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Athletes regularly have to reframe their goals. This can be for a variety of reasons, but today we’re going talk about how you can use “forced” extra time to become a better cyclist.
In an earlier post, I talked about reframing goals and working on the smaller pieces of the greater puzzle. If you missed it, you can check it out by clicking the link above.
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Ok – so we all know, the longest part of a triathlon is usually the bike. So today, I’m going to offer a couple ways to take advantage of your current situation and become a better, stronger cyclist.
Two ways to get faster on the bike include increasing your power and improving your bike handling skills.
Increasing your power on the bike will help you go faster. Power as it relates to cycling is often measured in watts.Watts can be measured by a smart trainer and/or a power meter.
You can think of watts similar to how you think of horse power for a car. Generally, the more horse power, the faster the car. The caveat, however, is a small car with 300 horse power will go faster than a large SUV with 300 horse power. The same is true when comparing a smaller and larger rider with similar power.
The first thing you want to do is get an accurate idea of where your FTP is today by testing (or using current training data) If you’re unfamiliar, FTP stands for functional threshold power. There are a lot of different ways to test this. I like a simple 30 minute “all out” test on an indoor bike trainer (please make sure you are completely warmed up before going all out for 30 minutes). It’s convenient and repeatable. Following the test, you’ll want to use 100% of your average or normalized power for this 30 minute segment. This will represent your current FTP.
Then set a re-test date and a target, goal FTP. In between time, plan focused workouts that will help boost your power. Hard intervals with plenty of recovery, threshold sets, hill repeats or low cadence work as well as high cadence work, will all help contribute. You can even incorporate virtual races into your plan to add extra motivation and to help keep things fresh.
Next, consider improving your bike handling skills. This isn’t as sexy as increasing your FTP, but most triathletes are TERRIBLE when it comes to this. And almost every triathlon has a U turn on the bike, which most people struggle with.
Now, you may be saying, “is bike handling really going to help improve my bike split for my next triathlon?”
Well, first and foremost, it will improve the safety factor of riding, but actually becoming better at “handling” or controlling your bike makes a big difference in terms of performance as well.
Managing corners and turns – including U turns. Riding down and then back up hills or just climbing in general. As you become better at handling your bike, you will become more efficient and more confident. And NEVER undervalue confidence.
A couple ways to help improve your bike handling skills is by riding with others and by incorporating drills… which you can easily Google to get ideas. Then it just comes down to practicing. Have fun with it and get friends to join you. You can even incorporate “games” to help with this.
If you have any questions, comments or if you would like to learn how we may be about to help you, please leave a comment or CONTACT me directly.