Why Should a Fitness Rider Do Training Time Trials?


In the past, I’ve heard you recommend short time trials to improve racing ability and as a way to gauge improvement. But I'm a fitness rider and don't race. Is there any reason I should do these time trials? -- Nando R.

Coach Fred Matheny Replies:

Time trialing isn't just for racers. In fact, it's the racing skill most often used in non-competitive situations.

Here's why you should consider including a 5- to 10-mile effort at time trial intensity every week or two:

  • Steady, intense effort is a powerful producer of fitness. Riding at 85-90% of your maximum heart rate for 15-30 minutes will spike your fitness for tours, centuries and weekend group rides.
  • Time trial speed is practical speed. Five miles from home with a thunderstorm bearing down? Time trial to safety before the deluge hits. Suppose you get delayed by a puncture on your evening commute or fitness ride. The ability to ride hard and fast will get you home before the sun sets.
  • A weekly time trial varies your training. Sure, moderately paced rides are enjoyable and not too demanding. But a steady diet of steady riding can bore you and your body. Schedule a weekly effort against the clock and you'll have something to get excited about. Before long, you'll notice your cruising speed is creeping up, too.
  • Time trialing improves climbing ability. They're both continuous, strenuous efforts that reward pacing and concentration. That's why climbing and time trialing are mutually beneficial. Doing one helps the other.


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