As beginner triathletes or first time Ironman athletes we tend to get intimidated by the distance that we will have to cover on race day. Training rides often times become about beating our own personal records in regards to the distance and simply trying to survive the planned milage.
Here are four training tips to help you improve your bike split on race day.
1. Ride with purpose
Concentrating on the present moment, cycling engaged, and not letting your mind wonder is extremely important. Keeping an eye on a power meter is one way to help stay in the moment (no worries if you don’t own one). Dividing up your ride into small goals like hydrating every five minutes, having calories every fifteen minutes, or taking in salt every hour can be very effective. Come up with your own formula and strategy that can keep your mind focused throughout your ride. Daydreaming can cause you to ease your power output without even realizing it.
2. Avoid empty miles
Plan out your route and avoid areas with multiple stop lights or roads where you know you will get to coast too much. While on a downhill rather than cruising and resting, step on the pedals and maintain decent effort level. Yes, you may pick up a little more speed than you’re comfortable with, but apply a little more pressure on the aero bars by flexing your triceps and you will have much better control of the front wheel. Commit to the downhill and just ride it out.
3. Open up the rib cage
Focus on creating a bigger gap in the torso, between the ribs and the front of hip bones allowing to generate more power. This position also keeps the spine safe with the vertebrates stabilized. Slouching too much especially when exerting a lot of effort makes the spine more vulnerable putting it at risk of an injury.
4. Learn to moon walk 😉
Concentrate on the pedal stroke and make complete circles with the pedals. Only pressing down can burn your quads out much sooner, which can really effect you later on the run. Applying force through a circular motion will distribute the work load between the quads, hamstrings, gluteus, hip flexors, and calves. As a result you will have more to give on the run because no one muscle will be overused.
Dividing up the pedal stroke (in your mind) into four separate parts can be very helpful.
- First is the obvious: Simply push down, we all have that one down pretty well. Try to keep your foot level, pointing your toes down can add an unnecessary stress on the calve.
- Second: Moon walk. Your pedal is now in the down position and you simply want to go through the motion of wiping something off your shoe. Slide your foot front to back as if your’e moon walking.
- Third: Pull up by engaging the hip flexor. This part usually feels the least natural.
- Fourth: Kick forward. Similar to kicking the ball, flex the quad and extend the knee moving your foot forward.
Once you put all four together and ‘smooth it out’ you will notice your power go up instantly; resulting in a faster bike split; making you a very efficient rider ready to PR the bike split at your next race.
Since 2001 Peter has worked with individuals from many backgrounds, some taking up exercise for the first time looking for weight loss and toning, and others seeking guidance with a more extreme goal of training for an Ironman triathlon. Peter has published articles in the Competitor Magazine, some of his work was also featured by USA Triathlon, Golf Fitness Magazine and Colorado Runner website.
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