Since I’ve only been riding a road bike for about 2 1/2 months now, cycling is definitely my weakest link when it comes to the triathlon. Knowing this, I’ve made cycling a big priority for myself since I no longer have a half marathon to take up precious training time. I made a goal for myself in the three weeks between my last half marathon and the Olympic triathlon (which takes place this Sunday) to get on the bike four times a week, no excuses, and for the last two weeks, I’ve met my goal!
Here’s what I did:
- 17 mile ride
- 18 mile ride
- 40 mile ride (and 3 mile run brick)
- 19 mile ride (including 2 miles up/down Torrey Pines – 6.5% grade)
- 15 mile ride (including flat tire changing practice)
- 60 minute spin class
- 32 mile ride (including Torrey Pines and flat tire)
- 22 mile ride
Total Miles in 2 Weeks: 180 (assume 17 miles for 60 min spin class)
Making Big Improvements
As I mentioned in my post about my first 40 mile group ride, I was still pretty uncomfortable with hills and turning just over a week ago. However, in the past two weeks my comfort on the bike has increased tenfold. I’ve become more efficient at shifting into low gears to cruise up hills, shifting into a high gear to get more power down hills and I’m able to take turns more quickly. I’ve become a pro and clipping and unclipping and I even dominated the largest hill in San Diego – Torrey Pines – twice! I was more nervous to go down this beast of a hill than I was to climb up it, but I learned that using the brakes can make this nightmarish hill more manageable. I was also pleased to discover that biking up the hill was easier than running up it.
Mike has noticed this improvement as well. Although it still requires a great deal of patience for him to ride at the same pace as me, he has noticed that I’ve gotten faster and seem much more comfortable. He also pointed out that my body seems less stiff on the bike, which is probably thanks to the bike fitting I had the week before last. I’ve noticed that I am getting a lot less back pain and butt soreness than previously, even though I’m consistently riding more miles. I’d say that in the last two weeks I’ve ridden more miles than I did in the previous 2 months!
A Long Way to Go
Despite my excitement about this big improvements, the road ahead is a long one. At least 50% of the Ironman day is spent on the bike and it is imperative that your endurance is enough that when you hop off you can get through a marathon. You must be able to ride quickly in order to make the time limit, yet stay within a low heart rate zone so that you don’t crash on the run (or get GI distress which is common when your effort on the bike is too hard). Since I am strong in the swim and the run already, bike training will be my number one priority.
Although I have just under 10 months until Ironman CDA, a significant portion of that time will be during the winter when it will be impossible to ride my bike on weekdays because I work fulltime and there isn’t enough daylight. And although 40 miles seems significant now, I need to work my way up to nearly three times that distance before race day. AND I need to get faster.
In order to get to where I need to be when I start my formal Ironman training program, my goals for the upcoming months are as follows:
- Ride or spin at least 3x/week, including two long bike rides each weekend, until December (when marathon training begins- will ride only one weekend day in Dec and Jan)
- Ride at least two 60 mile rides before November 1 (no less than 30 miles per weekend ride)
- Get an indoor trainer for weekday rides starting after Daylight Savings Time
We will officially start “Ironman” training in December and therefore I want to have a solid base by then. This will be especially important since starting in December we will be beginning our very long runs (14 miles and over) for the marathon and won’t be able to bike on both Saturday and Sunday.
To any of you triathletes out there, does my plan sound good? Do you have any suggestions for me? Any input is appreciated!