Triathlon Frequently Asked Questions & Answers

FREQUENTLY ASKED TRIATHLON QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS.

Question; Triathlon nutrition

What should I eat during a triathlon?
I have power bars & gels & bananas. How much should I eat & drink, when and how much and how much water?
Please help me?

Answer
For athlete burning up 800-900 calories per hour.
 
Before the start
You need a good breakfast 2-3 hours before consisting of porridge toast honey and fruit juice. Most races are in the morning and because you have not eaten since the night before you need to top up your readily available stores for the day and the competition.
You must try this in training before your triathlon competition.
330ml of carbo or electrolyte drink 15 minutes before swim start. Your kidneys will slow down once you start, this should avoid the need to spend a penny during the triathlon.
Many athletes wee in their wet suit in the warm up just before the start when they are treading water!!
If it is a pool swim triathlon you will need to go to the toilet about 10 minutes before your allotted start time.
Drinking on the bike
500 to 750ml of Gatorade on the bike depending on how much you can drink while racing, how long you will take, the air temperature and your sweat rate.
The more you sweat the more you need to drink.
Avoid drinking on bike first 1-9 minutes to get the blood to your cycling muscles diverted from your swimming arms and shoulders.
Drinking generally has less effect than solid foods which cause more blood to be directed to the stomach. Blood flow is needed more by the working muscles.
You maybe able to drink more in training as the effort will not be as high as in the triathlon.
You can also eat a pre cut portion of bar and drink middle portion of bike section 20-30 minutes drink until 4 minutes from finish of bike then stop drinking.
At the same time change down 1-2 easier gears and spin to get use to quicker cadence before run.
Eat a 1/3 of 200 calories bar (based on 55-80 minutes predicted race finish time) to 3/4 bar for - (80 -95 minutes predicted race finish time) bar on the bike should be sufficient
Running strides are 190 (strides per minute) you may be cycling at only 90 rpm on the bike.
This stops dead leg syndrome and allows for quick running straight away.

Drinking in the last 10 minutes of the run has little benefit because it can take 15 minutes to absorb the fluid best wait until you have cross the finish line unless you think you are thirsty and need a drink.

QUESTION: TRANSITION TIPS
Quick question, can you give me some instructions on how to tie my shoe to the bike with an elastic band!

ANSWER: Firstly you have to decide.

1.  Do you jump onto the bike?
2.  Which side you run along side your bike?
3. Which foot is your preferred one to land on your cycle shoe first?

Once you know this, and then decide which shoe is at the front and which one is further back.

Use your momentum to hop on your bike IN ONE SMOOTH MOVEMENT.

For example
Some people prefer to put their left foot on top of their left shoe as they move over the saddle and frame.
(Not possible if you have drinks bottles behind the saddle as they stick up in the way)

It is much easier and quicker to be in a very easy gear and build up speed (so you are moving) while putting your feet in your shoes.
CAUTION – some shoes become loose and then unclip if they hot the ground!!

Now to answer your question.

Both shoes should ideally be parallel.

Use a short weak elastic band.

I have right shoe at the front so have attached an elastic band to cycle shoe rear tab and front mechanism, ideally over the loose end of the cable for quick release.

Use a longer weak elastic band.

The rear left cycle shoe I attach a longer elastic band to cycle tab and rear quick release (QR), you can have the rear QR pointing forwards to allow the elastic band to fall off under pressure.
Make sure your Velcro shoes are wide open.
Always consider Tri specific cycle shoes as they are Tri specific and the Velcro does not fall into the chain and get caught when open. (They are opposite way round to normal shoes) You may also need to cut down the tabs as without socks they go round the top of the shoe further and rub on the chain and cranks.
I usually have the right shoe in front. I hop onto saddle and place the right bare foot onto of right shoe (with practice you can then put your foot straight inside the shoe and start pedalling.

If you lose speed, pedal with right foot 2-4 revs then get left foot onto left shoe. It is nearly always quicker to move along and often you are in more control.

Build up speed to 10mph then slip each foot in and Velcro securely.

As you become quicker you may even be able to put your foot straight into shoe without having to do the above.

Watch these 2 videos (30 seconds each) 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pe31s54EQI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQpl5LfgBqE

Hope this helps? See you at the Races!

TRANSITION QUESTION?
Why are quick transitions so important?

ANSWER
Quick transitions are FREE time.

Try and avoid doing lots of B2B off the bike as this makes your basic leg speed slow. Essential for Ironman but not for the shorter races.

Avoid lots of Bike to run bricks, hopping off your bike with bear feet 2-5 days before the important races as you can risk bruising your feet.
If you have to practise dismounting use running shoes on the bike.
As you will only be riding 100m then dismounting racking and then running it makes for a quicker triathlon transition.

Yes you need to do them a couple of times a week but not after most bike rides.
Multiple sets
A good way is to ride 100- 50m in your running shoes and dismount and start running. Gets the muscles use to getting off the bike and running without cutting or bruising your feet.
Any slight rub will be magnified during the tri run and can cause you to slow down.

Any questions just ask and I will do my best to answer them when possible?

I had the 18th fastest T1 at the triathlon on Sunday and my bike was almost in the furthest position to run. Instead of being annoyed I worked extra hard thought about what I was going to do and saved a lot of time!

QUESTION: NOVICE FEMALE & NUTRITION
Hello Mark - I am a novice, (FEMALE, 45, 5’6" SIZE 10) training for my first Sprint Tri in Sept 08, I find the nutrition side of things difficult and also enjoy a glass of wine regularly too! Any nutritional advice please would be great :) Thank you,

Everything in moderation.
Make sure you have protein twice a day, imagine a stack of card the size of your hand you need this amount of protein a day. It is easier and more beneficial if you have half twice a day.

Red wine is considered by many to be helpful for health in moderation.
Keep hydrated before and after training, eat fruit rather than just plain water or have some food with water.

Nothing complicated about nutrition.
Fresh rather than tinned.
Frozen foods are packed with goodness.
Avoid fried foods more than once a week.
Choose low fat varieties apart from mayonnaise as the low fat varieties can be full of stabilizers and thickeners.
Always have a carbohydrate snack after exercise to speed up recovery. Keep hydrated but not just lots of plain water.

Question: I am thinking of doing the South African Ironman next year.
Problem is, I haven't trained at all in 5 years, and I'm overweight and not fit at all. Do you think with hard work and dedication I can do it?

QUESTION; Have not trained for 5 years!
This is one of the few Ironman triathlons, which we have not done and plan to do in the next 2 years. Answer the following questions to work out if you can do it?

ANSWER; Thanks for your question.
Where do we begin?
By slow steady progression that is injury free and consistent we feel you could do it.

How far away do you live from the Ironman? Are you able to train on the
course at least twice before April next year?
You are now 28 so have not trained since you were 23? What did you do in your 20's? Weight is not problem fitness is your main aim. Improving your fitness and you will naturally lose some weight.
Without knowing your previous fitness history and injuries if any, it is impossible to know where and how you need to start to build up for the South African ironman triathlon
Ask yourself the following questions and look at what you need to do each month.

If you can follow such a plan then you will be able to complete the Ironman come race day.
What do you think you are able to do now, how many miles could you cycle non-stop how far could you swim without stopping?
What sort of work do you do?  Sitting all day has its problems just like hard physical work.

This will also limit your ability to absorb training volumes, sitting can cause tight hamstrings versus manual work general fatigue and delay recovery?
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
How many hours can you train a week/month? Until next April (barring injury and illness). Everyone has a limit before they get sick or run down.
You will need to work back from the Ironman to work out your training.
Below is a summary of where you will need to be, this is not to put you off but the distance is the same for everyone.

We all just take a different time in each event to complete all three to cross the finish line in the ironman.

This is a steep curve from nothing and expect set backs during your build up, this is natural.

You can get by with less but you may risk not finishing a discipline in time to be allowed to continue.
The three long sessions, swimming cycling and running once a month within 7 days gets you use to doing them, before you have to complete all three on the same day.
Without years of training you need to approach your training differently.
Your back to back sessions- you should be rested in the 2-4 days before, as this is your key weekly session.

Aim to spend twice the time cycling as running i.e. 2 hour bike 1 hour run) October - Be able to cover 50% in swimming cycling and 33% in running in 7 days once in the month

i.e. Monday Swim 1,900m Thursday Running 15km running and Sunday 80km bike
            Include 2 bike and runs 2-3.5 hours in October.
November up to 65% in all three sports in 7 days once in the month
i.e.. Monday Swim 2,470m Thursday Run 17-21 km and Sunday bike 117 km
            Include one back to back bike and run 3-4 hours
            Include one long distance easy cycle 3.5-5 hour in November

December 75% in all three sports in 7 days once in the month
            Include one back to back bike runs of 4-5 hours
            Include one long distance cycle 6 hours + in December

January-Be able to cycle at least once 170 km & Swim 3.5km non stop during the month. Aim to do these 7-10 days apart.
            Include one back to back bike runs 5- 6 hours
            Include one long distance cycle 7 hours + in January

February-Be able to swim non stop 3.8km & Run/ walk 33 km aim to do both 7- 10 days apart.
            Include one triathlon back-to-back bike & run 4-5 hours at predicted Ironman pace
March- More race pace than distance.
            Include two race pace 30-50% distance Swim Bike run on same day. Can have rest between.
Any order i.e. Swim Run Bike as injury prevention.
By Mid March you should have done all the work and now consider tapering. Long session are key lots of rest in between April
 Week one 50% of average time trained last 8 weeks-
 Week two less than 10% before Ironman day. Crash taper for 13th.

You only have 270 days to go until 13th April 2008!

Team Ironmate does not normally advise any one to compete in an Ironman
unless they have at least 3 years in Triathlon and have completed 1-3 middle distance triathlons or have had 5 years in long distance swimming cycling or running.

If you competed in the past as a swimmer cyclist or runner then you will at least be 25% of the way to finishing an Ironman. Having learnt the basics from one sport you just have to learn and improve two sports.
The Ironman is an individual sport and providing you can exit the water in the cut off swim time then finish the cycle again inside the cut off time you should be able to complete the Ironman course providing you are able to run some of the way.

If you decide to do it in 2009 you must go and watch the race beforehand, even helping out at a feed station and learn from helper’s point of view what athletes really want during the race.
Suggest you watch an Ironman on TV/DVD although often you only get an
Elite/Top triathlete prospective.

THE POSITIVE
If you really want to do it you probably can do it; you will need to be
committed until next April though.
You live in South Africa you will used to the heat, most European athletes will still be training in their winter to start of spring!! You will still get dehydrated so need to learn to drink enough on long cycle and running training sessions.
You are young enough to be able to cope with slow natural progressive build up.

THE NEGATIVES
without a past history of Olympic and half Ironman distance events- Pacing & Nutrition you will not know your body enough to know how much training you
can absorb. Then comes the tricky part about race pace judgment and more importantly race day nutrition for the Ironman.
More Triathletes fail to finish or achieve their true potential in an
Ironman because they have not learnt their own individual nutritional needs.
Fluid and calories an hour you can cope with without running out of energy or becoming sick from taking in too much!!
How will your body cope with 9 months build up for 13/4/2008?
You will need to have a break from training then build up again (otherwise you will be mentally worn out) plus a 4-week taper.
This only leaves you 7 months to get ready.
Running tends to be the highest injury sport of the three but is good for losing weight; until you are down to 20-25% body fat restrict your running.

ACTION PLAN
You will need to be able to cover at least 75% of the Ironman distance in your training all within 7 days by Christmas
 I.e. Monday Swim 2,800m (1.2 miles) Wednesday Run 31.5 km (19.6 miles)
Sunday Bike 135km (84 miles).

QUESTION: IRON RICH FOODS

Hi Mark, I am competing in an Olympic distance triathlon in 8 weeks and need to know what foods contain Iron?

Iron rich foods from vegetables include
Beans and Pulses – bakes beans, Butter beans, Chick peas, haricot, Kidney beans, Lentils and peas.
Breakfast cereals – Bran, Bran flakes, Fortified cereals and Weetabix
Cake – Fruit cake, Ginger, Gingerbread and some biscuits.
Dried Fruit – apricots, dates and figs.
Green vegetables – Spinach & Watercress
Nuts – Almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews and walnuts
Other - Black Treacle, Cocoa and Chocolate & Curry powder.
Iron rich foods.
Boiled egg 50g has 1mg of iron.
120g of Tinned baked beans has1.7mg of iron
80g (approx) 4 dried figs 2.1 mg of iron
12g (a table spoon) of sesame seeds 1.2 mg of iron
Sardines 50g have 1.5mg of iron.
Hard cheese 30g 0.12mg of iron
Black treacle 35g 1.2mg of iron
Whole meal bread one slice 35g has 1.0mg of iron
Peanut Butter 20g has 0.5mg of iron.
200g of brown rice has 0.9mg of iron

QUESTION IRONMAN?
I Entered this years Frankfurt ironman Triathlon and got my first did not finish!
Do I have enough time to get ready for the Uk Ironman in 6 weeks time or should I wait until next year?

ANSWER
You trained enough but became sick on the bike and were unable to finish.
From your very detailed question you had too many calories during the bike which caused your digestive system to shut down.
Failing to have a nutrition plan is the most common reason for most people not finishing.
This includes the correct breakfast and regular foods you have tried in training.
It's not the amount of training that causes an athlete not to be able to finish but being able to keep going without distress.

Yes you can complete another Ironman in 6 weeks time.
A word of warning though just because you did not finish & run the marathon neither did you absorb many calories during the bike leg of the Frankfurt Ironman Triathlon.
This will still take a long time to recover from and has probably taken a lot out of you.
Treat you’re training as though you have completed an ironman and have another 2 weeks rest from any hard training.
Two weeks building up volume and endurance then start your taper.
This time only have 2 weeks taper compared to 3 weeks you normally have due to this break after Frankfurt.

This athlete was successful in finishing the Uk Ironman with one to one coaching advice.
If you have a similar question I would be happy to help with more one to one detailed coaching.

IRONMAN GUESSTIMATE?
I have done a half ironman is there a way of guesstimating my full ironman time? Ball Park? The half was Rutland water in 5.23 and the full will be Switzerland

Not an easy question without the following information.

Did you taper for Rutland? Will you improve this year?

Ask yourself to come to the following conclusion.

Did you slow down- get caught towards the end? Nothing to do with being a poor runner.
Did you maintain the same pace - Overtake people at the end?
What sort of training do you do? - All the same pace, more intensity or a good mix.
Do you train mostly with others?
1. Faster 2.slower 3.or the same?
Faster is not specific for the Ironman
2. Better to train with athletes of similar ability or slower.
3. You will NOT achieve your potential.

Do you have a coach or use a training plan, training diary, nutritional plan for training and racing and evaluate your progress?
The athletes that slow down the most are the ones who have none of the above.
How often do you review your training? Weekly or monthly= Weekly is better

How good was your recovery at Rutland compared to an Olympic distance?
1. The same 2. Took longer.
Running is where most athletes lose time from a half to a full in percentage terms.
Do you take more than double the time plus 10 minutes for a half marathon compared to a marathon? (I.e. Fresh half marathon 1:30 full marathon 3:20 when it should be 3:10.

In a full you still only have one T1 & T2 but you may wear socks and change completely into run kit so you save about 4-10 minutes not doing double transitions.

You should not put rigid time objectives for your first Ironman.

How many calories do you need per hour and how many can you cope with.
The biggest reason why athletes under perform is because they do not have between 35-55% of their hourly intake of calorie needs during the bike.

My website has speed / calories needs to work this out.

Estimate you’re full from your half by adding the following.
Based on 2km 90km 21km

**************Guesstimate my Ironman***************
Swim double it and add 6 minutes +6-10% in time Transition time =50% longer i.e. Half 8 minutes full Ironman no more than 12 minutes Bike - Double it and add 30-40 minutes- = 6-10% remembers you have to run a marathon afterwards!
Run - Double it an add 30-50 minutes

Rutland is not a fast course.
Without knowing your splits I guesstimate your IM prediction range will be (Rutland 323 minutes) Switzerland 11:25 -12:15.
If you learn good nutrition and are able to take in 55% of your hourly needs and reduce the slow down you could get close to 11:05

Having done Switzerland the road surface is much better than UK roads = Faster less fatigue allowing you to run better.
If you pace yourself well in the Iron Man Triathlon you are less likely to slow down towards the end.

QUESTION: long bike before the Ironman Triathlon
I am doing Ironman UK in September.  I am going to complete the Ryedale Rumble Sportive at the end of July.  Do I go for the 116 mile option or 85 miles?

Answer

It is difficult to answer your question in full without much background history of your past and current fitness including your build up the last 10 weeks?

Your longest cycle ride should be 5-7 weeks before the Ironman.
So this Sportive will fit in very well. Suggest you do the 116 mile.
This all depends on what you have done before.
Do not build up more than 10 miles extra each week and NO more than 15 miles after 2 weeks.
I.e. 70 miles then 80 miles then 85 miles = 15 mile increase over 2 weeks then reduce by 25% (i.e. 64 miles) as a recovery week then build up again.
As long as you take the ride easy spin easy gears on all climbs and take in 500+ calories an hour drinks plus bars bananas etc you should be fine.
Your problem will be fluid over such a long distance.
Learn how much you need per hour in training.
Practice ironman race morning breakfast in training and race morning.
Also have good nutrition during the ride eating and drinking little and often.

Question: I am about to do my first triathlon for many years.  I have noticed from pictures I have seen that no one is wearing swimming trunks for the bike and run, it seems to be cycling shorts or Tri suit, is this new rule or have I just not come across photos of Triathletes in trunks?

Are there any rules on Tri bars, i.e. are they allowed beyond the brake levers?

QUESTION; ANOTHER IRONMAN
Hi Mark,
Help! I'm just about to enter my 3rd IM (Switzerland 2008). I've managed to convince my wife not to divorce me, so now to the easy bit, training!
I suspect I've massively over trained when compared to others I talk to averaging 12-13sess/week taking 17-19hrs for the last 7 months. I've self trained & managed a 14:21 for IMA 2006 and 12:48 for IMA 2007. I believe I can break 12hrs for next year but think my main weakness is leg strength. I would like to incorporate some weights into my training and hopefully cut out any junk miles/time in a hope to save my home life. What would you suggest? My current week looks like this:
Swim - 3-4 sessions including 1 Open water swim & 1 club swim Approx 6m.> Bike - 4 sessions. 2 x TT, 2 x road (1x2.5hrs, 1x5hrs+) Approx 160-170m.> Run - 5 sessions. 4 x short, 1 x long Approx 35-40m.
Could you offer some guidance along with giving me a clue on what to do?
With the weights? I train at home and have a fairly good set of weights
And bench (very rarely used!) Many thank.....Paul.

ANSWER

Thanks for signing and your e mail well done on your improvement as you may know I also did Switzerland this year in 10:32 in 2007.
While it is difficult from your summary to give exact help I have made the following observations.
12-13 sessions for a 41 year old in my opinion is too many.
Not enough rest and each session not long enough.
Too TT a week is also asking for trouble as you can actually reduce leg strength due to the work/ rest ratio I doubt if you would recover?
Leg strength will be improved by doing at least 8 months of leg weights.
Especially over the winter months rather than lots of long rides.

To train for 11 months for next year is far too long and you will risk over training and lowering your immune system.
Weight training is a very efficient way to help you.
It gives another resource to draw upon during the Ironman itself.
Your improvement of 1 hour 33 minutes self trained is very impressive so you should also be able to improve at least half this time next year with good progressive training and recovery.
Only train 6-10 hours including weights for 3 months.
Consider more cycling to the end of the summer while the weather is good.
Work on your weaknesses sport to help you go faster and allow you to be more efficient long term.
Do blocks of training  2-3 weeks emphasis cycling then  2-3 weeks more swimming 1-3 weeks more running providing you are not injury prone because you have lots of time to build up for 2008.
Your first aim is to catch up on other things need doing while you recover from this years IM with little or NO hard efforts/ racing especially running for up to 4 weeks after an Ironman triathlon
Weight training.
After any endurance block of training and Ironman involving a marathon you will nearly always lose strength.
Super compensation of strength can occur if you allow your body to recover.
Adding a few small races can have the opposite effect.
If you have not done weights for some time aim to do 3x 15-20 repetitions of 20-40% of your one maximum lift/push.
I.e. if you can lift 100 lbs or number 10 aim for 20lbs or number 4 and build up every 3-5 weeks.
First build
Complete 7-12 different exercises including back.
The above tips are based on our experience with a number of triathletes.
Make sure you have a good warm up. Easy 10-15 minute cycle or run before completing any weights session.
This should include a warm up set of half the weights or half the reps to make sure you have not an injury and the weights are secure and safe.
Everyone is different.
Please monitor your body and stop if you experience pain at any time.
Please remember to tell a friend by sending them a link if you found our web site and help of benefit.

QUESTION: Lanzarote Ironman
Mark I notice you're a veteran of the Lanzarote Ironman and I'd like to ask your opinion on using clip-on aero bars versus just using my standard road bike.

Lanzarote will be my first Ironman (only my third triathlon!) and I have not used aero bars before. I appreciate for most events they are a must but the advice I’ve had so far seems split for Lanzarote what with the amount of climbing and the high winds - clearly they add some weight, take some practice and possibly most importantly affect how I hold the handlebars when climbing. I'm no pro athlete and expecting to do the bike anywhere from 6.30-7hrs probably

Any advice would be much appreciated, with only 9 weeks to go I need to make a firm decision so I can start practicing if I invest in some or concentrate on my training if I don’t.

Many thanks for any help you can offer.  Steven

ANSWER
My best time was 10:50 at Lanzarote and top 90 overall.
Yes I would recommend fitting some tri bars; the only problem is you will only have a short time to get use to them.
Safety is very important. Get a bike shop to fix them.
I would normally recommended make no changes in last 12-14 weeks. Make sure you do not clamp any brake or gear cables when fitting them.
The tri bars need to be level to pointing ever so slightly up.
Try ad avoid bent wrists when gripping the end of the tri-bars There is a lot of info on this on the web.
Being on tri bars can stretch the back and hamstrings so be careful.
Get use to them on quite roads and the turbo before venturing out on busy roads. Few riders use them around corners or in traffic!!

Tri bar check - stand by the side of your bike- A good check is put elbow on tip of saddle and forearm & hand out stretched towards the handle bars and you should not have more than 3 inches gap to the pads.
Tri bars are helpful for a relaxed position and are also aero dynamic.
Why tri bars?
1. There are parts of the IM course when you can use your tri bars.
2. Gives you another position to be in.
You do not want to be in the same position all the time on the bike.
Get out of the saddle stretch move about every 10-15 minutes.
Tri bars-
OK providing you can place hands on handle bars and next to or under pads when not on tri bars. Make sure the tri bars DO NOT get in the way from current normal positions.
3. Relives tension on the shoulder (using the tri bars) You will need as much practice as possible to get use to them and feel comfortable.
Lanzarote is not a Time Trial course where you will be on the on the tri bars all the time.
You need practice practice practise to feel confident in cross winds.

Have a look at my IM taper. Nutrition tips.
Hydration
10ml of fluid an hour per kilo = 70kg athlete aim for up to 700ml per hour.

See below some more ironmate info
LANZAROTE –“Normal limits do not apply” because there is 2,551 meters of steep climbing. It is unquestionably the toughest bike course of the Ironman family with one large lap around the Island on tough rough surfaces with rolling hills and leg sapping climbs. No Ironman bike is easy but this one is made worse by hot winds which cause your body temperature to rise without the normal cooling effect. Turbo cycling at Ironman pace after a warm shower or run will help you get use to a high core temperature for race day.
Bike: Your preferred choice should be light but comfortable. Shallow section rims with minimum spoke wheels. Be very wary of using deep section rims. A 39/27 gear is needed to enable you to spin up the early hills to save strength which is needed on the tougher climbs after half way. Otherwise you will be too tired and not benefit for the fast last section where you may make up some time.
Let me know how you get on.
Hope this helps?
If you found this info helpful remember to tell a friend, thanks.
Regards
Ironmate Mark

Answer

With new quick during kit tri-suits and tri-shorts tend to be used more often than trunks.

A few people still use trunks. Use what ever is comfortable.
Make sure your top is tight fitting and not flapping.

You can use any type of tri bar providing it has plugs or a bridge at the end i.e. the hole is plugged.

Only in drafting races (mostly only allowed in Elite races then the tri bars are not allowed to pro-trued past the brake levers so you should be fine if competing in age group events.

Hope this answers your questions?

BIKE QUESTION
My strongest event is running although I do have a strong swim.  I am in 2 minds at the moment as to which is the best choice of racing wheels I should use for standard distance Triathlons, should I choose high pressures or tubs?

Tubs use to be viewed as being slightly quicker as the wheels are a little lighter However the quality of clinchers is equal to tubs nowadays

You need to decide which preference you have to fixing a puncture either sticking on a tub OR using an inner tube

Clinchers are certainly most versatile and cheaper when you have a puncture i.e. more people have them

I want to get faster on the bike in a triathlon?
I do lots of cycling on a spin bike.

Without knowing how long you have been cycling and what training you do it is difficult to give you a full comprehensive individual answer.
I have listed some general tips and attached my 40 bike tips that appeared in 220 magazine recently.

Many people who train in a gym are unable to cycle up hills as they lack the skills needed to climb and ride on the road.
Doing spin classes is still better than no cycling at all.

You need to cycle 3-4 times a week to improve, any less and you are likely to maintain the same fitness throughout the year.
Add variety. Train differently each time to create a stimulus.

Easy spinning allows you to develop good economy and build up the caparilies for a better aerobic base.
Medium gear riding allows a progression. Of training, not easy and not hard.
Large changes cause fatigue and take longer to improve. Like running up stairs, go up 2 steps all the way up or three then two then one step due to fatigue.

Hard riding is now cycle specific.
Hill riding (seated) is very specific to time trail and triathlon.
Out of the saddle works the arms and core muscles.

Periodization training builds up endurance then strength speed. Divide your year info
Doing the same type of training can actually cause a de-training as you no longer stimulate the body.

During the racing season some days train hard some days ever so easy.

Have you had a correct bike set up?
Without being fitted correctly a new lighter more expensive bike will NOT HELP you!!

It can take time (500 miles for your muscles to get use to new position) especially if the angles are a lot different.

The good news if you can now keep going at the same pace for longer you are now ready to complete interval type work.
Option one –Self testing
You also need to complete safe time trial sessions out & back of 10-15 minutes in duration. Take 5 minutes of easy spinning before repeating
Complete 3 one in hard gears one in small easier gear then one in the hard gear (as first one)
Then 6-10 days later repeat this time the opposite way round, this time the first one in an easy gear the second one in a hard gear and last one in .

Conditions may vary but you are then able to compare which gear suits you for your current level of fitness.

Compare times to see which
Choose 1-2 gears and use them for the whole ride.
Using the correct gear –not too small or too big –everyone is different, what type of gearing will get you to cycle much faster.

Option 2-self testing.
Ride up a hill after a 20 minute warm up.
Make sure you have two prominent landmarks – a drain, a tree, post, lamppost etc.
Record the time and the gear and the perception of effort.
Choose a difficult gear /R.P.M and ride up a hill that takes 2- 3 minutes. Turn around safely and ride back down.
Repeat hill in the next hardest gear and record the time and how hard was it say 7/10.

Repeat a total of 4-5 times and try and establish which gear suits you best to get to the top.

Normally the hardest gear is often the slowest time and creates the most fatigue.
If you found our website helpful please remember to tell a friend, thanks

Ignore any information that is not relevant.

QUESTION: BETTER BIKE TIMES.
Hi mark I have just finished my fist Iron Man triathlon in 14 hours & 11 Minutes  after 4  years in triathlon at the age of 41.
As a keen cyclist was very disappointed with my 6h 45m on the bike and I am going to get tri bike for next years IM.
I have been advised to get a smaller size than my road I am 5 foot 8 with short legs for my size and  currently ride a 55 road bike which is a med would you think I need a small tri bike of about 53?  Thank you in advance.

ANSWER
Without knowing what times you do in Olympic and middle distance is difficult to know what your true bike potential is.
You also do not mention any TT bike rides you may have done.

Good Bike fit, no changes in last 10 weeks also Nutrition Training and Tapering are all key parts for a good Ironman bike.

Being over stretched is also your limiting factor.

Always go for a 53 cm by adding tri bars this will stop you being over stretched.

A tri bike is great for flat time trial and Ironman courses but not ideal for hilly twisty technical circuits.

Key bike rides at IM pace are key. Even heart rate throughout the bike in training then racing.

Not too many 80-90-100 mile rides, so you do not end up over trained and then under perform.

Consistent training rather than nothing then long rides.

QUESTION: FASTER ON A BIKE
I do not know how to improve my speed on the bike, with training I can go for longer but not faster, I got a more expensive bike (carbon fiber) and I find I go slower than on my original entry level one

Without knowing how long you have been cycling and what training you do, it is difficult to give you a full comprehensive individual answer.
I have listed some general tips and attached my 40 bike tips that appeared in 220 magazine recently.

Many people who train in a gym are unable to successfully cycle up hills as they lack the skills needed to climb and ride on the road.
Doing spin classes is still better than no cycling at all.

You need to cycle 3-4 times a week to improve, any less and you are likely to maintain the same fitness throughout the year.
Add variety. Train differently each time to create a stimulus.

Easy spinning allows you to develop good economy and build up the capillaries  for a better aerobic base.
Medium gear riding allows a progression. of training, not easy and not hard. Subtle changes usually achieve the best results.
Large changes cause fatigue and take longer to improve. Like running up stairs, go up 2 steps all the way up or three then two then one step due to fatigue.
Hard riding is now cycle specific.
Hill riding (seated) is very specific to time trail and triathlon.
Out of the saddle works the arms and core muscles.

Periodization training builds up endurance then strength speed. Divide your year info
For more detail please log onto these different parts of my web site

Doing the same type of training can actually cause a de-training as you no longer stimulate the body.

During the racing season some days train hard some days ever so easy.

Have you had a correct bike set up?
Without being fitted correctly a new lighter more expensive bike will NOT HELP you!!

It can take time (500 miles for your muscles to get use to new position) especially if the angles are a lot different.

The good news if you can now keep going at the same pace for longer you are now ready to complete interval type work.
Option one –Self testing
You also need to complete safe time trial sessions out & back of 10-15 minutes in duration. Take 5 minutes of easy spinning before repeating
Complete 3 one in hard gears one in small easier gear then one in the hard gear (as first one)
Then 6-10 days later repeat this time the opposite way round, this time the first one in an easy gear the second one in a hard gear and last one in .

Conditions may vary but you are then able to compare which gear suits you for your current level of fitness.

Compare times to see which
Choose 1-2 gears and use them for the whole ride.
Using the correct gear –not too small or too big –everyone is different, what type of gearing will get you to cycle much faster.

Option 2-self testing.
Ride up a hill after a 20 minute warm up.
Make sure you have two prominent landmarks – a drain, a tree, post, lamppost etc.
Record the time and the gear and the perception of effort.
Choose a difficult gear /R.P.M and ride up a hill that takes 2- 3 minutes. Turn around safely and ride back down.
Repeat hill in the next hardest gear and record the time and how hard was it say 7/10.

Repeat a total of 4-5 times and try and establish which gear suits you best to get to the top.

Normally the hardest gear is often the slowest time and the creates the most fatigue.
If you found our website helpful please remember to tell a friend, thanks

Question
I like Cervelo bikes which one is best for comfort during the Ironman?
Chrissie Wellington used the PC it is less extreme than the P3 or P4 but is still very fast and comfortable

QUESTION: Coached by the best but still want to go faster?
How do I cycle faster?  I have a well fitted bike, cycle 3 times a week, have completed two IM's and yet my bike time is still not improving. Currently I am coached by Mark Allen and have been coached in the past by Jo Lawn and Frank Clarke who have both had me doing various rides and intensities.  My swim and run improve but my bike doesn’t any ideas? I am also unsure about the Taper for the Ironman Triathlon.
Penny from Putney 2007

ANSWER:
From what you mention your fitness is improving but not your cycling.
 
Yes can help you by One-to-One face to face analysis of how you ride at different intensities.
 
Looking at how you train-Good Bike set up and devising a training plan including a nutrition plan for training and especially the Triathlon including Iron Man.
Need to ask you over 30 questions to get a better understanding to make you go faster.
 
Please let me know what splits you do in an Ironman?
Which IM races have you done and what years so I can look at your splits and compare with Triathletes I know?
 
Also if you keep a training diary this would help us see what you need to go quicker for longer.

From my 37 Ironman finishes I have learnt a lot.
 
The taper is the most important part and is a time that if you get this even slightly wrong can add on literally an hour to your finish time.
If you do not get the last 2 weeks right then all that training will go to waste!
 
I can give you as much information as possible about race week taper, and then if you decide at a later time after your Iron Man Triathlon we can go into more detail about bike set up etc.
Unless you are seriously NOT in the correct bike position would NOT change anything so soon to Nice.
 
Having done the Nice Triathlon -middle distance 3 times (Swim 4k Bike 123k run 30k & best position 36th overall) I can speak from experience
 
I have coached Dave Brown who finished the Nice Ironman and placed in the top 40 across the line.
 
QUESTION: BIKE FIT AND COMFORT
I cannot get comfortable on a bike for long distances and push big gears (low cadence) can you give me some triathlon bike tips?
ANSWER
Without knowing how long you have been cycling and what type of training you
do here are a few questions for you.
If you give us some detail we will try and help you individually.
To cycle better consider the following.
Have you had a professional bike fit?
Is the distance from your crank axle when furthest away from saddle 108% of
your inside leg measurement considered best for cycle performance?
If over stretched you cab be using possible power for balance.
All one pace training
Use too easy gears on hills I.e... Always using lowest [largest size rear
sprocket] on hills.
This builds up fitness but not bike strength. Test: Time yourself up a hill
in different gears to find your optimum gear cadence.
Wrong cadence when racing usually too slow [60-65 revs per minute], too big
a gear as a result lower watt generated. Do you train always in easy gears
then try and race in the biggest gear possible? Test: Experiment with
different gears and what effect it has on your speed.
Not mixing training doing all one pace training instead of easy medium and
fast.
Correct bike fit for power and comfort while being aerodynamic as possible.
Training on hills getting out of the saddle loses bike specific fitness
instead of seated riding.
Starting the swim too fast will result in a sub par bike ride in a
triathlon.
To improve you also need to cycle at lest 3 times a week only doing once or
twice in 7 days will just about current fitness and not allow you to do a
hard interval  [only at certain times of year] 10mile TT pace hill reps long
slow distance medium pace rides and real easy recovery only sessions.
To bike well you need to use balanced even power with each leg often there
is a tendency to out more emphasis on the stronger leg.
Test: riding on the turbo or on a quiet safe road one legged to find dead
spots on one pr both legs. Aim for a full circular rotation for better
performance.
Would you benefit from a more aerodynamic position or aero bike and wheels
[tri spoke disc wheel heavier tube] lighter bike?

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