Training for Cycling Time Trials

on line personalcoaching and training for Cycling Time Trials Training for Cycling Time Trials

4. The Physiological Elements of Time Trials and Training

The physiological requirements of time trialling are stamina, endurance and the ability to produce high speed (racing pace) and sustain it. 

The training schedules are designed to develop these capabilities and to show progressive improvement throughout the training and racing year.

There are seven training elements involved:Cycling Time Triallist

1. Stamina.
The highest percentage of training time will be taken up with this aspect of fitness (never less than 50%). This will be relatively easy rides, a minimum of 1 hour, but can be rides of 2 to 5 hours.  The rides are undertaken at a heart rate of 70 to 75% of maximum heart rate (MHR). A longer ride should be undertaken at least once in each four-week period. The aim is to promote two main adaptations in the bodies systems:

  • To improve the bodies ability to metabolise fat as a source of energy – especially valuable for longer events.

  • To improve the bodies circulatory characteristics (removing waste products and bringing new blood and hence oxygen and fuel to the bodies’ cells).

During stamina training high pedal cadences of at least 90rpm (and 100rpm on the turbo trainer) are used to promote a fluent and efficient pedalling style.

2. Endurance.
Training for endurance consists of rides of between 1 and 2 hours (or turbo sessions up to 40 minutes), at a heart rate of 75 to 80% (longer rides) or 80 to 85% (shorter rides) of MHR. The aim is to:

  • Improve the bodies’ ability to use oxygen (i.e. to increase VO2 maximum).

  • Increase the number and size of blood capillaries.

  • To improve the development of aerobic enzymes – to assist carbohydrate and fat metabolism.

3. Racing Pace.
This is relatively arduous training, carried out at racing pace – your optimum racing heart rate (OHR), commonly known as your threshold (the level just below that at which you would go into oxygen debt).

Sessions at this level may normally only be sustained for up to 40 minutes.

The aim is to gradually increase your racing threshold. Your OHR may be estimated at 92% of your MHR but it is preferable that you test yourself regularly to both assess your OHR and to determine what progress is being made.

4. Lactate Tolerance.
This type of training is designed to improve the bodies’ ability to work at levels of intensity where oxygen cannot be delivered to muscle cells fast enough. The cells will use fuel stored within them, rather than oxygen delivered in the blood stream. This causes lactic acid to build up and begins to break down (fatigue) muscle fibres.

The training consists of intense intervals where the body is challenged to carry and deliver oxygen to muscle cells for intense periods as lactic acid builds up. The intervals will build up to a heart rate above OHR (threshold) – i.e. 92 to 95% of MHR.

5. Power.
This type of training is also carried out in intervals but the aim is to increase aerobic endurance whilst improving power, - consisting of::

  • Strength.

  • Muscular Endurance.

Training for power also consists of intense intervals, but these are carried out in heavy gears against resistance (for example up hills) at a heart rate of 85 to 90% of MHR.

Strength is a very important aspect of building power. The training programmes include strength sessions. In the early part of the training year these may consist of weight or resistance training sessions (possibly in the gym). As the year progresses the sessions will gradually be transferred to on-the-bike workouts (to become specific).

6. Developing Speed - Speed Sprints.
This type of training is designed to teach muscle fibres to move faster and to utilise anaerobic energy sources. The aim is a very fast, smooth, and relaxed coordinated movement. During speed sprints, style and form should be maintained at all times.

The sprints are performed for 10 to 30 seconds. This is a period of time that is insufficient to raise heart rate to maximum, but the rate will continue to rise for a period after the sprint is completed. Speed sprints require a period of recovery between sprints sufficient for the heart rate to return to at least 70% of MHR.

7. Flexibility.
The training programmes do not cover stretching for flexibility. This is, however, a very important part of maintaining form and fitness and should not be omitted. Stretching exercises should be carried out every day, without fail.

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