Improve Bike For Ironman 70.3

by Guy
(Ottawa, Ontario)

I just recently started competing in the 70.3 Ironman distance and am looking for a way to improve my bike split (2:39).

I am an experienced road cyclist but I find the 90 TT a hard discipline for one used to riding in a peloton and doing short bursts of efforts (ie. Criterium or hill climbing).

I have looked at the 5 types of training to improve power and was wondering what ratio between them would suit the 70.3 distance.

For example on a typical week of training, would you incorporate 1 MAP, 1 LT2, 1 LT1 and 1 VO2 Max session of intervals? What is the best ratio?

Also would doing a Conconi power test to find my max wattage give me the right number to derive all the other targets (MAP, LT1, LT2), etc...?


Guy Lacroix

Intelligent Triathlon Training replies:

Hi Guy,

First a bit of physiology and pacing advice for the 70.3. Due to the nature of the event (multiple hours) it has to be a predominantly fat fueled race. This means having your LT1 as high as possible in each discipline. For a race as long as a 70.3 this is the significant threshold. This is not to say LT2 is not important or valuable, but ….well…. it's not!

Improvements in LT1 don't generally come from lots of bunch racing where the power is stochastic (off and on), and can range from 0 - max watts.

A power meter is a valuable tool for non drafting racing, as with good training and control in the race you should never over cook it, and it gives you confidence in your pacing strategy.

LT1 however is usually the most difficult threshold to judge from a non lab based test. If you know your Functional Threshold Power (1 hour TT power), this is very good indication of LT2 power. LT1 is usually ~75% of that (+/- 5%, Very well trained 80%, untrained 70%).

Another way of working out LT2 is a 20-min TT and taking 95% of that as LT2. You then have your Heart rate data for thresholds as well.

With Regards Training:

Without knowing the time you have available it is difficult to be precise.

However I'll assume you can't get long rides in mid week easily and that you can over the weekend. And I'll assume you would ride 4 - 5 times per week.

Weekends are for long aerobic, controlled rides. Multiple hours if you are looking at 70.3 (3 - 5-hrs each) or a total of 5 - 8-hrs combined Sat/Sun). These need to be steady and kept below LT1 for the majority of the time. This also needs to be regular and over a few weeks consistently.

You are aiming to increase the ability to burn fat as fuel (different to losing weight), this will in turn enable you to build endurance. Long hills are a great way of doing this, as you are able to hold a consistent controlled effort without too many power spikes. They should not be raced up!

The week days are then for quality sessions. Again develop LT1 or maybe LT2. VO2 max is not really relevant for this type of training. (see previous answers for LT1/2 sessions)

One last thing, practice the TT effort and concentration as this will also help, especially with control of pacing.

Good luck!

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