Question: I’ve changed my time trial training program over several seasons to no avail. My lactate threshold has increased to 92 percent of my max heart rate, but my power output at that intensity isn’t greater. What kind of workouts would you recommend? — John W.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: Thanks for a great question. We’re pleased to be getting a lot of sophisticated questions from readers who are obviously serious about improvement.
We like time trailing here at RBR, and a few of our coaches have won various TT championships, so we know a little bit about it.
Essentially, the trick is to build strength first and then convert it to time trial-specific power.
Start in late fall with a periodized weight program. Do high reps with light weight at first. Then lower reps with higher weight. As spring approaches, go back to high reps to build lactate tolerance.
One interesting note: Colorado’s Scott Tucker, the 55-59 national TT record holder, works up to 1,000 pounds in the leg press over the winter. His record for 40K (24.7 miles) is under 52 minutes. This shows the importance of a strength base.
Begin interval training in early spring. To convert your weight-room and low-cadence strength into TT power, you need to do intervals of 3-10 minutes at lactate threshold or slightly above, while keeping your cadence at 90-100 rpm. I prefer to do these intervals up a gradual climb to build more power.
My eBook, Basic Training for Roadies, has specific directions for weight training and on-bike power-building intervals. These are derived from Chris Carmichael and other experts, as well as my own experience.
Also, my eBook titled Off-Season Training for Roadies has what you need to design a thoroughly effective winter program.