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Intelligent Triathlon Talk, Issue #011 -, Get Practicing Aero Position
March 05, 2013

Intelligent Triathlon Talk

5th March 2013, Issue No 11.

Welcome to Intelligent Triathlon Talk.

In this issue:

  • News Update: Winter Training Update
  • Training Advice:Practicing Bike Race Position

Mark's Squad News

(Mark is Performance Coach for British Triathlon’s High Performance Centre in Loughborough.)

Since the last newsletter at the beginning of December, Mark’s squad have been lucky enough to escape the British winter on 3 training camps.

In December and January they went to Fuerteventura (Canary Islands), then in February it was off to Aguilas in Spain. Both are excellent venues for training. There was no beating the open air, long course pool in Fuerteventura, however Aguilas, with its cabbage fields and dirt trails offered a lot more running options at time when the squad needed to run a bit more.

So overall the squad has had a solid winter’s training with the key being no injuries, little illness, and lots of good, consistent training. The 6 guys in the squad clocked up between them a total of nearly 30,000K of riding, nearly 3,000K of swimming and nearly 10,000K worth of running.

Towards the end of this, Adam Bowden ran his first half-marathon, with a win in 65.52, an exceptional debut over the distance with no competition, on a cold, wintry February day.

Those of you who remember September’s newsletter (you can read it here if you don’t) will recall that this winter the aim was to ‘reverse periodise’ the training.

So this half-marathon was to check to see where winter mileage combined with regular short sharp track sessions had left Adam’s threshold endurance.

We found what we expected: both above race speed and threshold speeds were in good places but with him not having run any sustained race pace efforts prior to this, he was just lacking a little speed endurance.

Now it is time to kick on towards race season – where does time go?!

The first big race for some of the squad is the San Diego World Championship Series race in 7 weeks. So now we are into the final preparations for that, increasing the quality of sessions and building race preparation.

Training Tip Of The Month: Practicing Bike Race Position

If you have not been regularly riding your race bike or in racing position through the winter, then this is now something you need to address, with race season fast approaching.

The majority of people will train mileage over the winter in a slightly more relaxed, comfortable position than which they race.

However racing requires you to be tucked up a little bit more to improve aerodynamics. This can cause changes at the hip angle, and if you’ve not conditioned yourself to this, it can place extra stress on your lower back, and tighten up shoulders and hamstrings.

This will not only have an effect on your bike performance – you will have to slow down, stretch or adopt a more comfortable position, - but it can also have a negative impact on your running.

So how to practice race position?

You should be riding at least race duration once a week, continuously in race position.

However you may need to build up to this if you have not been using race position over the winter. If you have been riding regularly in aero position, then you may find you are supple enough and are actually able to improve upon this position, therefore saving yourself even more time. But again practice this new position plenty of times before racing.

A Session To Try:

Rather than just doing a steady state time trial which would help to improve your muscular endurance at whatever pace you are riding at, why not try to improve on the speed at which you can ride. Depending upon the distance you will be racing and your ability, try something like:

  • 10% of expected race duration at a little faster than race pace, followed by
  • 5% of expected race duration at a little less than race pace, whilst still maintaining aero position.

So to give you an example, if you are racing over Olympic distance and expect the bike to be 70 minutes, then you would do:

  • 7 minutes just a bit harder than race pace, followed by 3.5 minutes a little bit easier than race pace.

Repeat these intervals, aiming to build up to being able to doing a total session time of race duration.

If you are struggling with race position you might want to spend the first couple of weeks doing the faster bits in aero position and the easier bits in a more upright position, but try to quickly get into doing the whole session in aero position.

Other Tips:

  • Don’t make this the only ride you do all week in this position.
  • In other rides you can vary your position a bit more, ensuring you get some time in aero/race position.
  • If you find your back, neck, or hamstrings are getting tight, make sure you stretch these out. If this is you then get over to for excellent ways to get yourself loosened off. If it is just temporary discomfort and goes away, just continue to gradually build up duration in aero position.
  • Maintain your mobility and core work, in particular focusing on keeping your glutes & hamstrings loose (tightness here is usually the reason people can’t get into a low position).

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See you next time!

Rhona & Mark

© 2012, Intelligent Triathlon Training, published by Rhona Pearce. Reproduction of any material from this newsletter without written permission is prohibited.

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