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Miles or time???

Hi all

2 questions I'd be interested to hear new thoughts on:

Traning - do other triathletes out there tend to use time or distance when training? Any opinions on which method gets better results? I've heard a few people say 'do the time and the miles take care of themselves'....but do they?

Racing - when your riding on a longer race courses (or even on longer training rides), say half Ironman, do people find it psychologically easier to go by distance or time displayed on their bike computers?

Mine doesn't display both, and I can't seem to decide which is best..... wondered how other people do these things.

Let me know what you all think!


  • I always go by time and HR. The miles will increase in the same amount of time as you improve. You should aim to do most of your training in HR Zone 2/3 (fat burn) with 1/2 hard sessions a week at Zone 4/5.
  • transittransit Posts: 163
    I use time and HR when training. The time I used to judge when to take on fuel and as you said the miles take care of themselves. When doing a bike time trial I tend to use distance as psychologically I find it helps!
  • If I was doing time trial distance of 10-20 miles I would display mileage, as it goes quickly, and it's easy to count off the miles whilst going flat out...

    It's more the longer distances of 50-60 miles that I seem to struggle with, just wondered if people had any 'coping' techniques of survivng longer distance rides?
  • nivaghnivagh Posts: 595
    For time trials, I only have time elapsed, cadence and speed displayed (my cycle computer doesn't do HR). I do own an HRM but it interferes with my cycle computer, so I use cadence and dead reckoning! But then, I never really race further than 20k and more usually 10 miles.
  • treefrogtreefrog Posts: 1,242
    Great question. Generally I tend to go for a set distance or rather route, and compare times (I'm a meticulous record keeper!). There are days that I'm bored or de-motivated or not on form and these times I go out for a certain time or do an open-ended session. This touches on the area of sports psychology about Associators and Dissocitaors. ie do you think of what your doing (speed, time, technique, projected times, plan execution etc) or do you not think about it and just let it happen - Do you force the issue or not! Both types of athlete are successful, but the top end elites tend to be Associators, however I know some Olypians and they run on natural talent
  • Time and HR, that's what all the books that I have read suggest and I'm too inexperienced to know better!


  • For the longer distance stuff on the bike I always make sure I know the course (usually by looking at profiles where possible) and then break it down into 4 or 5 manageable chunks. Usually there is enough variation in the course to do this and allows you to break one big ride down into smaller more manageable chunks. If you just go off to cycle 56 or 112 miles it will be hard.
  • stevedavis82 wrote:
    You should aim to do most of your training in HR Zone 2/3 (fat burn) with 1/2 hard sessions a week at Zone 4/5.

    I find that so hard to do! I get bored plodding along at in zone 2/3 - although I do commute in zone 3.

    Take last night, I went out for a run (8k). Thought "I'll take this easy". 1km into it and I was bored, so started doing intervals of over 15kph, dropping back to 13.5kph. So probably spent the majority of the run in zones 4/5!

    I think I really need tips on knocking the pace back.

    What are benefits of lower zones?
  • I am firmly in the time/hr camp.

    Its all about endurance, then speed endurance, then speed

    The lower zone stuff for 90mins - 2hrs (for Oly distance) at a time it what will give u core endurance through the winter, and then you bring in pace and interval sets later on.

    gunforhire, it may be that you just need to examine your zones, if you can do 8km at 13.5k+ then what can you do at race pace, which should be a mid/high Zone 4. Zone 5 is sprinting basically, and Zone 5b (according to Joe Friel) is........well I am not sure, as I have never been there lol

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