I have registered as part (cycling) of a team for the Roth Triathlon (one of Europe’s biggest Ironman-level events) next July 3. While the distance (180km - 112mile) is not a problem for me, I would like to achieve a good time.
This year, I did the amateur Amstel Gold (150km - 90mile) with a 28kmh (17.4mph) average (very hilly, over 2000m – 6500ft. of climbing), and a much less hilly 150km event with an average of 29.9kmh (18.6mph). Based on these results, I am setting an ambitious goal for Roth at 32-33 kmh (ca. 20mph).
The Roth course is not too hilly (1000-1500m total climbing). I will, of course, not be allowed to draft (but will use triathlon bars). I will turn 37 (my gads!) in April. My training time is limited by my job, particularly during the dark winter months
So, here is my training program, and I would love your opinions on it.
Nov. to Feb.:
During the week: 2 x 10-15km running, and 1-2 x home/strength training (squats, sit-ups, back exercises, etc.) On the weekend: Cycling 1 x 40-60km, 1x 120-150km. Endurance only, pulse below 75% of max. Flat terrain. Starting in Dec., I will switch to my fixed-gear winter bike, which makes the rides about 20% more demanding.
Week: 1-2 x cycling: interval training. Weekend: same as above, but on my regular road bike. Start to include hills again. In April, at least two rides of 180km.
Week: 1-2 x cycling: 1 x interval training, 1 x fast group ride of 50-80km. Weekend: each weekend at least 1 long ride, at least 2 of which 200+km.
Week: 1 x intervals, 1 x fast group ride 70-100km Weekend: each weekend 1 long ride of 200+km
18 June: Possibly the Vätternrundan in Sweden, a ride of 300km (with over 18,000 participants!!!).
19 June to 3 July: Regular easy rides, no rides over 100km, no intervals.
I have not specified what kind of intervals I shall do. Any suggestions on the optimal type for this event are most welcome.
The intervals I would concentrate on would be steady state/TT efforts at your LT heart rate or slightly below/above (or somewhere in the neighborhood of 1-2 mph faster than you typically can ride for long durations) -- I think these will provide the most benefit for your event and your goal of a higher avg speed over a fairly flat course. You might start with 2 x 10 minutes with 10-minute recovery between and work your way up to 2 x 15, 2 x 20, 3 x 10, 3 x 15, and so on, and you can also vary the recovery time.
Since the distance won't be a problem for you, you might consider reducing the number of really long rides, with some shorter rides (still long though) that incorporate intervals within the ride -- for example, do a 4 hour ride, and 2 hours into it do some steady state intervals of say 3 X 10 minutes with a 10 minute recovery between them (and the intervals would be at 1-2 mph faster than your "race pace/long ride pace"). Then the remainder of the ride would be back at your normal race pace. You can vary the length of intervals, the number of intervals, the number of sets of intervals (1 set an hour into the ride and 1 set 3 hours into the ride, etc.) so your rides are always a bit different and continue to be challenging.
Also, you might substitute some of the long rides for faster group rides.
Don't overdo it too close to the event -- the 300km event may not be necessary -- make sure you have an adequate taper.
I would do your core strength exercises at least once a week on an on-going basis (but discontinue any "heavy" weight training as per your schedule). Add some neck exercises since you will be using aerobars and get comfortable riding in the aero position well in advance of the event.
Finally, make sure you get plenty of recovery days in between your hard workouts -- take some really easy short recovery rides and take days off. You'll want to include some recovery weeks as well -- every 4th week is typical (where you just do recovery rides or take days off or do some easy cross-training).
Thanks for the good suggestions. My usual interval routines involve shorter hard phases, so I find your suggestion for longer ones intriguing--and logical. I'll give them a try. I always do my intervals in 3 week successions, with a 4th week of recovery.
The 300km event in Sweden remains tentative. One of my training partners--who is also riding in a team at Roth--is a Swede, and apparently every Swedish male is more or less required to do the Vätternrundan at least once in his life. But we're not really riding it as prep for Roth--just for fun. We figure it can't set us back too much for Roth, as long as we're smart about it.
And thanks for the tip about getting used to the aero bars. I have never used them, so I figured I'd need some time to practice, but I hadn't thought of the orthopedic aspect.
I'll keep you posted how the training comes along.