| Triathlon - How can I increase my average speed over the 40km?

Triathlon - How can I increase my average speed over the 40km?

Conners asked:


I completed my first olympic triathlon in August and I did the 40km cycle in 1hr 13 mins (approx 33km/hr). I want to put some hard work into my cycling and improve this average time.

Can anyone provide my with some 40km time trial/triathlon specific training workouts? Should I be doing interval training? Long rides? shorter/faster rides?

Not interested in buying a state of the art £4000 triathlon bike to gain an extra few km/hr - I just want to get fitter :)
please advise!


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4 Responses to “Triathlon - How can I increase my average speed over the 40km?”

  1. Ken M on June 9th, 2009 12:19 am

    I would work on getting stronger. Try long gradual climbs, about a 3% average gain, and ride at about 65 cadence. When I have a race that is pretty flat, I will go train on windy days and ride against the wind. Nothing hurts more than riding into a head wind. This training hurts but if race day is on a calm day you will feel like a feather out there. I would also look at your body and see if you have any chunky spots. If so, you should do some 5-7 hour rides to lose the extra chunk. I hope this helps. Good luck

  2. phoster on June 12th, 2009 6:09 am

    riding a TT is its own world. unlike other types of riding, it is about power. you throw spinning out the window for it, and you use the heaviest gear you can still turn over decently.

    this is the one race i feel that overall strength is a plus. i do a lot of upper body work just for that reason. i find being able to use your back, triceps, abs, everything you have to push the big gears helps.

    you can’t push heavy gears every day or you will damage your knees or hurt yourself. what i would do is spin most of the time, but i would pick one day a week to do an actual TT. i would set up a good training rout that is a little longer than the race distance, and i would get in the heavy gear and just go for all i was worth.

    also work on your mind. do things like visualization, where you picture yourself having this great ride. work on enduring pain and discomfort. i find humming a song to myself helps.

    then you can work on your equipment. you dont need to invest top dollars, but every areo advantage you invest in helps. wheels would be first on my list, areo bars if you dont have them, and then frame, helmet and those things.

    oh and work on your form. pedaling the whole circle is important. riders tend to push, but pedalling in a strong, smooth circle is another key. when your legs are under a load, it is much faster and more effecient to apply power all the way around.

  3. silverbullet on June 15th, 2009 2:29 pm

    “Should I be doing interval training? Long rides? shorter/faster rides?”

    Yes to all.

    Short of writing a book in a simple questions forum, the answer is “do the miles”. You need intervals, long rides, group rides, trainer rides, spin classes. Any saddle time you can get. If you’re doing less than 200 miles a week, you aren’t there yet.

    You don’t mention what your ride is, so there may be some low hanging fruit there as well. Your aero position on the machine contibutes significantly. Aero bars, stem adjustments, saddle position are things to look at. Next most effective (and expensive!) change is usually aero wheels.

    Look into clubs in your area. More experienced athletes are always a great source of information, as are the sport specific periodicals. Here in the U.S., its Triathlete and Inside Triathlon, not sure about the UK

  4. Tebs on June 18th, 2009 11:30 pm

    Assuming that you have a good basic fitness, because you presumably finished the triathlon, to increase your speed on the bike over short distances, like 40km. Try splitting your training ride into small sections of say 4 or 5k, after a warm up of maybe 8 to 10k, further if you need, ride alternate 4 or 5k sections at race speed with a steady, but not too easy, speed in between each hard section.
    On one day near the beginning of each week, not too close to next weekend if you are racing, have a medium pace warm-up ride, and follow it with a series of short sprints, say around 2 minutes each at
    maximum effort with a recovery of about 2 minutes between each sprint, do these until you cannot manage max effort each time, then have an EASY warm down ride of maybe 8 or 10k If you’ve been honest you won’t feel like going any further, next day have a moderate paced, fairly flat ride. Other than specific speed work, do you have a cycling club that hold time-trials near you? if you do, go and ride them, you cannot train for racing without racing :o) ! Your race speed will increase !

    Edit: If you are only doing this for triathlon, avoid using big gears, they will probably stuff up your running section, concentrate on turning a lower gear faster, you use a lot less energy and should maintain speed more efficiently.