became very negotiable post race. This would be a wee bit too late though, methinks…
So in conclusion, always pedal, never stop, high cadence at all times, stay aero to save time or don’t bother and remember, it’s your bike, so know how to handle it in all conditions.
P.S Wear glasses/sunglasses, not only will they make you look cool (or not:P) they will protect your eyes on these “Summer” days from bugs! You’ll thank me for this at some stage, cheers…
Week 5: Medium effort week.
- Monday Rest
- Tuesday 30min Z2 swim
- Wednesday A.M Bike Z1 P.M Run Z2
- Thursday A.M 25min Z1 swim P.M Gym (S&T)
- Friday Rest
- Saturday (Brick) Bike 25min Z1 then run straight of bike 20mins Z1
- Sunday Rest