"Bike for show, run for dough”, who has heard this before in the triathlon world?
The Implication of this saying may be that you should ride strong to impress, and that it’s all about a solid run… don’t get me wrong…. a good run is definitely key to a great overall race performance, but this idea devalues the impact of a well-executed bike, which by the way, usually takes up to 50% of your total race time.
And… too many triathletes focus on the wrong things during the bike segment… either racing someone else… thinking about that power file that will be awed by so many once uploaded to Strava.
Many triathletes think that swimming is the most technical of the 3 disciplines…. my hope in this series is to illuminate that technique is vital in all 3 disciplines of triathlon. So… I have asked for additional expert input from bike sage Burke Jolly. Here are our collaborative thoughts on the piece of the bike puzzle to an overall GREAT triathlon race.
We have heard it said from a wise coach and are sure it has been passed on from other coaches but it goes, "it's not practice that makes perfect...its perfect practice makes perfect." We say this because what we are about to say may be difficult to handle. Fall in love with your trainer. We repeat, Fall in love with your trainer. This is the most low tech useful piece of equipment in your cycling arsenal. How do you improve your split? Add oodles of volume? No, fall in love with your trainer. How do you get comfortable on your bike? Spend tens of thousands of dollars on the latests greatest bike and bike fitter? No, fall in love with your trainer. How do you change your pedal stroke? Constant steady-state riding? No, fall in love with your trainer. How do you lower your HR? Fall in love with your trainer.......we could go all day....
It is not all the latest and greatest gadgets, like the new Wahoo trainer, power meter, or multi-sport Garmin watch. These things are nice and can
aid, but it is the trainer that is king. Just like it was said about pool workouts, we gravitate to things that are comfortable and "easy" for us. There is nothing easy about a trainer.
On a trainer is where you can practice perfection. It is here with zero distractions that you can focus on YOUR engine, YOUR pedal stroke, YOUR body positon, YOUR shoulder and head position, YOUR breathing, YOUR lower back, and YOUR abdominal engagement. You can do these things on a trainer because you can solely focus on these things. You can concentrate on you and not on the road ahead.
We all have seen the post of pros just running on a treadmill with their closet competitors image in front of them for motivation. (anybody happen to see Lionel Sanders’ post after Kona? LOL) Do you know why they train inside? Because they can control what was previously uncontrollable.
Performance in your triathlon (swim, bike AND run) is central to maximizing speed while managing energy usage. If you can wrap your brain around your bike segment as a way to time gains, reduced energy costs and improved run performance; and you want to get better - invest your time wisely. Fall in love with your trainer and be smart about how you train.