Question: I have an important duathlon coming up in three weeks. I’m very fit and my recent races have been personal bests or close to them. But I’m worried about what to do between now and the big event so I don’t overtrain but still stay sharp. The cycling portion will be 25 miles. — Cody H.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: It sounds like you’ve trained well and are rounding into great form. If I were in your position, I’d use this schedule:
This weekend: A long, steady ride with an hour at a heart rate around 10 beats below your typical time trial effort. If you’re not using a heart monitor or power meter, this is a steady pace that feels “brisk,” not “hard.”
Next week: Two interval sessions. Warm up, then do five 5-minute efforts a bit harder than your long TT intensity. Separate these workouts by two days of easy spinning for recovery.
Second week: One more interval workout like the above and one long, steady ride.
Week of the event:
- Sunday: rest
- Monday: 4 x 5 minutes at TT intensity
- Tuesday: 3 x 5 minutes at TT intensity
- Wednesday: 2 x 4 minutes at TT intensity
- Thursday: 2 x 3 minutes at TT intensity
- Friday: Travel and rest
- Saturday: Ride the course easy with 3 or 4 pickups (accelerate briskly, then hold a snappy pace for 30 seconds or so)
- Sunday: Race
The idea is to drastically reduce the volume of training during the last 10 days but retain the intensity so your body “remembers” how to go fast.
Of course, you’ll also need to be doing running workouts and fit them into this cycling schedule. I can’t speak to that, but this gives you an idea of what you should do on the bike.
The most important point is not to overdo it between now and the race. The stress of travel will add to your fatigue. It’s much better to arrive a little undertrained and eager to race instead of overtrained and tired.