Novices    Swim   Bike  Run  Winter

Focus on the cycling

The cycle stage of a triathlon is organised as a time trial – meaning that you ride a measured distance by yourself as fast as possible.  Don’t be confused by races you might see on TV where athletes ride in a group – these ‘drafting’ races are only for elite competitors.

Taking a typical novice competitor the ratio of time spent during the race swimming / cycling / running would be something like 10 / 45 / 30.  It is worth bearing this in mind when you allocate your training time although you should also focus on your on weakest areas.

Indoor training

When the weather is cold and the nights dark, training in the gym is a very attractive option.  It is possible to develop pedalling technique and strength using a stationary bike.  When you start your session it is best to have a clear programme in mind – for example:

 Always include a warm up and warm down – 10 minutes spinning the pedals with a light resistance

 There are two problems with indoor training.  The first is boredom – it is difficult to keep motivated for long sessions.   Two suggestions for avoiding monotony: 

Unfortunately the other problem is not so easy to solve.  You cannot practice technique – cornering, descending, climbing, gear changing - without getting on your bike so wrap up warmly and get out onto the road.

On to the road

You can use any bike for the race but perhaps best to get it serviced if it has not been used recently!  If you plan to use a mountain bike try changing the ‘nobbly’ tyres for ‘slicks’ – these are much faster because they offer less resistance. 

When planning your training rides try to build in one or more of the following aims for each ride:

 Joining a club is one of the best ways to improve. Look for triathlon and cycling clubs in your area and try to find a club that encourages novices.  You can learn from experienced athletes and find friends to train with. 

 You may notice that some cyclists ride without a helmet – their excuse will usually be ‘it is too hot or uncomfortable’.  I NEVER ride without a helmet – my head matters to me – and on race day a helmet is compulsory.