Question: You’ve said that for long time trials, a rider should be able to go hard for approximately double the race distance. Does that hold true for short TTs, too? In other words, in training for a weekly 10-mile TT, should I do a race-effort 20-miler once a week, or break up the distance into shorter intervals? — Max M.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: If you can go at race effort for twice the race distance, then you aren’t riding hard enough during your races!
It’s important to be able to ride at least twice the distance of a long (40-50 mile) TT, but not at full race pace. For short TTs of around 10 miles, this changes to riding 3-5 times the race distance at a brisk clip without undue fatigue.
Once you can, it’s a matter of doing intervalsdesigned to increase your speed.
We get fast by training fast, not by training at less than race speed. Studies suggest that the best workout protocol for 10-mile TTs is something in the range of five 3-minute efforts at slightly faster than race intensity.
A close second would be 30-40 seconds hard, followed by 20 seconds of easy spinning, repeated 10-15 times.
One more point: It’s hard to push yourself at time-trial intensity every week all summer. That’s quite a bit of mental suffering.
Be sure that you’re enthused about each race. If not, your performance will suffer and you may misinterpret the slower times as a training mistake when in fact you’re over-raced or over-trained.