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Need more speed

Old 11-03-10, 11:36 PM
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Need more speed

Did my first 1/2 Ironman last weekend and had a bit of a reality check on the bike. Too slow on hills and too slow overall. I averaged 29 km/h which was where I thought I'd be - but this was woefully slow in the field. I lost many, many places on the bike.

So, I want to try some new things and see how I can improve. Here's what I've got in mind - would appreciate any comments/advice/experience/etc....
  • spend more time on a regular road bike, riding in groups with faster dudes.
  • ride more hilly terrain
  • Work on a 6-8 week program from Chris Carmichael ( Time Crunched Cyclist) using intervals
  • Lose more weight
    More time on windtrainer using the watt meter and working on time/output

I'm sure I could get up to 35 if not 40km/h for a sprint or Olympic distance race. Anyone got any help they can offer, please send it down

thnx
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Old 11-04-10, 02:12 AM
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Do you have a power meter? If so, what is your Power @ FTP? What is your weight?

If you noticed that you got passed on the hills and weren't getting passed on the flats, or passing people back, power divided by weight is your number one problem. Either you + your bike are heavy, or you don't have enough power on the bike. Or a combination of the two. You can work on both power and weight, or just one (while not making the other worse), and the ratio will improve and you will go uphill faster. But if you're losing tons of time on hills and not on the flats, weight is probably your #1 problem- there is probably room for significant gains in race performance.

What type of workouts you should do will depend on what type of racing you want to do next. More half iron? Or switch to Olympic or Sprint?
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Old 11-04-10, 05:11 AM
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Thanks - helpful response. I'm kind of thinking through all these questions now. Heres a bit more quick background:

Basic issue is that I'm heavy ( not the bike - its a Cervelo P3SL, I can't blame it in the slightest) and don't have enough power. Although much lighter than I was 12 months ago, I'm still just over 100kg. THis is largely because I am built like a football player but nevertheless, my goal is around 90-95 so still plenty of extra being carried at this point.

Another issue might be how I pedal. Strangely, my quads & bum never really get tired, my calves do though. Perhaps I'm over-using my lower legs? I plan on spending some time with good cyclists and a coach to check if this area needs work. The weight which is an issue as above, should mean that I have lots of power with big legs but its not really the case . More time on the road might help smooth this out.

I have a powermeter on my windtrainer but have not really used it to its potential yet. Working on that next.

Olympic & sprint are really my ideal distance and will be the focus of the rest of my season. The swim is my strength and this can count for a lot in a short race. I plan to keep building speed and experience with these distances before looking at IM /70.3 somewhere down the track.

Just a last aside - by FTP do you mean Functional Threshold Pace? If not, what?

thnx
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Old 11-04-10, 05:57 AM
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I was reading your posts...We are about the same size..200lbs I ride well on flat but to heavy to climb..I was wondering how tall are you? To be that big but lack power? What is your training routine like....You have to practice hard TT do mile/kilometer sprints push hard during rides...3-4 sets each ride. Lose weight and just put in the time on the saddle.....seems your looking for technology to improve when we all know it is the engine......practice more of those things you do not do well. climb and climb somemore. Time on the bike = the answer....
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Old 11-04-10, 05:51 PM
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Thanks for the thoughts & suggestions. I'm 6'2 or 187cm. Not short, not huge but big compared to most fast triathletes. Getting weight lower is definitely part of the plan. Agree with time on the bike - which is why I'm going to ride a roadie more so I can join some fast groups that I know & probably the local club races too. Other than that, I'm not sure how I gave you the impression I'm looking at technology. I'm pretty aware that the engine needs work, not the bike.

Will keep you posted as I go.
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Old 11-04-10, 06:15 PM
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FTP= Functional Threshold Power.
Have you done any wattage tests? 20 min?
I'm thinking weight is your #1 limiter. Running may actually help you lose weight faster.
I know climbing is your weak area, but you don't need to go out and just climb to improve that. You really need to improve your power/weight ratio, and improving your power with intervals on the trainer or losing weight will do the trick. Big guys don't climb fast. Don't expect to climb fast with that body type without major weight loss. Concentrate on flatter races, with maybe rolly hills, not with long climbs where you lose momentum from straightaways and descents.
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Old 11-04-10, 10:27 PM
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I'm going to do some tests with intervals/wattage etc in the next few weeks so I can get a better handle on my basic perameters. I'll post once these are done.
Agree with your thoughts on climbing/body size and I'll tailor my races to minimise this......although I do like to MTB race too.......Nonetheless, flatter courses will be better.

Also noticed on the w/end that I was able to take some places back on downhill sections or technical parts ( lots of turns) which was mild compensation.
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Old 11-04-10, 11:58 PM
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What is your training history? Years, # km's per week etc...

What would be an average training week to this point (focussing on the bike sessions but also good to know other legs training) including distance / time, speed, perceived effort per session.

Also position - were you able to ride the whole bike leg on the aerobars except on the steeper sections? How did you pace? Go out hard and blow up?

From the little information posted I'd say not enough quality km's at race pace... The more details you provide the more precise suggetions we can offer.
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Old 11-05-10, 01:51 AM
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Originally Posted by 900aero
I'm going to do some tests with intervals/wattage etc in the next few weeks so I can get a better handle on my basic perameters. I'll post once these are done.
Agree with your thoughts on climbing/body size and I'll tailor my races to minimise this......although I do like to MTB race too.......Nonetheless, flatter courses will be better.

Also noticed on the w/end that I was able to take some places back on downhill sections or technical parts ( lots of turns) which was mild compensation.
Ok, sounds good.
PM me if I miss the post of your numbers.
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Old 11-07-10, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Dalai
What is your training history? Years, # km's per week etc...

What would be an average training week to this point (focussing on the bike sessions but also good to know other legs training) including distance / time, speed, perceived effort per session.

Also position - were you able to ride the whole bike leg on the aerobars except on the steeper sections? How did you pace? Go out hard and blow up?

From the little information posted I'd say not enough quality km's at race pace... The more details you provide the more precise suggetions we can offer.

Thnx for the comment: here's a couple of notes in response:

Not enough KMs a race pace is a pretty fair overall comment. Essentially, more work to do. I didn't blow up on the bike as much as never got going...... Usually riding in aero position is quite comfortable for 3 hours+ but perhaps the extra hills & winds made it difficult this time. My lower back was very sore during and after the bike. I train on my own, so even with the clock, I'm too inexeperienced to really know when I should be pushing on. 1 st year of serious riding after many, many years off. Many. Averaging only 150km/week which is pretty low. A side point - although my bike has been professionally set up, it has occurred to me that I still have the seat too tall and this is robbing me of power as well as over-extending my calves. My quads & glutes barely felt warmed up after this race.

My other training consists of 7-8 km swimming in one 3.5km session & a couple of 2.5-3km smaller ones. Swimming is my strongest leg due to lots of racing when I was a kid and I'm just focussing on re-capturing my form in the water. The swim leg of this 1/2IM was quite easy to be honest and I should have gone much faster. Next time I will swim from the front and hang with the quick guys instead of conservatively seeding myself back in the pack.

Marginal running at the moment due to a chronic calf injury that I'm working past. Once repaired, I would run 5 x /week between 30 and 60 mins. Again - not enough really and this will be going up over the next two months as I work towards some Olypic /sprint races. I had not run for 6 weeks prior to this race, only doing leg raises/stretches and then a couple of accupuncture sessions two weeks out - which really helped loosen up some very tight & sore muscles.

As you can probably see, I came into this race under-cooked except for the swim and to be honest, I had accepted that I may not even finish. I just wanted to try the distance and then decide if I should push for the longer races or focus on the sprints. Pretty clear that the sprints are where I'll be for sometime while my base fitness builds up.

Apols if this post is garbled .

thnx
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Old 11-07-10, 09:37 PM
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Not garbled - lots of good information.

In regards to riding, what sort of terrain do you have to ride on? Is it mostly flat, rolling terrain? Any hills - length and average gradient you could get to and train on?

Nothing wrong with using the road bike and doing some road races to mix things up. But the tri bike leg is more about riding around a percentage of your FTP - so constant tempo rather than the pace changes occurring in a road race or crit. I would suggest variations of longer intervals would translate better e.g. 4*10, 2*20 min around your FTP. Before the power meter and not knowing about FTP, I found weekly hill repeats going at a solid effort up a local climb with around a 20 minutes duration (with gradients around 4-5%) was a great way of getting more even power in the legs. I find it easier to hold a higher power effort whilst climbing and also as itís very noticeable to feel if you start slacking off to keep pushing.

Also if using average speed as a metric (many variables that donít make using this ideal) - during your rides try and hold the average speed you want to end up racing at for a duration of the training ride. Then start increasing time at that speed gradually as your training progresses. If you canít hold a shorter distance at the speed you want to race at, you wonít be able to do that for the whole bike leg in a race! Training only slow teaches you to race slow!

*Donít discount recovery rides though. Not every session should be hardÖ

If otherwise not injured, you feel your running is stronger than your bike leg? Best gains are always made focussing on your weakest leg. If it is the bike then you need to focus your attention here.

Swimming sounds like your strength so I'd continue what you are doing training wise, just like you say next time be up front and enjoy the ride just following some fast feet. The reasons are two fold - it's faster sitting on fast feet and also less need to constantly sight buoys as usually the faster guys know what they are doing and keep on course.
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Old 11-08-10, 06:08 AM
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Thnx - more helpful stuff there too. I'm going to work through some of these ideas and then get back to you.

thnx
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