GREG COMBS: Gearing Up for Time Trials at Speedway
It is that time of year to start gearing up for the Time Trial Series at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
This year the series will have the standard 10-mile (7 laps) event offered during the nine-date schedule, along with five 40-kilometer races, and one team time trial. For specific dates for these events visit the following Web site: www.carolinatt.org. The time trial series is a great way to gauge your fitness and to test your cycling ability without the dangers of racing in mass start races. For the beginning cyclist interested in training and competing in the 10-mile event, I would like to offer a few tips and a training schedule (see below).
The first area to address is to ensure you are correctly positioned on the bike. It does not matter if you are racing on a specialized time trial machine with aero bars and wheels or a standard bike, if you are not comfortable on the bike you will not compete at your best. Therefore, when you ride your bike be aware of your body and how you feel. You should not feel discomfort on the bike. If you do experience pain and discomfort seek professional help for a proper bike fit.
Next, specific training is needed in order to perform at your best. Competing in a time trial demands that you perform near your maximum physical ability during the entire event. Therefore, doing intervals at the upper heart zones will be necessary during your weekly training sessions. I don't recommend doing separate intervals for the different heart rate zones. Instead, I prescribe including zones 3, 4 and 5 within the time trial intervals enabling you to be conditioned to a race strategy that is used by the best time trial experts in the world.
At the beginning of each interval, I recommend starting out in zone 3 for the first 30 to 45 seconds to allow you to build up to speed to avoid overloading your legs. If you practice starting out at zone 3 in training, you will be conditioning yourself to not start out too fast during the actual race. So, start out in a light gear and build up to speed rather than attempting to blast off at the beginning. Once you are up to speed, start addressing your primary race pace, which will be zone 4.
During this phase of the interval try floating within zone 4. For example, if your heart rate for zone 4 is between 164 to 182 beats per minute (bpm), ride for one minute just above 164 bpm, and then accelerate to ride just below 182 bpm for one minute. By alternating intensity during your intervals, you will be conditioning yourself to adapt to actual race conditions on the speedway. On one straightaway you will be riding with a tailwind and on the other side there will be a headwind. Also, the track is not completely flat. One side of the track has a slight incline and a decline on the other side. So, by alternating your intensity within zone 4, you will be able to adapt to these conditions during the race.
The last phase of your intervals will be at zone 5 at 2- or 3-minute durations. Doing this level of intensity near the end of your intervals is an efficient method to increase your overall speed for the time trial. For the 6- and 8-minute intervals, do the last two minutes at zone 5. During 10-, 12-, and 15-minute intervals, do the last three minutes at zone 5. Also, while racing on the speedway, do your last and seventh lap at zone 5. Once you finish each interval, recover by spinning for three minutes at zone 2 before doing your next interval.
Before each interval training session be sure to warm up properly by spinning for 20 to 30 minutes. As well, for a proper cool down and recovery, spin for another 20 minutes. On the days that you are riding easy it is a great time to practice staying in an aero position and becoming efficient in preparing for the upcoming race. Good luck and enjoy racing on the Lowe's Motor Speedway.
For an example of an eight-week training schedule focusing on the Lowe's Time Trial Series, contact me at email@example.com.
Recovery -- No Effort: short easy rides up to 30 minutes in duration; Zone 1 -- Light Effort: easy riding to help develop endurance up to 2-3 hours.; Zone 2-- Light to Moderate Effort: to develop aerobic capacity up to 1 hour; Zone 3 --Tempo: to improve pedaling efficiency with some resistance up to 45 minutes; Zone 4 -- Threshold: to improve the processing of lactic acid up to 30 minutes; Zone 5 -- Redline: to improve peak performance up to 3 to 6 minutes.
Greg Combs is a cyclist and coach for more than 30 years and is considered an expert in bicycling fit and rider positioning. He is also the director of the Sport Management Program at Methodist University in Fayetteville. For more information browse www.velosmart.com or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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