180KM BIKE

Last­ing up to eight hours, the bike will be the long­est el­e­ment of your race. So how should you pre­pare for 180km in the sad­dle? Over to the reign­ing Bas­tion cham­pion, Matt Lee­man

220 Triathlon Magazine - - 2018 LONG-DISTANCE SPECIAL -

When it comes to pick­ing your

long-dis­tance triathlon, the 180km bike course is go­ing to be the big­gest por­tion of your race. There­fore, this’ll play a ma­jor part in choos­ing which one. It’s fun to pick a fast bike course to go for a PB, but a race on dif­fi­cult ter­rain – be that tech­ni­cal or hilly – can be equally re­ward­ing. It’ll take away that el­e­ment of clock watch­ing and al­low you to just race and push your­self, which is what I be­lieve triathlon is all about.

In the off-sea­son, ahead of a sea­son fea­tur­ing an Iron­man, qual­ity over quan­tity will en­sure you get the most out of your time. The days are shorter and colder, so don’t com­pro­mise your im­mune sys­tem by en­dur­ing long train­ing ses­sions in bad weather. Use the time to build your speed and strength. There’s plenty of time to piece it to­gether with your longer aer­o­bic ses­sions as the sea­son ap­proaches and the weather im­proves. Be flex­i­ble to ac­com­mo­date your train­ing and make the most of good weather to get out on the bike. Use the bad weather to train in­doors or get out for a run. Get­ting ill or in­jured will af­fect your con­sis­tency, which is the most im­por­tant train­ing com­po­nent in Iron­man.

Ev­ery triath­lete should use a turbo trainer, par­tic­u­larly in the off- sea­son as it en­ables you to carry out a spe­cific ses­sion with­out be­ing af­fected by the en­vi­ron­ment. Utilised cor­rectly you can build a great deal of strength, which is of par­tic­u­lar im­por­tance in long-dis­tance triathlon. You can repli­cate hill reps and spe­cific time in­ter­vals, a steady en­durance ride or sim­ply a re­cov­ery ses­sion where you can be warm and dry and take it as easy as nec­es­sary.

Long-dis­tance races like the Bas­tion can offer some of the most var­ied bike cour­ses you’ll find, with hills and de­scents as well as fast flat sec­tions over the 180km du­ra­tion. There­fore, you need a bike set-up to ac­com­mo­date this. Us­ing tri-bars – whether they’re on a road bike or a time-trial bike – can pro­vide huge benefits, but only if you use them! Get used to the ‘time-trial’ po­si­tion and try to stay in it as much as pos­si­ble even on sub­stan­tial climbs. You’ll be more ef­fi­cient and pre­serve your en­ergy for the run.

JAMES MITCHELL

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