My bike training is very similar in structure to my run training and has evolved along the lines Matt Fitzgerald discusses in his article Minimalist Ironman Training (see especially points 4 & 5), to become more time-efficient as I have less free time for hours of bike training every year due to work and family commitments.
Now I tend to do 3-4 bike rides a week, 3 during my base training and then usually 4 a week later in my training cycle. How does this break down?
1) VO2 Max/hard interval session
This ride is usually around 60 mins and includes several short, high intensity intervals with quite long rest periods. As the season progresses, my work intervals increase in length and rest periods reduce.
2) A tempo session
Again this ride is around 60 mins in length and features longer intervals closer to FTP (my one hour race pace) with rest periods. Again as the season progresses, the intervals tend to increase in length and rest periods reduce in length
3) A long ride
The long varies a lot. During the winter months my long ride is about 90 mins and gradually increases until I start going outside to ride in late March. I don’t much like riding more than 2 hours at home but this gives me sufficient strength to ride for about 3-3.5 hours outside and build to 6 hours over the next 10-12 weeks before I do my first Ironman race, usually in June.
Some weeks I add some races pace intervals into my long ride and other weeks I take it a bit easier.
4) A recovery ride/low intensity ride
When I have time or the weather is good I will do another ride, often outdoor or an Trainerroad indoor recovery ride of between 30-45 minutes.
Bike training and TrainerRoad
Luckily the Trainerroad training plans I have chosen to follow are well laid-out for all cyclists. They now also have triathlon specific training plans so you can just follow along, as I usually do in my base training phase, or adapt one to suit your availability and training goals. I do this as the season progresses, usually doing my interval sessions at home on my turbo trainer and my longer and easier rides out on the road.
I can really recommend taking this approach to training. Not only is it time-efficient but indoor training is more fun and overall training time is considerably less. You will also see your results improving when combining this kind of training plan with proper rest and recovery.
Fancy trying Trainerroad for yourself? Let me know and I can send you code for a one month FREE trial!