Improving my cycling speed
This year I have done my first 3 triathlons individually, I have completed these triathlons, I did not excel. completing them in itself is already awesome. But my time is lacking. Now, I want to complete a triathlon at an average triathlete’s pace.
My first triathlon was the ABDB triathlon, my swim was fast, I took over a lot of people, but in the cycling leg, around half way was overtaken by a lot of people, I ended my run when the the closing ceremony was taking place. Second triathlon was the Panaga Triathlon, the race was in waves, and the winner was decided on the total time they took. I started early, so I finished early, despite having a lot of the late wave cyclist and runners passing me by. looking at the time list, i was the bottom 5. and I realized the average speed of the cyclists were about 30kmph. Third triathlon was in Miri, due to weather the swim leg was replaced with an extra run leg, the cycle was on a single road to a point and back. Halfway to the halfway point, I began to see the elite cyclist heading back. With every passing pack, I noticed their position and speed, this was the first time I tried to use the drops (the lower handle bar on a roadbike), to my surprise my speed improved by that simple act, it was uncomfortable but I was faster.
Recently a fellow triathlete asked if I was interested in joining the 70.3 ironman at Putrajaya, KL. A 70.3 ironman is a half ironman. 2km swim, 90km bike, 21km run. I thought about it, and I signed up. The way I see it, the main time I improve myself is when there is a big event or a competition, I may not win the race itself, but I always improve myself for it.
There are often a few questions in order to improve.
- Where am I now? what stage am I in.
- Where do I want to be?
- When do I need to achieve it?
- What would it take to get there?, what do I need to do? How do I get there?
- Why do I want to improve? why do I not want to stay where I am? Why do I want to get to where I want to be. What will motivate me in achieving this goal.
1. I already know my average speed, being 18-20kmph.
2. I would like to run with the cycling pack. an average of 30kmph.
3. I would like to attain that speed, and maintain that speed for 90km in the 70.3 Ironman on the 13 April 2014.
4. I asked the other triathletes and cyclists, I read books and magazines, I referred to websites and youtube. generally the advice ranges from:
- Interval Training – a start with low intensity, then repetitions of short bursts of high speed, with moderate recovery time. This is fast and tiring, but I find it works not just as speed work, but does improve stamina as well.
- Hill Rides – which provides a sort of interval training, High Intensity going uphill, recovery going downhill. But the intervals are set by the hills, not by the rider.
- Long Slow Distance – to go as relax as I can, at low gear. This is volume training as well as aerobic training. getting the body used to the distance. I find it is the perfect time to immerse myself in my bodies actions, to feel whether I am doing something right or not, whether I am efficient or not. but added with brunei’s hilly rides, I take advantage of the downhills with a high gear when I can… just not too hard.
- Get into a cycling group, you tend to push yourself when you are in a group, especially those who are better than you, that you feel you can match. I am personally not ready for this yet. I am afraid that my current speed is too slow for most packs. I’m waiting till i get 28-30kmph before I join one.
- Measurements, using a gps watch or smartphone app, keep track of your improvements. Robin Sharma said “What gets measured gets improved”, I started with 18-20kmph, with the last few weeks of training, I am now 26kmph (I might be faster if not for the traffic lights), and I will know that I am successful when I reach that average of 30kmph mark.
- Practice, practice, practice. the more often you train, the better you become. This is what most cyclist/triathletes tell me. regardless of the technique. It is a matter of doing it, and improving as you get along.
5. I am bored and tired of being past by almost everyone (I am the last few, if not the last at times). I enjoyed the feeling of completing the triathlon, but the feeling of completing is not enough anymore. It is easy, it is doable, it is done. I need to know and feel that I am getting better, faster and stronger. Not just good, fast and strong. Which is good enough, I just want better. It is either I become faster, or I go for longer, or both.
So my plan now is as follows:
- train as much as possible, looking at my time, I need to allocate at least 3 times a week for each discipline. easiest I can do it is by cycling for 1 hour every morning before work, do a brick run when I can, or do a run later in the afternoon. Do a swim at night, or if I’m up for it, or night is unavailable (due to weather or events), then consider a lunch swim.
- Do a mini or full triathlon at the weekends, twice a month. unfortunately, swimming pools opens at 8:30, so I have to do do it in the order of cycling, running, swimming. It is okay I think, considering swimming uses different sets of muscle. and assuming I had enough rehydration and nutrition during the cycle, I actually felt better and relax after the swim.
- Do a long cycle or run in the weekends. doing 100km cycle (done but slow), or a 42km run (I haven’t done this in a while), the run part I can do 10km relax, I haven’t done a 42km since 2007. But I feel that I may be able to do it again, its only a matter of rehydration and nutrition during that long run.