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Ride Length?

somekindofwizardsomekindofwizard Posts: 120

I have started competing in triathlons this year and aim to do better next year with the hope of getting into the elite time category of under 2:30. Currently my best time is 2:43, of this my bike leg came in at 1:06 for 40k with the training consisting of nothing more than cycling to work each day of around 5 miles each way.

This year I am aiming for under an hour for the 40k, to do this I am going to maintain my commute (which has also increased to around 9 miles each way) plus some more targetted training rides.

So finally after that waffle, this is what my question is. What length should I be aiming to do this? Obviously my commute is less than half the distance and I found that I was really dropping off the pace at the end of the ride, but conversely is there any need for me to do long rides of much more than the 40k distance? I was thinking of a couple of rides this length twice a week plus the commute as i can't see what good a 60 mile sunday ride will do for instance.

Thanks ever so for any advice!!


  • Personally I can't see that regularly doing more than your race distance would be beneficial. You need to be able to pace the distance and hold a given output. Rides of 40k (ormore sometimes) will help with pacing, intervalls will help with the speed. My guess would be longer intervalls (up to 20 mins) at a level you can only just maintain, woven with shorter intervalls eg a mix of short -short (30 sec : 30 sec) and long :long (3 mins : 3 mins) on teh bike you race on and on a trainer if possible to make control easier. To do this you might find it easier to skip some commutes for more focused bike training
    But there are many ways to skin a cat I'm told... and no doubt others will be along soon to offer other ideas. :)
  • Like you, pretty much all of my cycling is commuting, 20 miles each way in my case. I do this 3 times a week so average over 100 miles each week but all in 20 mile rides. Yet I still compete in 50, 100 and 12hr time trials. And I usually finish in the top 10 in local triathlons. So I'm not sure how important actual ride length is? You didn't mention how much time you spend swimming and running?

    However, I'd certainly advise you look at increasing one or two of your homeward commutes to between 60 and 75 minutes of tempo riding.

    Something else worth considering is once a week, when you return home from your commute, immediately put your running shoes on and do a 10 to 20 minute run. Really helps with transition training.
  • Thanks for the replies, glad to see I am not the only one who uses my commute for training!

    What i try to do is go full out for as long as i can on the way in and take a more relaxing ride home where i normally try to stop off at the gym for a run or a swim. I also try to do intervals between lights but i have no idea how effective this is! Because my commute is straight up through central london there are virtually no parts where i can cycle for more than 3 or 4 minutes without having to slow down or stop so structuring in designated time intervals is difficult. Will certainly try to use 20 min intervals on the longer runs.

    At the moment I am suffering from hip problems so my running has been reduced but normally I try to do 3 sessions, a slower longer one and two shorter faster ones a week usually no more than the 10k distance of the tri which got me thinking of how important distance is in training on the bike. With swimming i have real problems with as it is my weakest discipline but also my least favorite so normally only make one session a week.
  • Some comments based on what you've said and a few assumptions on my part...

    If swimming is a real limiter to performance, I would have thought you should emphasise that in your training and not shy away from it. It's a big mistake to constantly train one's strengths, simply because that's what we're good at.

    Besides, maybe a little more time in the pool and off the pavement might be good for the hip?

    As to the bike, you can make good fitness gains with a few 1 hour very focussed training efforts each week added to your commute (although I would even suggest dropping a bike commute one or two days a week). Do these on a turbo if road riding is not effective (due to busy streets) or lack of available time. The commute is giving you very short duration efforts, which are not ideal training for a steady state 40km bike leg. In the 1hr efforts, concentrate in the L3, L4 & L5 zones, with a little more L5 work in the month or two leading up to racing (although that does depend on what L5 work you re doing in run/swim training).

    If you do have the time, then rides up to 2 hours can also be very productive.

    As to training level descriptions, I mean like here:
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