General Discussion Triathlon Talk » How can bike INTERVALS help? - MY SPRINT GOAL IS 1:20! Rss Feed  
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2019-12-10 10:24 AM

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Subject: How can bike INTERVALS help? - MY SPRINT GOAL IS 1:20!
14 weeks from now I hope to better my time on a local triathlon course by 3 minutes to just under 1:20. I'm 62, intermediate fitness (VO2max=49), I have 8 hrs for all training per week. I am a decent swimmer, good runner, but a mediocre cyclist. I did my 1:23:04 in March of 2018 and I had to skip this year's Tri in March due to a back muscle(s) strain of Dec 2018. The back strain is hardly an issue now but other strains have come and gone (calf, groin) I suppose like they do for all in their 60's who don't train properly though I try.

When I did my 1:23 I did my bike leg so hard (2 killer hills) I was dead for the 5k and ran a 26:45. On paper, if I match my 5k-only-PR of 23:30 I will be under 1:20. Or I can shave 3' off my bike time. The swim will take me 6:50 give or take 0:10 - the pool lane is just too crowded to count on a faster time so sprinting there is not worth it or feasible.

So it boils down to me being a better cyclist - either with a better bike time or with the same time but in better condition to start the run OR a combination of the two.

I believe a big consideration is the cycling topography of this race: 0.5 mile after mounting there is a 400ft climb @ 6-8%, then down the backside of that hill and 2 miles later a 260ft climb @ 8%, then downhill, then flat for a ride distance of 12.7 miles. I think I will need to do 20-21 mph for the last 4 miles (all flat). My previous race effort was flawed because going 20+mph over the last 4 miles debilitated my run.

I think the biggest training improvement I can do is to add structured intervals on the bike. How many minutes hard, how many minutes easy? How many times per week? How hard is hard? I need both flat and hill intervals because the hill is far away and I can only do it occasionally. I have a Garmin 935 and an Edge 520 but a power meter is tough to justify.

How many days per week should I cycle even if some of them are non-intense? It's easy to do 30 minutes every morning if this can be helpful. TIA.

2019-12-10 1:00 PM
in reply to: #5264602

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Subject: RE: How can bike INTERVALS help? - MY SPRINT GOAL IS 1:20!

I will typically ride 3-4x a week during a triathlon build. Keep in mind that I mostly race the 70.3 distance, though I think the principles apply regardless of race distance. I typically do the following bike workouts:

First is the long ride. This is for general endurance. Find the groove and ride. 90-120 minutes is plenty for a sprint distance I would think. I mix in some high cadence sets just to mix it up. I typically try to stay in Z2 heart rate for this.

Next, I like to add in big gear, low cadence intervals to build muscle strength once a week. I’ll typically start with 4x5 minutes with 5 minutes rest and then build to something like 4x10 minutes. Put your bike in the hardest gear you can and focus on a cadence of 45-55 RPM. This will be invaluable based on the elevation you’re talking about for your race.

Third is a sweet spot session/interval session. I favor the sweet spot session during my triathlon build as it allows me to recover more readily. I do more all out intervals in the off-season to build up my FTP before hitting the structured triathlon plan. If you have zwift, zwift races are a good way to get into some all out FTP riding. I typically shoot for 2x20 minute or 3x15 minute sweet spot intervals with around 5-7 minute recovery.

If I have room to squeeze in a 4th session, it can vary based on how I’m feeling and if I feel I’m struggling in a certain area of my bike fitness. It’s typically an easy ride with some cadence drills.

This is a really good video with some charts on how different training stimuli affect you and your recovery. It helped me structure my week along with some books and help from the forums.

In triathlon, bike fitness goes a long way in how you run, as you found out. Keep doing the long rides to keep your aerobic base covered. Get some big gear, strengthening sessions mixed in as well as some sweet spot intervals and I think you’ll run a lot better off the bike. Good luck, hope this is helpful!

2019-12-10 3:28 PM
in reply to: lombardi3g

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McAlester, Oklahoma
Subject: RE: How can bike INTERVALS help? - MY SPRINT GOAL IS 1:20!

If you don't run well you went too hard on the bike. 

So you need to ease up on the bike and get through the hills without overdoing things. It sounds like pacing the bike on the hills will help without changing anything else, but improving your bike fitness sound like a good place to focus your training.

If you are looking for a structured workout trying doing  4x8min intervals at your race pace with 4min easy between intervals. Plan to do that workout at least once per week possibly twice a week with a total of 3 bike workouts a week.  In the other 1-2 bike seasons, you can do different types of intervals or endurance rides. 

Your race pace for a sprint should be right at the point of breathing hard. If you are breathing hard dial back slightly to get your breathing under control but don't dial back too much.  Do you have a Heart Rate Monitor?  I don't have a power meter either and use my HRM outdoors on the bike and pay attention to where I start to breath hard so that I can stay a few 1-2 beats per minute under that effort for the full 8 minutes and not slide to 10-15 BPM under that through the 8 minutes. If also helps me get back to the right effort for every interval after that after I have found the effort.  If you are paying attention to your breathing or to an HRM then you can try climbing hills to mimic what you will see on the race so you know what gear you need and hao much you need to easy up so that you don't go push your HR higher than your limit or so that you don't start to breathe hard. 

The 4x8 is a scientific workout this is supposed to be the most productive intervals. You should see a lot of progress if you do them consistently. The trick for you will just be to dial into the right effort.  Start with 5-15 minutes easy before you do the intervals.  During that warm-up, you can do a few short 10-30 sec intervals that are harder than your race pace to open up the lungs and flood the legs so they are ready for the main set of intervals. The 10-30 second sprints are optional though.

Good luck.   

2019-12-11 6:25 AM
in reply to: lombardi3g

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Extreme Veteran
Subject: RE: How can bike INTERVALS help? - MY SPRINT GOAL IS 1:20!

There is a plan somewhere on this site called Jorge's winter plan. It may have been renamed, maybe someone can point you to it.

Maybe someone knows exactly where it is

It is based on HR or Power.

Do that !!! It is a great plan for beginners.
2019-12-11 8:29 AM
in reply to: marcag

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Overland Park, KS
Subject: RE: How can bike INTERVALS help? - MY SPRINT GOAL IS 1:20!
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