A Triathlete’s Cycling Workout: Fit Check

Follow these tips to get those pedals spinning faster

Last week we featured a world champion triathlete’s two swim workouts. This week, we have a 90-minute bike workout for a beginner or intermediate triathlete.

While a nice bike ride through the city is always pleasant, cycling as much as 112 miles during a triathlon is no walk in the park. Before starting the workout below, read these tips for getting faster on the bike and to be prepared for a triathlon, courtesy of Steve Makranczy and Alex Korab, owners of Transition Triathlon in Leesburg.

1. Ride hills aggressively and often.
Find a hill that takes you about two to five minutes to climb and ride it several times as part of a longer ride.

2. Sign up for a group ride that’s a little bit faster than you.
Most local bike shops and clubs have group rides that break up into groups according to speed.

3. Learn to draft.
If you follow a rider closely at a decent speed you’ll be able to ride up to 30 percent faster with the same effort. Go out with a group ride and tell other cyclists that you’re learning to draft and they’ll help you out.

4. Wear cycling shoes that clip into your pedals. 
Good ones have a sole that’s completely rigid.

5. Pedal in a full circle.
The most efficient pedal stroke is one that exerts force in a circle not just down in the front of the stroke.

6. Get a heart rate monitor and learn how to use it.
By keeping your effort in the correct ranges, you’ll maximize your improvement.

See Also:

A Triathlon Champ’s Swim Workout: Fit Check

The Track Workout: Fit Check

Triathlons in Washington: Why Tri?

Top Triathlon Trainers in Washington

7. Get off the bike trails.
Serious cyclists belong on light traffic rural roads more than on multi-use trails. Roads also have more varied terrain. Be sure to obey all traffic laws and ride single file.

8. Sign up for a race or a big ride like a century.
 Nothing will motivate you like committing to a challenge that you’re afraid you can’t do.

9. Get the right clothing.
Good clothing, shorts in particular, will make you more comfortable and inspire you to get out on your next workout. Cycling clothing can make you comfortable in almost any weather conditions.

10. Do off-season conditioning classes.
Most gyms now offer spinning classes. If you go all winter without riding, you’ll be starting the spring way behind those who rode at least once a week.  Spin classes will keep your muscles in shape when you can’t get on the bike.

A Beginner or Intermediate Triathlete’s Bike Workout
1. Warm-up: Ride for 15 minutes at a steady pace.
2. Get out of the saddle and sprint as fast as you can for 30 seconds. Then sit down and ride as hard as you can for another 30 seconds.
3. Recover by spinning easy for two minutes.
4. Repeat steps two and three five to ten times as your ability allows.
5. Ride the remainder of an hour at a steady pace.
6. Put on your running shoes and run for 30 minutes at a comfortable pace.

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