Cycling Time Trialing - Top 10 Tips

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Cycling Time Trialing - Top 10 Tips

With the Time Trial Champs coming up this weekend and with Time Trialing being a Triathlon Discipline, here are some tips to improve your TT times


1. Make sure you Warm up hard enough: More than just an easy spin, you need to push into your TT pace for 3 to 4 mins to switch on your TT energy systems. Repeat 2 to 3 times with an easy 2 min spin between.  As a general rule: The shorter the event the longer and harder the warm-up should be.

2. Don’t Start too hard: This is probably the most common mistake riders make during time trials. It can also be one that causes a significant amount of time loss. Work into the effort over the first minutes of the event.

3. Don’t change equipment or position close to race day: Train with the position and equipment you intend to race with. Have the final adjustments made at least several training sessions before the event.

4. Optimize your cadence during the event: Race with a comfortable cadence that you've been training with. Find the sweet spot between Gear and Cadence based on your race day fitness. Avoid cooking your heart rate with high cadence or cooking your legs by slogging too big a gear

5. Complete your warm up (see 1.) close to your start time Within 10 minutes is optimum. Make all the necessary preparations before so you can go right from your warm-up to the start line.

6. Allowing split times to mentally affect your effort: Concentrate on consistent effort and the rest will take care of itself. The very best riders will often ride negative splits and not let competitors' fast early split times affect their personal pacing strategies.

7. Start your final hard push or Lift early enough to make a difference to your time: The goal is to use every bit of energy you have and leave it all out on the course to get the best possible time. Learn when you can "open up the throttles" and sustain maximum effort to the finish. For a 36 K 3 loop TT I will try and lift over the last 12 to 15 Km.

8. Feel is better than numbers: Power meters, heart rate monitors and cycling computers are all amazing tools that give us feedback about our performance. Don't allow the numbers they give to rule your riding completely. Learn what different heart rates and power outputs feel like. Do some of your interval training on perceived effort alone. Cover up the numbers on your monitors, go by feel and then look at the data later to see how close your estimates were.

9. Prepare properly by training at you Lactate Threshold Training at or near this important point is essential to develop time trial fitness. Repeats of 4 to 8 mins at TT pace depending on fitness with 2 mins easy between.

10. Learn to subtly tweak your pedal stroke: try this while out training – every alternate 6 pedal strokes, subtly apply a little more downward pressure, this will push your speed up by .5 to 1.5 kph without altering your heart rate. You need to have good peddling technique in the first place to execute this.

Preparation  - Interval Training

Assuming you have a good strength/endurance base, Time Trialing calls on us to hold a high effort level over a certain distance, assuming you have a good cycling base then the next step is training your body’s ability to hold a high effort level longer. There are different thoughts on this however in simple terms, we recommend 4-minute intervals at maximal effort with 2 mins easy to follow, repeat 6 to 8 times.

These should be on flat roads with no stops or traffic lights. Over time, the interval time can be extended to 6 mins or 8 mins with 2 mins easy. Session frequency, once or twice a week

Buying Speed –Time Savings spreadsheet
(The won’t help if your not fit BTW) List courtesy of

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