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4 Cycling Workouts To Avoid Junk Miles | Triathlon Training Explained

4 Cycling Workouts To Avoid Junk Miles | Triathlon Training Explained


(upbeat music plays) – Welcome back to the Triathlon
Training Explained Show, powered by Training Beats. Today, we’re going to be
addressing junk miles. But more importantly, how to avoid them. – Yeah, I mean if you’re anything like me, then you’ll love riding your bike. As long as the sun is out,
the longer the better. That isn’t necessarily always the case, and it does depend what you’re
trying to get out of it. – As enjoyable as riding the
bike is for riding’s sake, these junk miles won’t be
helpful for you in training towards your long-term goal. – Yeah, and it might sound
slightly contradictive, because you’d think normally,
the longer you do something or the more you do it, the
better you’re going to get. But it isn’t always the case, and cycling is one of those exceptions. So, we’re going to be explaining why and then, more importantly,
giving you tips on how to avoid those wasted miles. (intense electronic music plays) – If your goal is just
to maintain the fitness that you’ve already got, and to be able to enjoy long rides
with your friends, then there is nothing wrong with
those long, steady rides, of course. Before we go any further,
it’s worth pointing out, that long, steady miles do have a point in pretty much all training
programmes at certain points, but we’ll come more onto that later on. – But we’re guessing if
you’re watching this video, it’s because you want to avoid junk miles. That’s because, as
cyclists and triathletes, we just want to go faster
and be able to get stronger. – [Woman] As athletes, we
tend to be limited for time. Most of us will have a goal. With that in mind, you
want to make every mile that you ride on your bike count. You’re not gonna get stronger and faster, if you’re just doing all of
your training in one zone, or at one pace. – [Man] So work out where your goal is. You might be training
for a sprint triathlon, or even preparing for
full-distance iron man. Perhaps entering a sportive, or something like a bike gratadium. All of these events will
have their own types of sessions and specific
training tailored for them. (upbeat music) – So, whatever your goal, in order to get faster, fitter, and
stronger, you are gonna have to mix up your training. There’s no point in doing
the same thing every day, plodding along, stopping
for coffee and cake whenever you like. As much as we love to, it’s
not gonna help you on race day, when you suddenly expect your
legs to find another gear or two. – [Man] And let’s be honest,
who doesn’t like a bit of variety in life, whether that be mental or physical change? It helps keep the mind
and the body guessing. Mixing up your sessions
like this won’t only help you motivate yourself,
but it will improve you as an athlete. (upbeat electronic music plays) – Training for cycling
can be broken into zones, for heart rate or power. Now, junk miles fall into zones 1 and 2, but there are several
zones higher than that that will give you a lot more benefit when it comes to your training. – So, the same thing that
workouts have to split up into different zones,
depending on our heart rate or our power ranges. How many of these zones do
we need and how do we divide our time up between them? – You might well hear variation
in the number of totals anything from five, six,
seven, through to eight and within those you’ve
got a variation in the upper and lower limits. Just to confuse things slightly more, some people might label them as your base, easy recovery zone, endurance, threshold , and at the top level, speed. But, it’s not really relevant. It’s more important to
understand the reasoning behind the zones. – For simplicity, let’s use
the five zone breakdown. We’ll talk about the rate
of perceived exertion, or RPE scale. – [Man] On a scale of one to
ten, with one being very easy, two and three easy, four
to five somewhat hard, eight becomes hard, and nine
into ten, almost a max effort. Something you’d hold for
no more than two minutes. (jazzy music) – Zone one really is easy. It’s up to a four out of ten
on the perceived effort scale. You’re going to feel like
you’ve hardly done any work at the end of the session. If you’re like that,
then it probably means you’ve got it pretty spot on. (jazzy music) – This should feel fairly
comfortable, at least in the beginning. But you will be working if
you’re out there for a few hours. We recommend effort level
five to six on the RPE scale. But please remember
that if you’re out there for a few hours, conversational
pace has to remain the whole time. (jazzy music) – This is where it gets a little bit grey. You’re not getting the
benefits that you do from those really slow, steady,
aerobic easy miles, but also, you’re not getting
the benefits from going hard enough that you would at race pace. So, it’s somewhere in the middle. Effort wise, at about
six or seven out of ten. You should still be able
to have a conversation. It’s just going to have a
little bit less structure. (jazzy music) – This is a race pace zone. I’m afraid you’re going
to have to be good shape to hold on to this
effort for up to an hour. But, let’s not forget, the
definition of threshold is something that we can
sustain for that period of time. You’ll know when you’re in zone four. Breathing’s laboured,
legs are trembling, and you really just want to have to stop. This is going to be an RPE
scale of eight or nine. (jazzy music) – Ouch, this is going to hurt. It’s right up there. A nine or ten, out of
ten for effort level. So, with that in mind, they
are going to be shorter. Anything from around
20 to 30 seconds, up to potentially five minutes. But, these are really
important if you get close to your race. Especially, if you’ve got
a shorter distance event. (upbeat music) It’s time we looked at some
example sessions that can help you structure your training. So, first up, we have
got sweet spot training. That is aimed at around 90% of your FTP. But, don’t worry if you’re
not familiar with FTP, you can also use heart rate,
and that would be around 75-85% of your maximum heart rate. If, however, you are
riding purely to feel, then it’s going to be moderately hard. So, around a seven out
of ten on the RPE scale. It should feel tough, but sustainable. To give you a bit more of an idea, if your riding with other
people, you should be able to hold just a very short conversation. Although, it’s probably
more advisable that you save your breath for this effort. You start with a 15
minute, steady warm up. And then, you’re going to have a main set, of four lots of ten minutes
at your sweet spot effort that we just talked about. Followed by a five minute
recovery for each one. A 15 minute block, times
four, and then finish off with a 15 minute easy warm
down, which, will give you a total session of 85 minutes. Obviously, you can make
this shorter or further, depending on where you
are with your training. (upbeat techno music) – [Man] Obviously, this
is only relevant if you live or train somewhere
where hilly, and the length and gradient of those
hills, will of course vary on your location. But, that’s why you’ve got
to have some flexibility built in to your training,
when your looking at these types of sessions. – [Man] Incorporating hills
into long rides is a great way to be able to mix things up. It also means that we don’t
have to worry about things like heart rate, power, and
time that we’re on the bike. But when you do hit a
hill, make sure it is hard. Get the lungs working, really
get that burn in your legs. And also, in the winter time,
they’re a really good way just to keep warm. (jazzy music) – [Man] If you want
something more structured, find a good hill, five to
eight percent gradient, and give this session a try. Warm up for 10 to 15 minutes,
including a few 20 to 30 second surges, while
both seated and standing. As your main set, let’s aim
for up to six minutes in an upper zone four for effort. But possibly creeping into zone five as we finish the interval. All the while trying to stay
seated for as long as possible. Your recovery is simply
spinning around and returning to the bottom. Try to make sure that this
at least three minutes, but do take up to six if you need it. Because that gives us a one
to one ratio of intervals to rest. To begin with, aim to repeat
this three times through and over time you can
progress this up to six intervals that could
be a really good goal. To warm down, just spin,
nice and easy, home. – This type of session is great
for getting a winter base. But, also for mixing up your
training and it’s become more popular recently. We’ve seen the likes of pros
Daniela Ryf, the Iron Man world champion, using it
in her training, even in her build up to Kona. And also, it does reiterate,
making sure you get a nice, smooth, pedal stroke. Let me quickly explain what
I mean by over gearing. It is being in a big gear, a hard gear. So, the big cog at the front,
and this you’ll get that grinding feeling, which will
naturally reduce your cadence. And it will draw your attention
to your muscle recruitment. And actually increase
muscle fatigue in the legs. It’s great for training. But, it’s worth
remembering as triathletes, you actually want to come
off the bike in a race with less fatigue. So for that, you’re going to
want to have a higher cadence. Just make sure, you mix
up some over gearing, with some faster leg spinning as well. – [Man] We’re going to
suggest three sets through of five minutes at a low
cadence of around 65 rpm. If you don’t have a cadence
answer, don’t worry, just try and think of it
roughly one pedal stroke per second. Following this, by three
minutes of easie spinning at a significantly higher
cadence, say 90 plus RPM. Then, we’ll just roll straight
back into the next set to complete three sets through in total. As you adapt to the session,
progression be continuing up to five or six sets
of these over and unders. – As a science, these sessions
need to be short and fast because it is actually
important to remind the legs to go fast from time to time. You might say, why do I
need to go that fast if I’m only doing something like a
half iron man or an iron man? But it’s crucial to work
your top end speed, because that will actually help
improve your race pace. (upbeat music) So within a steady 90 minute
ride, try to include three sets of five times 20 second
all out, with a minute and 40 easy spin. So, that’s a two minute cycle total. And then take four minutes
nice and easy riding in between the sets. (upbeat music) – [Woman] As we mentioned at
the beginning of the video, there is a time and place
for those long miles. And in the off-season, I
personally love just getting out on my bike, going for a
long ride with a friend, making it social, stopping
for coffee and cake. And also, sometimes I
just get on my bike for a bit of a commute to work,
because you can’t beat that feeling of that fresh air. It’s like time to clear your mind. – And remember, riding your
bike should be enjoyable. And some miles are
definitely better than none. Perhaps, you spend a lot of
time with an indoor trainer, so getting out and learning
how to handle your bike in all conditions does help. And also, you could benefit
from riding in bad weather, dare I say, because you never
know what’s going to happen in a race. – Yeah, but if you do want
to get fitter, stronger, and be able to race better,
like we talked about, you are going to need to mix it up. So, why not give one
of those session a go? And let us know how you
get on with that as well. Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed this. Hit the thumb up, like
button if you haven’t. And to make sure you get
all our videos here at DTN, just hit the globe. And, we talked about sweet
spot, but if you want a bit more detail on sweet
spot training, there’s a video specifically on that, that which you can find just here. – And if you’re time starved
then we’ve got a video on five tips for strategies when you have no time here.

19 comments on “4 Cycling Workouts To Avoid Junk Miles | Triathlon Training Explained

  1. Guys this is confusing. You first say zone 3 is a grey area, but then go on saying sweet spot is a great workout and basically it's a zone 3 effort. And why are you doing all this blabla about zones if you're not using it in the second part of the video?

  2. feeling a bit smug as not been doing any junk miles what so ever thanks to GCN training videos talking of which its about time you guys started making a few for us to follow..another gr8 video guys loving the content

  3. Being 61 yrs young and in the sport since 1985 and looking back in the rear view mirror of my training for my comment is each person at what ever time in life they are in , there is no cookie cutter view for all . I am 61 training so when I am 71 am fit yes , but healthy . So all who are in there 20's or 30's , are you training for just today or next yr or to be were I am 20 30 yrs down the road , healthy ? Junk food ? yes, junk miles ? ,balance in everything

  4. This advice is wrong. the best athletes in the world spend 90% of their training time at "junk mile pace" zone 1 or 2 (ie. below LT1, the lower of the lactic acid turn points). Have a listen to the fast talk podcast from velonews who have actually interviewed the best sports scientist in the world on this topic Dr. Stephen Seiler (he actually studied what the best endurance athletes actually do). This translates down to amateur athletes also

  5. I have been competing in Triathlon since 1984 & really only started doing bike sessions that included intervals or zone 3 efforts in the last year. It really does work. I’m seeing bike times that I haven’t achieved for 15-20 years. Thanks for the video. It explains it all quite well. The hard part,of course, is knowing when to include these rides. Perhaps something on how to construct a 6-12 week build up might be worthwhile?

  6. Can you explain the GTN logo? I understand the GCN logo, it is clear. But this one seems to have no meaning, no figurine.

  7. Hi Guys ! I have been now following you for a couple of months ! Started heart training 3 weeks ago with the competition (halfironman) on the 02/06. I found interesting what you guys say about junk miles. I have started biking with heart rate for a long session of 3hrs but only on zone 2 (70/80%) and a bit of Zone 4(85/90%) . How long do you think my trainings should be (mixing zone 2/4/5) getting close to race day? A long training might not be beneficial? Anyway, I like what you guys do, I found it really useful keep it up

  8. For me, there are only 5 zones, and those are the heartrate zones by polar, where hzone 1 is rest, 2 is aerobic, 3 is grey or junkmiles, 4 is building strength/speed and 5 is speed

  9. How did you make calculation for short and fast efforts? Its written that entire session take 90 min but when you look at the training it is (20 sec + 100 sec rest )* 5 + 4 min = 14 minutes, that is times 3 which gives 42 min. So how is that 90 minutes effort?

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