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Triathlon Cycling Endurance and Power
All things being equal, the triathlon Bike leg is the longest of the triathlon legs. So, you have the opportunity to make the biggest time gains by improving your triathlon bike time. Your cycling endurance base is the foundation for all other types of triathlon cycling training (like intervals, power work and hills.) Triathlon Cycling Endurance is the easiest to build: it comes from spending enough time in the saddle on the road. The big question is how much triathlon endurance training do you need before moving on to power, hills and speed?
Look at the length of your triathlon events to figure how much endurance work you need. Work up to, and mix in, distances of 75%, 100% and 150% of your triathlon event distances. For example, work in rides of 20, 30 and 40 miles of endurance in preparation for an Olympic distance triathlon (40k bike, approximately 25 miles).
Avoid speed or intensity training during the endurance building process of 1 - 2 months. Once you have a solid endurance base you can reduce your pure endurance work as you incorporate other types of triathlon training rides, since maintaining endurance training takes less effort than building it.
Quality, Not Quantity
More is not necessarily better. Sometimes cyclist feel that if they ride greater distances, almost to the point of punishment, they'll automatically become a better and faster triathlete. But that's not true. All you'll get out of a consistent overabundance of endurance miles is slow legs, slower reaction time and a lower top speed.
Don't waste energy overtraining in one area of triathlon training that you could be using for other areas, like swimming, running, strength training, or speed work. A couple of huge rides here and there never really hurt; but don't do them to the exclusion of higher quality, intensity training that puts the edge on your triathlon biking form.
Sample Triathlon Endurance Cycling Workouts
Here is a sample week of Triathlon Cycling Endurance workouts. The distances mentioned are relative to your triathlon event bike leg distance, and to your conditioning as you move through your early season period of building endurance:
Long distance ride, easy
Cycling day off
Cycling day off
Medium ride, or Cycling day off
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