Cycling is probably the easiest triathlon segment to train for. With the proper bike fit and the right training, triathlon cycling can be relaxing and enjoyable, while still ensuring a good finishing time.
For a first triathlon, it’s not necessary to own a racing bike. Instead, most competitors ride a bike they already own, or borrow one from a friend. Those who will need to purchase a bike can choose a mountain bike or road bike, as long as the fit is proper.
Proper fit ensures safe, effective training. It’s also a great deal more comfortable, and provides better control and handling. If purchasing a bike, the athlete will have the assistance of the cycling shop employees who can perform a bike fit. Shops may also perform this service for existing bikes. To complete a bike fit, the cycle will be placed on a stationary trainer, so shoppers should go prepared with proper attire and shoes.
Having a properly sized bike provides better aerodynamics and allows cyclists to use their power more efficiently. This translates to better training sessions and faster race times. Once the proper fit is assured, it’s time to practice some basic skills.
Before taking the bike out on the road, the athlete should practice basic maneuvers in a parking lot. Stopping, starting, switching gears and braking should all be second nature before venturing out on the road.
Beginner training cycle
Beginner triathletes can commence their cycling training with a once weekly workout. The initial rides may be as short as 30 minutes, which is a fine starting point. Short workouts give the body time to adjust, and they are especially beneficial for the posterior as it can take several workouts to get comfortable with a cycling seat. Most first timers choose a sprint distance race, which means a bike ride of about 12 miles. This can usually be accomplished in under an hour, so no cycling training session necessarily needs to exceed 60 minutes.
Some cycling training can be accomplished on a stationary bike at the gym, if necessary. Usually, this takes the form of a brief warm up or cool down for a running workout. These stationary bike sessions can help develop cardiovascular fitness, but most bike training should be done on the road because this more accurately represents what will be encountered on race day.
While training on the stationary bike or on the road, triathletes should spend about half of their time pedaling at a high level of intensity. This means using a higher gear that requires increased pumping action from the legs. This builds speed and stamina. In a half hour workout, the athlete would warm up for seven to eight minutes, cycle at high intensity for 15 minutes and then cool down with lower intensity for the remainder of the session.
As the event draws near, it makes sense to combine a cycling workout with a short run. This could be a half hour bike ride followed by a 10 minute run. The goal of such workouts is to make the transition from cycling to running faster and more comfortable. These “brick” training sessions provide excellent preparation for the day of the race.
In no time at all, the beginning triathlete will be able to handle their bike like a pro.