Scan the transition areas at any triathlon event and you’ll see some of the most amazing bikes on the market. But while some age-groupers spare no expense, the majority of a triathlete’s expenditure will still be on our two-wheeled pride and joy, regardless of price.
And there’s good reason for this, as the bike section of any triathlon will make up the majority of the race distance and race time. The 40km bike leg of an Olympic-distance race, for example, makes up 77% of the total distance – if you do a 3hr finish, the bike will likely have taken up half of that. And so it makes complete sense to spend a larger portion of training time on improving your bike prowess.
This eight-week plan is based around training for an Olympic-distance bike leg of a triathlon, but it can also be adapted for a sprint or 70.3 race by either decreasing or increasing the sessions accordingly.
The plan has a slightly greater amount of bike training time in weeks 1, 3, 5 and 7, so this will mean that either a swim or run has been replaced from a standard schedule in order to find these gains. You’re not removing all other forms of training, but in order to build bike power and speed, a short-term eight-week plan can work wonders.
Within this plan, the term RP is used a lot and this refers to your target ‘race pace’ for the 40km distance. So, if you’re aiming to average 30km/h in the race and the session asks for 110% RP, then your target pace is 33km/h.
The nature of the interval sessions within the plan does mean that using an indoor trainer that has the ability to record speed/pace/heart rate or power is more beneficial to the outcome and being able to execute things properly – plus, you still get a chance to ride your prized possession on the weekend. Many triathletes and cyclists use power as the indicator of effort within their training, but as this is an individual decision, we won’t use it in this plan. If you
do choose to use power, you should be able to adjust the sessions to suit you.
Don’t forget to include a warm-up (5-8mins building from easy to vigorous) and cool-down (3-5mins of easy cardio followed by stretches) for each session.