I am looking for help to improve my TT performance. I usually do a 20km TT in my local area. I am limited to the amount of time I can train due to work and family obligations. I usually train about five to six hours per week. My training includes group rides on Tuesday and Saturdays. The rest of the time I use my rollers or trainer.
Once a week I do tempo riding for 20 minutes then a five-minute easy spinning followed by five four-minute repeats with one minute break in between. Any other specific work outs I can incorporate to improve my performance?
Scott Saifer says
Your current training volume is low enough that the single best thing you could do would be to increase it. There are huge performance gains when you increase volume from 5-6 hours per week to eight hours per week. Extra hours beyond eight are beneficial, but the incremental improvements get smaller.
Assuming you really are training the most that you can given your busy life, the next thing is to be sure that all rides are high quality. That doesn’t mean always high speed or always pushing hard. It means that you only push hard if you are well recovered from previous rides.
If you ever start a ride tired, you make it an easy ride. That makes me wonder about your current schedule. Are the two group rides hard? Very few people can handle three hard days per week long term without becoming overtrained. If the group rides are hard are and you really like doing them, the best thing would be to make all your other rides endurance base rides, not doing other tempo stuff or hard intervals but just cruising comfortably on the TT bike.
There’s a common misunderstanding that people who train few hours should train harder. That’s not really right in most cases. The ability to recover is improved with training volume so those who train at low volume usually can’t handle higher intensity in higher volumes without compromising quality.
Rod then responded:
Thanks you so much for your response. This information is really helpful. I would have to agree that I do feel like I have to make each of my rides hard because I don’t have that much time to train. I feel like I should make the most of what I can with the time I have.
The two group rides that I do tend to be nothing but pain (high tempo pace line and who can get to the top of the hill first kind of stuff)
I will try to increase my time on the bike. How about interval training? Most people tell me I should be doing one-minute and four-minute repeats at least once a week. Should I include interval when I am also doing two group rides per week?
Scott Saifer says
If you really want to be good at TTs, I’d have you skip the group rides and REPLACE them with intervals done on the TT bike, not add intervals to a schedule that already has two hard days.
All out one minute repeats are particularly valuable for massed start racers who need to be able to go flat out for a few seconds to a minute at a time. They are less valuable for time trialists. Four minutes flat out will help somewhat with the sort of fitness that lets you finish a TT hard, but you’d still do better to focus on the aerobic development that will give you a higher speed for more of the race.