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Are You a Triathlete Training Like a Crit Racer?

Are you a triathlete training like a crit racer? Or the other way around? Read on to find out.

At BPC, we are firm believers in specificity with regards to achieving that PEAK in athletic performance. The training that an athlete is putting their body through should reflect the demands that their goal event is going to require. Hopefully this post will shed a little light on how you should be training depending on your goal event.

In order to keep this short, sweet, and to the point: Triathletes should make sure they are incorporating longer, steady state intervals into their training program.

Want some visual proof? Here is a power file from an athlete who recently participated in the hilly Mighty Mite triathlon:

Mighty Mite

The red line represents threshold for this athlete. Peak power spike was 185% of threshold and it is clear that the athlete did not stay there for long.

The peaks in this file come from hills and the troughs are from descending down the other side. Less than 10 times during this 35+ minute bike leg did our athlete stop pedaling.

And here’s a look at that same athletes power file from the much flatter, Memphis in May Triathlon:

Screen Shot 2013-08-01 at 1.11.26 PM

The red line again represents threshold. This was a longer event and the goal for our athlete was to keep power below threshold. Power falls off at the end a bit, but wind along with prepping for the run account for that. Very consistent effort – very little time spent not pedaling.

The goal for a triathlete during the bike is to complete the leg as quickly as possible while still maintaining a level of energy necessary to finish strong on the run. It is because of this that you see very even pacing targeted very near this athletes threshold. Huge spikes in power require recovery, and recovery generally comes at a loss of overall avg. speed. We can do a whole separate blog on pacing, so that’s where we’ll leave that.

If you are a triathlete, take note of how often you spend coasting during a workout. Do you only ride with groups? Odds are you’re spending a lot of time hitting peaks and troughs in your training. Might be time to change that up!

Again, to keep this short and sweet: Criterium racers need to include short burst, high power anaerobic work into your training program.

For proof, let’s take a look at a file from the recent TN State Criterium:

Crit file

 

The red line again represents threshold for this (different) athlete. The blue line shows roughly where 200% of threshold would be for this athlete. Peak power was right at 350% of threshold during this race. As compared to the triathlete’s power file, take note of how many times the athlete stops pedaling (pink line hits the bottom).

So what can be taken from this power file in a general sense?

– Crit racing requires numerous, repeated power spikes greater than 200% of threshold.

– Periods of rest (where the pink line bottoms out) are generally followed by high spikes in power. This is typically coming out of corners and following attacks.

That’s all for now!

Want to make sure your training is going to help your racing? Not sure how and when to incorporate race specific training? Drop us a line!

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