Addition Of Easy Rides During The Course Of A Training Week

by Dehan Louw
(South Africa)

If I have time during the week to fit in some extra 30-40k bike rides at easy pace, will this be beneficial to my short course Olympic distance racing?

I usually drive 15km to swim practice and back, and am considering to just cycle there if it will make me a better athlete.

I am currently a 2:25 Olympic distance triathlete, with two years of experience.


Intelligent Triathlon Training replies:

An easy 30k bike ride on its own will potentially have a small benefit, if done often enough and over a long enough period, if this pushes your training stress balance up.

A well-trained athlete who is not training near their capacity (work/ family reasons for example) might not benefit from this as they are not pushing themselves. The only benefit might be a slowing of the gradual de-training.

A novice who is riding 100-km a week, and added a couple of 30km rides would probably gain significantly, however they might just get tired, if this additional load is not managed properly.

If however you do as you suggest and ride to another session, you are not just adding 30km (~1hr) to your week, you are making a 1hr (?) swim into a 2hr cardiovascular session.

The heart and lungs (cardiovascular/CV system) doesn't know the difference between swimming and cycling, it just knows the heart rate and oxygen requirement has gone up, and it needs to adapt. Therefore the adaptation is stronger because the load was higher. There are some specific adaptions to each sport, for example muscular strength or co-ordination which relate to the specific sport, but the central CV adaptions are independent of sport.

If you are doing this to a hard swim or home from one, then the stimulus will be quite high, (good) but you will need to ensure you are getting adequate fuelling and recovery.

Have a look at our section on recovery methods if you need some ideas here.

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Feb 10, 2014
CV benefits, rather than cycling specific
by: Anonymous

Answer makes total sense, very informative. I now get that the key is maybe piggybacking an easy ride on to my hard swims and reaping not necessarily a cycling benefit, but a CV improvement.
Thanks for the free coaching advice, much appreciated!

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