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The Key Ingredients for Triathlon Bike Success

The Key Ingredients for Triathlon Bike Success

The key to success is practice. A bike time trial performance is made up of several factors which we will discuss below.

P is for planning
Training for a triathlon’s bike leg demands comprehensive planning at daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly intervals, considering various life aspects like family, work, study, and lifestyle. It’s crucial to align your short and long-term goals with your evolving needs.

“P” also signifies power, essential for effective time trialling. Monitoring wattage, heart rate and cadence with advanced equipment can help enhance your pedal force and overall performance, a valuable tool for both pros and amateurs. Also remember that it’s great to develop power through bike training and a structured gym program, but during your race you need to manage the release rate of your energy, so you have something left for the run.

R is for rest
Rest is often underestimated in training. Inadequate rest can harm performance. It’s crucial to plan rest days to recover from intense training and bolster your immune system. Proper post-race rest and a suitable taper can elevate your performance from good to exceptional.

A is for adaptation and attitude
The outside influence of loved ones, peers, family, boss, teachers and dare I say it, coaches, has a big effect on your performance. If you are not sure of something that is being said to you, ask someone you trust to give you a good judgement call. It can make or break your performance.

C is for consistency
Being consistent in training has a huge impact on your performance. I have seen athletes of lesser ability put in a better performance than those gifted by genetics because they were at training all year, followed the program set for them, and set goals that were achievable if they trained consistently.

T is for training
Training needs to be scientific and artistic at the same time. It needs to be scientific by way of current data supplied and proven theory of training. The artistic approach is the ability to think outside the circle and look at new ideas to see if the science can be enhanced by changing it in some way to get a better performance. One example of science-based training is to spend time on your aero bars if you’re doing an Ironman. This will help your body adjust to the aerodynamic position.

I is for intake
Although it’s important to ride fast it’s even more important to stay hydrated, as you still need to run after your time trial. In a long distance race this is crucial – you can’t endure 42.2 kilometres on empty. You should practise drinking and eating during training and work out what strength of electrolyte drink works best for you. You should also try different liquid food products to learn how to stomach these during a time trial effort.

C is for conditioning
Conditioning the athlete sounds like a hair product advertisement, and it is along the same lines. You need to look after the body, i.e stretching and strengthening the body parts to be used in a constant manner, to help the body survive the rigours of sporting performance. Massage and rest will improve your performance immeasurably.

E is for energy
Triathlon is an endurance sport which requires significant sources of energy for training and achieving a high race performance. Therefore, hard training athletes need to eat the appropriate level of carbohydrate in the diet. Your calcium and iron levels need special attention as well (especially women). A poor diet in this sport could have long term ill effects on your health, not only your performance.

As you can see there are many things you need to think about when training for the bike leg of a triathlon. There is no magic formula but hopefully as they say, practice makes perfect


Stuart has competed in triathlons from Sprint to Ironman distance. As a qualified Triathlon Australia, Australian Athletics Run Coach, and a certified Ironman coach, he is aware of the importance of balancing training with lifestyle, thus complementing other important aspects of an athlete’s life (family, work, study commitments, etc.).

Contact Stuart at



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