Top 5 Training Tips for Time Trial Beginners
In the Time Trial, it’s you against the clock. On the day, it will feel like nothing else matters outside of the 16.4 miles ahead of you, but it’s the weeks before the event that will make or break you. That might sound daunting if you’re still new to time trialling, but not to worry! We have put together five of our top tips to help you make the most of your #ToC2021 TT training.
1. work on your form
Speed is the ultimate goal in TTs, so being as aerodynamic as possible should be a top priority. The riding position for TTs is certainly unique, but all it takes is some trial and error (and possibly some initial discomfort). Set your handlebars as low as they can comfortably go, and get used to riding with rounded shoulders, a lowered head, and tucked in elbows. There’s also some exercises you can do to get used to this position: start by doing a plank on your forearms, making sure that you’re looking towards the floor and not ahead, and then shift your weight onto your elbows, lifting your hands and forearms off the floor.
2. use your heart rate
It’s time for some maths! Heart rate is a measure of effort, so it’s important to monitor it when your aim is to push yourself to the max. Use a heart rate zone calculator (there are plenty online) to work out your heart rate zones. Most calculators will use your maximum heart rate to do this, so make sure to have that data ready! Next time you train, keep an eye on your heart rate monitor. If you’ve just started riding and your heart rate is higher than it should be, you’re going too fast. You don’t want to fatigue yourself too early on!
3. frequency over intensity
Similarly to the previous tip, intensity is not everything. Focus on building your stamina instead of overworking yourself in each training session. At 16.4 miles, our Time Trial is neither a sprint nor a long-distance ride. Focus on training for this specific length of event, combining sessions whereby you’re working just above or just below the required intensity. Training more often instead of over-training will help you sustain a high level of effort over a long period of time!
Here’s where we’ll combine the last two tips: pacing. In a Time Trial, it’s important to build speed as time goes on. If you start too fast, your energy levels will drop too soon and you’ll end up slowing down. You should start a TT at a fast, but comfortable pace, then build up speed and go hard in the middle section, and complete the last third at a pace that feels only just about sustainable. Using heart rate zones during training will help you easily recognise if you’re hitting the right paces on the day.
It’s also important to train under different conditions so you can adjust your pace according to the weather or the elevation level. Keep in mind that the Tour of Cambridgeshire TT has an overall elevation of 500ft!
5. schedule recovery days
Finally, allow yourself to rest! This is especially important in the few days leading up to the event. You want to give your all in the ‘Race of Truth’, so don’t tire yourself out before the big day.
But most importantly, have fun! Especially if this is your first Time Trial, don’t put too much pressure on yourself – you’re sure to set a personal best.
Also, check out HIGH 5’s nutrition strategy for faster times in the Time Trial.