Texas Triathlon Camp, Part III

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Joe Friel, Bike Technique & Training (Physiology)

*Note, all material taken directly from notes taken, no material is reproduced.


When you are not rested or giving yourself enough time to recover, you will lose fitness.  You should maintain your consistency and frequency, but use different levels of intensity – you can’t do interval training everyday and expect to get better; an interval session will require you to rest, not necessarily taking a day off, but taking a long, slow run or swim or bike instead of one filled with intensity.


Fitness results from the following:


Increased Aerobic Capacity – how much Oxygen you can process. 


  • This is largely genetic and cannot be controlled.

  • You can increase this with lots of volume in your training and by doing intervals (3 min hard, 3 min recovery)

  • 3-6 years of focused training will get you to your maximum level.


Elevate Lactate Threshold – improve how your body processes lactate.


  • You can train the body to deal with lactate.

  • Train just above zone 5 doing longer intervals with short recoveries (6/2).   These intervals will not be as hard as those in aerobic training.

  • Most of your time spent on improvement should focus here.


Economy – Being efficient, do the same work with less fuel.


  • Work on Technique in events

  • Easiest way to improve performance.



Ways to improve your economy include:  lowering your body weight, lowering your psychological stress, more aerodynamic equipment, more aerodynamic use of your body position, eliminating useless, energy-wasting movement.


Pedaling Mechanics – at the top of your cycle, be pushing forward with the foot, not down.  At the bottom of the cycle, be pushing backwards, not straight down.  On the down stroke, you apply force.  At the bottom transition, ‘scrape the mud off your shoes’.  On the upstroke, take all weight off the pedal.  At the top transition, push your foot forward into your shoe.  Focus on one of these (top or bottom transition) as you cycle in order to improve mechanics.  Also, in most instances, your heel should be slightly raised.


Ways to refine pedaling skills – Fixed gear riding, spinning classes, Single Leg Training, computrainers, Mountain Biking on hilly trails (this will force you to keep even, steady tension on the chain so you don’t spin out), spin-up drill (go from normal cadence increasing in speed until you are bouncing in the saddle; reduce cadence to the point that bouncing stops, and maintain that pace as long as possible).


For climbing, use the following rule of thumb:

Divide your mass (weight) by your height in inches.

If this number is 2 or less, you should stand for climbing.

If this number is 2.4-2.5, you should sit for climbing.

If this number is between 2 – 2.3, you may go back and forth.

If the number is greater than 2.5, you will always sit, unless you are changing muscle groups.


Periodization - Joe Friel

There are three basic skills the triathletes seek to train and develop....endurance, force and speed...MORE NEXT MONTH!


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date: September 3, 2004