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February 14, 2017

Work Your Triathlon Weakness: Bike

Welcome to Week 2 of my Work Your Triathlon Weakness series. Each Tuesday this month, I am focusing on one of the four sports of triathlon. Yes, four  – Transition counts. Hey,  T1 and T2 deserve a little attention too. Last week, we discussed the swim. This week we are focusing on the bike.

Indoor bike training can be painfully boring! I don’t know about you, but for me, it involves losing myself in some Netflix series in an attempt to fight off the boredom. Right now while we are indoors, I’ve talked my Tri coach into running a Sunday morning bike trainer session at his house. An hour and half certainly feels a lot less gruesome when you have friends with you. It also helps because he pushes me harder than I would push myself.

As Tim constantly reminds me the biggest percentage of time in a triathlon is on the bike.  Since the bike is my weakness, I’m currently adding in more sessions to my training schedules.  I think over the years, I’ve come to realize that I just don’t like indoor workouts. There’s something about scenery changes that I need to keep me motivated. That and you can’t really ride 15 miles out and just stop because you have to get back home. On the trainer, it’s really easy to talk yourself into getting off – just stop pedaling.

So, how can you build that base and continue working on improving your cycling?

Spend more time in the saddle. You might be saying “Well, Duh, Cassandra!” but, honestly, it’s really as simple as that. You’ve got to get those workouts in if you’re going to improve.

Customize your training. You’ll want to include both shorter and longer rides into your training plan. You’ll also want to work on a variety of speed, hills, and long endurance rides.

Indoor Trainer Workouts

Here are couple indoor trainer workouts to help work on your base building if you live in a climate that forces you indoors right now:

I Feel the Need for Speed Intervals (1:00.00)
Warmup:       10 minutes easy, 2:30 minutes left leg, 2:30 minutes right leg
Main Set:       10 X 1 minute at 100 RPM with 1 minute at 80 RPM recovery
                         5 minutes at 90 RPM
                         10 X 30 secs on/30 seconds off, alternating between standing (on) and sitting (off)
Cool Down:   10 minutes easy

Let’s Climb (1:35.00)
Warm Up:     15 minutes easy
Main Set:       Raise your front wheel to mimic an uphill
                        2 X 15 minutes in Zone 3, every 5 minutes 30 seconds standing
                        5 minutes recovery
                        3 X 10 minutes in Zone 4, every 2 minutes 30 seconds standing
Cool Down:   10 minutes

Rolling Hills (1:20.00)
Warm Up:     15 minutes easy
Main Set:       5:00 Pedal Easy @ 90 RPM
                         5:00 Alternate: 00:30 Seated & 00:30 Standing
                         2:30 Using Just Left Leg
                         2:30 Using Just Right Leg
SET #1:          6 x 2:00 @ z2. Maintain 70 RPM. Stay Seated
                        1:00 Rest Interval in Between
                        Maintain 100 RPM @z1
REST:             3:00 Rest Interval @z1
SET #2:          6 x 3:00 @ z3. Maintain 70 RPM. Stay Seated
                        1:00 Rest Interval in Between
                        Maintain 100 RPM @ z1
Cool Down:   5:00 minutes easy

Indoor Trainer Essentials

If you’re like the rest of east coasters and spending time on the trainer these days, make sure you have all the essentials to before you start your workout.

  1. Cadence Meter – I use my Garmin 920XT
  2. Heart Rate Monitor – I also use my Garmin for this
  3. Water
  4. Towel – I drape mine over the handle bars for easy access
  5. Rubber mat– If you’re not on a concrete basement floor, you’ll want to make sure to invest in a rubber mat to avoid movement of your bike during intense riding. It’s also great for catching all those sweat drips! Ewwww, you don’t want that on your carpet/flooring.
  6. Riser – Invest in a riser for leveling your bike and also for allowing you to increase the bike’s angle to simulate a hill. (You can also get a block of wood from your local home improvement store
  7. Your Distraction of Choice (if you’re riding alone) – Laptop/iPad, etc for watching movies, listening to music or watching your online trainer.

This is what my indoor trainer setup looks like:

 

The Mat catches all my sweat during training rides at my Tri Coaches house. Always plenty of water to drink in recovery. That striped towel hanging over my bars – well, it definitely gets its own workout! My old cadence meter is synced with my Garmin 920XT so I usually just strap my watch to the bars before we start our ride. If you don’t have that option, you’ll want a cadence meter that works with an indoor trainer.

Bike Trainer

The riser is great for elevating the bike to different heights or you can really take it up a notch by putting your BOSU underneath the front wheel. That’s right, I walked in to one of my training sessions and tried to use a different station and my coach was like “Oh no, that BOSU station is for you”. That was one tough ride! (Shhh, don’t tell him I want to do that again! It was hard, but fun)

You’re entertain of choice will help you on those long rides. Friends are another great way to do that. That’s why I enjoy our weekly group rides. We all laugh and talk in the easy which helps the time go by. In the tough sections, well, you can hear a pin drop.

 

What has worked for you in improving your biking?

 

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26 Comments on “Work Your Triathlon Weakness: Bike

Rachel
February 15, 2017 at 3:07 pm

I’m so intrigued by this lifestyle. You give so many good tips. I need a mat for under my bike now!
Rachel recently posted…Real Runners Summit, Utah Valley Marathon + Feetures!My Profile

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Emily Holdorf
February 15, 2017 at 5:28 pm

You’ve really provided such detailed info for people training for triathlons. This is a great resource!

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Deborah @ Confessions of a mother runner
February 15, 2017 at 6:07 pm

these are great tips for indoor biking and I like your workout variety. I have also been upping my bike time the past few weeks to build my endurance. My trainer and I had a similar chat this week. So looking forward to riding outside this weekend for the first time this year. Supposed to be in the 60″s woo hoo. Happy training
Deborah @ Confessions of a mother runner recently posted…How To Get The Most From Your Spin ClassMy Profile

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Cassandra @ Powered By BLING
February 23, 2017 at 10:32 pm

It’s definitely getting nice outside again. Looking forward to getting back on the road too!

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Kimberly Hatting
February 15, 2017 at 6:54 pm

This is a great series! Although I have never attempted even registering for a tri, the carrot has been dangled LOL Thanks for all your tips 😉
Kimberly Hatting recently posted…Red Flannel Run – a Race I LOVEMy Profile

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Lisa @ Mile by Mile
February 15, 2017 at 7:59 pm

This is great info! I dont have a bike but I have an indoor spin bike. The longest I have done on there is about 55 minutes. Id like to try some longer workouts if I can find a way to keep myself occupied!
Lisa @ Mile by Mile recently posted…Cardio and Strength Interval WorkoutMy Profile

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Cassandra @ Powered By BLING
February 23, 2017 at 10:32 pm

The workouts in this post would be great for that. You have to keep your mind engaged to make sure you change your intervals, so put some music on, grab the cue sheet and spin away!

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Jenn
February 15, 2017 at 8:50 pm

Great advice!

I’ve actually only ever biked outside (not counting my spin classes), so this is all new for me. For a sprint tri, I think I’ll be ok with the bike – I’m most concerned about people around me, but I guess there’s not much I can do about that, huh?
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Cassandra @ Powered By BLING
February 23, 2017 at 10:31 pm

You can’t unfortunately. There are numerous people that sign up for Triathlons and have no bike etiquette/knowledge of rules of the road. So, it can be very frustrating at times when they ride to close to others, pass on the wrong side, etc.

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abbey sharp
February 15, 2017 at 9:26 pm

i actually haven’t biked in ages!!! But these workouts sound great!!!
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dixya @food, pleasure, and health
February 15, 2017 at 10:17 pm

not a biker or a swimmer but im always impressed by them 🙂
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Chrissa - Physical Kitchness
February 15, 2017 at 11:06 pm

You are badass. Seriously. I took a class this morning that was 20 minutes of spin followed by TRX then boot camp and I was dying. I can’t imagine doing a full triathlon!
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Chrissy
February 15, 2017 at 11:14 pm

That looks like a fun trainer bike. Would be great for the cold winter weather, too.
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Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home
February 16, 2017 at 8:14 am

You have the same bike as me! At least in your trainer, that is…

I love cycling as cross training. I won’t lie, tho, I’m a little scared to do any kind of racing. I’ve wiped out a few times and it doesn’t feel good. Cars scare me too.
Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…Running, How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Share 9 Ways that You May Not Have ConsideredMy Profile

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RFC
February 16, 2017 at 8:50 am

My indoor trainer was the only time I actually liked riding my bike, haha! Traffic terrified me :/ These look like really great workouts!
RFC recently posted…Reasons to HurtMy Profile

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Kathryn @ Dancing to Running
February 16, 2017 at 10:21 am

These all sound like great tips to me. If I biked I’d definitely find them to be useful.
Kathryn @ Dancing to Running recently posted…Putting Together My Chicago Marathon Training PlanMy Profile

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Katie Shepherd
February 16, 2017 at 10:39 am

I used to ride my bike but have gotten out of the habit. I need to find time to incorporate it back into my training! Thank you for the tips!

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Mikki
February 16, 2017 at 11:58 am

This is awesome! Looks like your training is going well.
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Julie @ Running in a Skirt
February 16, 2017 at 12:16 pm

What a great workout! I’ve always thought those trainers are pretty cool. Glad it’s helping your training too.
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Carmy
February 16, 2017 at 3:28 pm

I totally want an indoor trainer! You’d never get to “skip” a workout if it’s there in your living room!
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Kerri Olkjer
February 16, 2017 at 3:46 pm

Really great tips. I definitely struggle at pushing myself on the bike.

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Kalee
February 16, 2017 at 6:04 pm

Amazing! I always love getting to read about your training – you are a tough cookie!! I never knew about the mats to catch the sweat either – that is awesome!
Kalee recently posted…Comment on Healthy Habits – 11 Simple Tips to Make Your Weight Loss Goals a Reality by Kerri OlkjerMy Profile

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Ilka
February 16, 2017 at 7:09 pm

I always thought that swimming is what keeps me from participating in Triathlon but it’s really the bike! Great tips!
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Jill Conyers
February 16, 2017 at 8:29 pm

You have training down to a science! Yes. Mats are a must.
Jill Conyers recently posted…8 Signs You Might Be Overtraining and You Need To RestMy Profile

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Sandra Laflamme
February 17, 2017 at 1:34 pm

Oh my goodness, the BOSU under the bike front wheel! That sounds incredibly nuts! So many great tips here! I need to get my cadence sensor set up on my bike.
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Cassandra @ Powered By BLING
February 23, 2017 at 10:28 pm

It was tough! You have to try it….you’ll really be working.

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