Time Trial Training For Triathlon

Training for a time trial isn’t about the equipment. It’s about the rider. It is possible to take a poor performer and put them in the most exceptional gear, but the result will be far from ideal.

However, if you pair an accomplished cyclist with subpar equipment, you will likely be impressed by their performance. The most important thing is the person on the horse, so putting effort into practising should be a key concern.

Time Trial

A time trial is a competition in which cyclists compete against the clock, with each person’s total time being the basis of determining the winner. Instead of everyone starting the race at once, riders are given specific start times and have to race without helping each other by drafting.

This places a premium on aerodynamics and power production. Time trial courses can differ significantly, however, the normal tendency is for them to be relatively level. However, time trial races may feature a significant climb.

Common Time Trial Distances

Course distances can vary as well. Contests that have been established by sanctioning bodies sometimes include events that consist of a ten-mile-long course, which is the minimum distance recognized by the authorities. However, some competitions are much longer, stretching to a hundred miles and beyond. The time trial race distance most often used in individual competitions is 40km, which is equivalent to 24.85 miles.

Time Trial Training

Improving one’s time-trialling prowess starts with honing in on ever more particular kinds of practice.

Training for a time trial should be aimed at boosting your maximum, sustained energy level by improving your aerobic fitness and developing your muscles’ ability to keep going. By taking part in progressive levels of exercise, you will enhance your functional threshold power and stamina to sustain it for longer periods.

To be successful in race time trials, you need to be able to put out a lot of force for a considerable amount of time and keep a streamlined body position. Taking the above into account, a structured program to prepare for a time trial race will have a strong focus on long-term endurance.

To reach peak physical fitness, the duration of aerobic workouts must be increased, be they intense intervals or multiple slow-paced exercises.

In addition, you need to practice riding slightly below and above your Functional Threshold Power (FTP), along with vital stamina-building exercises to get used to producing power cycles similar to what would be needed in a time trial.

Training in Time Trial Position

Yes, you should train in the aero position. Time trials boil down to one thing—preparation. You need to practice using the timed race stance. Investing energy at your predicted time trial speed is exceptionally distressing.

It’s the maximum effort one can make without becoming overwhelmed. The slightest alteration in posture could be enough to push you over the limit if you are not ready for it.

Practising riding in the posture you will use for your time-trial event can help your body get used to the amount of effort you need to put out. Let’s be realistic, that stance is not designed for being cosy; it’s all about speed.

Gaining knowledge of the aero position will assist in boosting your psychological strength and give you the chance to evaluate and modify things. Generally, you should dedicate more time to your head-down position in preparation for your targeted race as it approaches.

Time Trial Training Plan

Rigorous physical training is a requirement for someone to keep up a rapid pace over the courses of 10 miles, 40 kilometres, and long distances like 50-100 miles. TrainerRoad’s 40km Time Trial plan gradually strengthens your conditioning, so you will be able to take on the challenge of competing against the clock.

Focus your training program on increasing aerobic fitness by starting with a Sweet Spot Base phase.

This can be built up with short, powerful bursts at a level higher than the Functional Threshold Power, extended durations of low-intensity persistent effort, or sometimes a blend of these two. The aim is the same – to do aerobic exercise whilst progressively producing more power.

A simultaneous emphasis is placed on gradually increasing FTP through workouts that are greater than the threshold, such as over-under. Exercises like these strain your brain and body in a manner that implies the amount of exertion and discomfort needed to compete to the utmost of your capability in a timed competition.

A significant amount of muscle endurance activities are included in the Base Phase.

Exercises in the Sweet Spot area will elevate your endurance by operating at high but below maximum wattage for prolonged periods. Now is the perfect occasion to incorporate the work you have been doing in the aerodynamic time trial position and start perfecting your posture.


Developing your specialized time trial training to a more advanced level, the Sustained Power Build program will improve and increase your TT-centric forms of fitness.

It is only possible to be successful in a time trial if one has expended a lot of effort in providing a foundation of physical strength, consistency in riding form, and impressive muscular endurance. It is time to practice and perfect your time trial skills on a gradually increasing basis during a time specifically set aside for the competition.


This 40k TT Specialty phase focuses on gaining familiarity, improving endurance and increasing FTP right before the event. In contrast to the previous training stages, this one is especially tailored towards the race. Being familiar with riding for times close to the time of your main event has many advantages.

This custom training program consists of weekly drills that focus on time trials and offer you a chance to practice on the aero bike while going at contest velocity. These training routines are specifically created to assist you in attaining your top performance on the day of the race.

Pacing a Time Trial

Creating an efficient pacing plan is key for any cyclist trying to achieve their quickest time in a trial. A negative split pacing technique is almost always rewarded in a time trial and involves speeding up during the last half of the contest.

Begin with something easier than your capacity can manage and then progress to the highest level of endurance you can sustain at the conclusion. This is undoubtedly a tough element of time trialling, yet it yields significant benefits.

When climbing hills, do not create more power than 105% of what was estimated, and make sure to stay above 95% of the determined power while going downhill.

This is the optimal point where your body is least tired but runs at maximum velocity. Don’t forget to increase speed when going over a hill to pick up the pace.

Creating a performance objective for the day of the race is a key component of the planning procedure. The amount of power you want to reach will depend on how long you’re cycling. If you need help figuring out what power output you should aim for during your long event, have a look at How To Build A Pacing Plan For Long Events.

The time trial exercises you do provide a lot of chances to hone your desired power.

The more you ride at the intensity required for time trials, the more accustomed you will get to it and the more comfortable you will feel. The Specialty Phase is when event-practice workouts begin.

If you have been cycling in your training time trials, you will have a good understanding of your strength and past performances. Take advantage of this and don’t let another runner or time limit impact your plan for competing on the day of the race.

On-the-Road Experience

No matter how well you train, it doesn’t guarantee that you will be able to perform to the best of your abilities in an actual cycling race. During the Dark Ages, cyclists and triathletes typically stayed inside unless they had to do otherwise, and the switch back to outdoor gathers and competitions went on without any difficulty.

The abilities needed for outdoor activities might have become a little rusty, but returned with haste. With athletes spending more and more time training indoors, a gap has emerged between physical conditioning and expertise.

If you have put in an abundance of time indoors on a smart trainer while using platforms like Zwift, The Sufferfest, TrainerRoad, Rouvy, or FulGaz, you should have the strength and endurance to cycle in an outdoor group at 30 mph.

To remain safe and achieve success, you need to be adept at cycling shoulder-to-shoulder at fast speeds, know how to brake before curves, and be able to navigate proper routes while turning.

It’s like allowing people with no experience to drive Ferraris on the track with those who have been driving the same cars for an entire decade. All of the drivers on the race track have roughly the same amount of power in their vehicles, however, only a select few know how to manage the car properly.

For many years, typically, the improvement of cycling skills and speed have advanced together since new cyclists usually don’t have the strength to match the level of seasoned riders who have become used to riding quickly during the time that they have increased their fitness.

As riders acquired the force required to hit those speeds, they also learned the abilities required to manage these higher velocities. For athletes who mainly ride indoors, their usual process has completely changed, and it is resulting in some unfavourable and risky results.

Preparation for Time Trialling and Triathlons

Aerodynamics plays a significant role in the racing successes of triathletes and time trials. You can sit up straight while using an indoor cycling trainer to make your exertion more powerful. However, when it comes to a triathlon or a time trial taking place outdoors, it is essential to realize that making a misstep would be a significant error.

Having an upright seating position on the bicycle will result in greater output, but it will require more energy than when the rider is in an aerodynamic posture.

It is important to use a bike that is meant for your race and to be in an aerodynamic position when performing high-intensity exercises that simulate a race.

Although your performance abilities may not be as remarkable, you will be all set when the competition takes place. For easy, aerobic rides, any bike will do.

It is imperative for those individuals that participate in competitive triathlons to habituate themselves to the style of training necessary for good race performance. Although it may be amusing to participate in an electronic race, that really isn’t the concept of a triathlon.

Triathlon involves a consistent energy level throughout, with the only real variation taking place during ascents and descents of hills – this is typically when athletes have to increase or decrease their power. That is totally different from what occurs in an e-race.

Engaging in virtual races can be enjoyable at times, but frequent participation in them will be detrimental to achieving success in a triathlon.

It may come as a surprise, but the benefits of running varied races at different speeds do not transfer to improving performance in static-intensity races.

Learn and Practice in Group Rides

This post does not go into the specifics of teaching handling skills but if you are fresh to outdoor road racing, it is necessary to invest time in learning how to cycle in the slipstream of another rider, feel relaxed when riding near other cyclists, remain on an even course while looking back or imbibing, and properly position yourself while approaching a bend and alter your speed.

Group spins at a strenuous pace and with a focus on enduring are great for honing the basics due to the moderate speeds, lack of competition between cyclists for their spot in the bunch and enough strength to not lose contact even if a gap opens up momentary.

Beginning learners often resort to using force rather than dealing with awkward or unpleasant circumstances.

Rather than relying on your physical strength when entering a group ride or race for practice, try to avoid any difficulties by applying other techniques.

You can stay with the pack without using the drafting technique, however, you need to have the techniques to discern the breeze, uncover the optimal spot for drafting, and pedal with minimum space between you and the bike in front of you.

You may have the power to fill in huge breaks, but you need the aptitude to stop those breaks from occurring in the first instance.

Learn to Win Before Upgrading

Aspiring competitive road racers need to learn how to race and how to become victorious in the beginner levels before increasing the difficulty and advancing to the more competent level. Jumping into more difficult categories of cycling prematurely is one of the biggest blunders cyclists make.

The tactics to remain among the main group of cyclists, to form a break at the right moment to move away, to track the right cyclist to stay close to, and to successfully finish a dash to the finish line are things that can only be mastered through consistent practice.

When you can keep up with the speed and energy of the race competently, you can concentrate on strategies and making choices.

During a 60-minute bike race, you could have five separate attempts to forge a breakaway, participate in three intermediate sprints and the finish, and vary your position, ranging from being at the head to bringing up the rear and in between.

When athletes jump to a higher level too quickly, they have fewer chances to develop their skills and techniques because they need to use up a lot of mental and physical energy just to keep up with the others. Build your proficiency in skills that will lead to victory and you’ll be able to put these abilities to the test in the final sprint of a top-tier criterium.

Time Trial Positioning

Doing practice time trials will help you to become accustomed to what will be expected from your target activity. It’s best to practice on your racing bike frequently so that you are comfortable with it when race day comes.

Figuring out the equilibrium between aerodynamics, ease of use, and the amount of energy created when cycling with your bike fit. Having a thorough knowledge of your role and the resources you have at your disposal is key to feeling secure when you take part in your situation.


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