As we move deeper into the Pre-Season and some of us are even entering our early Race season, one of the number one questions I get is how to best maintain a consistent velocity our output o the bike.

Whether you are a Roadie or Triathlete, the best results are achieved by the athletes who can not only put out the greatest amount of work with the least amount of energy expenditure, but who is is able to maintain this level of work throughout the event.

This is easier said than done, and the ability to be this consistent has its roots in your Off Season and Pre-Season training.

Most of us use logic that in order to go faster and harder, we need to train at higher intensities, and push ourselves harder than before.

Training hard and fast has its place, and time, in the program, but in order to be able tolerate the physiological responses and the mechanical forces occurring as a result of this type of high intensity training, the body needs to be primed.

I will look at how to develop you training approach after the Base training phase has been completed, in order to prime the body for intensive training that follows.

There are 3 important steps that need to be addressed consecutively in order to improve you your output on the bike:

  1. Sub Threshold & Threshold training to improve muscle endurance
  2. Threshold & Supra Threshold training to develop Anaerobic endurance
  3. Maximal training to develop Power and Speed
1: Sub Threshold & Threshold training to improve muscle endurance

The purpose of these training sessions are to improve your ability to tolerate the intensities you will experience during racing and help you increase the output you can maintain at threshold.

Training intensity should be at or just below your Anaerobic Threshold and should be challenging, but not result in undue fatigue and the accumulation of Lactic acid in the muscles.

A sample set might look like this:

Sets such as these can be repeated a few times a week, and be done as a stand alone session, or incorporated into your Long Slow Distance training rides.

You could repeat this type of training session 2 times per week.

2: Threshold & Supra Threshold training to develop Anaerobic endurance

These sessions should take the training intensity and outputs up a notch, but you are not working at maximal levels yet. We are still working around your Threshold, but we are taking getting continued improvement by pushing the intensity above your threshold.

This will allowing the accumulation of Lactic acid to occur and increasing the tension on the muscle fibers (primarily the Fast Twitch Fibers).

We are building on the improvements developed using the Sub - Threshold training sessions and intervals.

The purpose of these intervals and this phase of training is to increase muscle strength and improve your efficiency on the bike.

These sets can be done on an indoor trainer, or out on the road, and can be done as seated hill climbs for example.

Working on an indoor trainer allows you to more easily control intensity and recoveries.

You could repeat a session such as this 1-2 times per week.

3: Maximal training to develop Power and Speed

This is what you have all been waiting for - the all out, hard as you can go sets.

These fairly short, and very intense sets are designed to increase your power and your speed on the bike.

The ability to develop these components of fitness is dependent on how well you developed your muscle strength during the previous phase of training.

Because these repetitions are very short, your heart rate readings will be delayed (if you are working with heart rate), so give it an all out push for each rep.

Repeat this session 1 time per week.

Each step on its own, forms the foundation for the development of a fitness component in the next, so make sure not to skip over any one of the steps in your race for a more consistent output while riding. .

Each step should be developed over a 4-6 week period, and can be done 1 - 2 times per week. The guidelines for how many times a week you should do the training is: the harder the session (intensity wise), the more recovery required before repeating it.

James Greenwood is a competitive tri and multisport athlete currently training for Ironman Canada 2009. A level 1 Triathlon Coach, he holds a post graduate degree in Exercise Science, and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA. James is also currently the resident health and fitness programs expert at, and has starred in a number of multisport specific fitness videos.
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