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Cycling training techniques.

Before i go any further I'd like to say hello to everyone here as I'm new to this forum


I've recently completed my very first season in triathlon and on reflection I'm quite pleased with my progress. I only did sprint triathlons with 400m swims, 22k cycles & 5k runs. My first swim time of the season was 8m32 and in my last race it was down to 6m37. My first tri run time was 24mins and in my last race i ran it in under 20mins for that I'm really chuffed......

BUT...my cycling times haven't really improved!

This is where i need your collective help! Does anyone know of any training techniques that i could try to improve my efficiency and speed ?

I'm open to all suggestions as i really want to hit the ground running next season so to speak.

Bring on the words of wisdom!




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    rpopper65rpopper65 Posts: 171
    Bristol newbie, check out some of the other conversation threads on cycling training, speed training, turbo training, etc. And look out for some training plans and articles on places like www.beginnertriathlete.com .

    It's just that this is such a big - and popular - topic, there is not much point in repeating it all again here in this thread, especially when it's all been said very well before by other very experienced people.
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    Thanks for that, i shall take a look.

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    try these few things

    wind trainer sessions

    increase ur cadience by 20rpm (with the help of a cycle computer)

    increase your volume of riding

    all of things should help you increase ur speed on the bike

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    Hi POTR,

    Thanks for that advice but is wind training sessions? Plus, how would increasing my cadence help?

    Please excuse but I'm fairly new to cycling thus not up with the lingo!


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    rpopper65rpopper65 Posts: 171
    The received wisdom on cadence is that a higher cadence is easier to sustain for longer periods of time, takes less out of your legs on the bike ride and leaves you feeling fresher on the run. You need a bike computer that measures both speed and cadence (doesn't have to be too expensive, I just bought a new Cat Eye Strada Cadence computer, little teeny thing for £35, and the shop installed it for me).

    So, for example, let's say you have a heavy gear on your bike where you can keep a steady speed of 30 kph or so at a cadence of 75-80 rpm or so for a 2 hour bike ride (or so). That might feel like a good speed and pace for you to be going at, but it would be much better for your legs to be going in a lighter gear (maybe just one or two gears easier) where you can keep that same 30 kph speed but at a cadence of around 85-90 rpm for the same duration.

    The other thing is that maintaining a good speed at the higher cadence (in a lighter gear) for a few rides will probably start to feel too easy for you (you might, for example, find yourself reaching cadences of 100-110 or higher on some sections as your legs get stronger). So, when you switch up to a heavier gear, if you pay attention to your cadence, you might find that you quickly build up to a faster steady speed (say, 33-35 kph) at that target average cadence of 85-90 rpm. That's how you can build up your speed in a steady, sustainable way over time, by paying attention to cadence.

    An ideal cadence is probably in the range of 90-100 rpm, but if you factor in hills and slowing down for traffic, then an average of 85-90 rpm seems to be a good target on longer rides. There are no hard and fast rules on cadence that apply to everyone, even though some books make it sounds like there are. I am just using the numbers here as an example and I hope you get the overall gist of the cadence thing. I have found that it has helped my cycling times improve over the last 2 years that I have been paying attention. It takes time to find the zones and numbers that work best for you, but that's why it's a good thing that you are looking into all of this now rather than, say, in March.
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    Thanks for that info it made total sense. Would it be easier to try this on fairly flat ride rather than a hilly up and down ride?
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    rpopper65rpopper65 Posts: 171
    Yeah, doing hills will change the whole estimation of "optimal" cadence pretty dramatically. These target cadences are generally for flat rides or very gradual gradients on roads. I know it can be hard to find a straight, flat road in Bristol (although, in your favor, it is the best hill-training city I have visited so far), but you definitely want to get used to the whole cadence business on flat roads.

    Of course, once you get comfortable with the concept of cadence on a flat stretch, then you can see what happens when you measure your cadence on hills. Some of the basics of hill training are: try to stay in your saddle as long as possible, so shift down to easier gears rather than stand up. Try and maintain good technique for as long as possible (avoid pumping with your hips, shoulders or whole body and see how long you can sit down and drive yourself up the hill with just your legs). Keep your pedaling as even as possible, remembering that as you push down with one foot, you can pull up with the other (if you are using properly adjusted toe clips or cycling shoes attached to the pedals), trying to keep it smooth and even throughout the whole cycle of pedaling.

    Once you've got those techniques down, then look at your cadence on the hills and see what you can do to maintain a high cadence for a long period of time (for me, a high cadence on a hill might be 80-85 rpm, trying my best never to let it drop below 70 rpm, but maybe not on Constitution Hill). In this way, cadence will help you guage your progress on hills for long, steady climbds (as opposed to short sprints or explosive efforts).
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