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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Some quick background info about my wife and I, we not competitive athletes, we are doing Ironman just to be able to say we did it. Last year we decided to sign up for a half iron distance with about 2 months notice and having never done a triathlon before. We did a sprint distance and a Olympic distance, leading up to it and we completed the half iron just fine, using cyclocross bikes with 700c32 tires for all of them. The goal is simply to finish before the 17 hour cutoff but we'd be real happy with 15ish hours. Biking is our strongest discipline. We've been riding on the road for about a year now (with the cross bikes) but we do a lot of mountain biking, it's our main hobby. We recently bought some tri bikes for doing the full iron distance.


We just moved to the Denver area, our events base elevation is around 500 feet above sea level but we'll have the advantage of training at a base elevation 5,000 feet higher than that. Since we live in a mountain area we've been riding a lot of elevation lately (by choice). Our training hasn't actually started yet, we have one more week before starting our 20 week program.


Saturday we took our tri bikes out, here's my issue, we are on compact cranks- no granny gears. We just got cadence sensors for our Garmin's and had a chance to use it for the first time on this past ride. In total it was 57 miles with about 6000 feet of elevation, but 4,000 feet were over the first 18 miles. Between the ridiculous steepness of the mountain road and the tallish gearing of the tri bikes I noticed most of the climbing on that road was at a cadence in the 30-40 rpm range. Spinning 80+ rpm up that mountain is not going to happen.


Is doing that kind of climbing helping or hurting the cause? I'm sure it's putting extra stress on joints pushing a higher gear like that and it's definitely burning out our legs more than a higher cadence would but is that good for training? Is it a break the muscle down and come back stronger type of thing or a stop doing that all your doing is wearing yourself out type of thing?


This is the GPS for our ride Saturday Flagstaff & Boulder Loop by RyanTheVWTech at Garmin Connect - Details


This is the elevation graph for the bike portion of our Ironman http://www.ironman.com/~/media/28d219916de4476a92720ac1412816d5/louisville bikeelevation 2012.pdf




Should we cut out the climbs are stick to more flat ("flat" our here will still have more elevation gain than our race route)? Any other advise/recommendations on what to do/how to train for the bike portion?
 

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IMO, You should really try to spin faster than 30-40 rpm. With a little practice 80 will be no problem.
The fast spinning will build your aerobic base, and you will need that for the 140.6....

With the Iron distance Nutrition is going to play a huge role in your performance. Over the 15 hours you plan to finish in you are going to lose alot of calories and you need to refuel them before its too late.

Since you are just trying to finish, you are at an advantage because cycling is your strong suit; and that is the bulk of the 140.6 distance. You just need to survive the swim and as long as your bike time is good you can pretty much walk the marathon.

Best of luck to you and your wife,

Jon
 

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Different cassette. And think about specificity of your training. Are there a lot of massive hills?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
IMO, You should really try to spin faster than 30-40 rpm. With a little practice 80 will be no problem.
The fast spinning will build your aerobic base, and you will need that for the 140.6....

With the Iron distance Nutrition is going to play a huge role in your performance. Over the 15 hours you plan to finish in you are going to lose alot of calories and you need to refuel them before its too late.

Since you are just trying to finish, you are at an advantage because cycling is your strong suit; and that is the bulk of the 140.6 distance. You just need to survive the swim and as long as your bike time is good you can pretty much walk the marathon.

Best of luck to you and your wife,

Jon
I know I need to spin faster, on the non-mountain roads my comfortable cruising cadence falls in the 75-85 range. What I'm saying is I can't double my cadence (and speed) going up the mountain road, it's a long steep brutal climb. Are we wasting our efforts doing that climb when with the gearing we have the cadence is so low or will that extra effort by our legs help in the long run.

Nutrition is something we have been experimenting around with since last summers 70.3. It's definitely been a big focus of ours. We are big fans of Honey Stinger products and for a while now we've been eating a package of the chews before every workout. Plus more of them every 45 minutes or so into workouts so our bodies adapt to digesting during work. We throw in a cliff bar on anything longer than 3 hours. And usually start with a PB&J about 60-90 minutes prior to starting longer stuff.

And thanks, were pretty confident that we'll be able to finish it, but a little luck will help. I figure I should have some good karma coming my way after getting 3 flat during the second half of the 70.3 ride with only 1 spare and only 1 aid vehicle having tubes large enough to a cross bike not on road slicks lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Different cassette. And think about specificity of your training. Are there a lot of massive hills?

A larger cassette isn't a bad idea. How much can you change it before cage length and chain length become an issue? I'm told the event has a couple hard climbs, like they have a short out and back off shoot that you ride down into a rock quarry type thing and pedal up the other sidejust to u-turn and do it the other way, but really I can't see it being much based on that elevation graph they provided. I don't think training FOR climbs is necessary based on the race route, but I'm thinking training with some legitimate huge climbs will make the ride seem that much easier come race day?
 

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Low cadence and big load will make you blow up faster. Like that old saying, you play like you practice.
 

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On occasion. Isn't the whole idea of the bike ride to save your legs for the run? That means spinning. And there are about a jillion online training plans and books, what do they say?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I've looked at about half a jillion things so far, if they all said the same thing and agreed on one thing there wouldn't be so many. Perfect example as said above, train for how your going to race... But than again you see plenty of stuff saying low volume high intensity, train for heart rate zones, train time and not distance, distance not time, cross train (like low cadence gear mashing up long steep climbs?). I've done a lot of research on things.

My reason for this thread isn't to have others do research for me. I was hoping that being a "coaching" forum I could get some real world first hand input based on my specific situation instead of the generic blanket statements I've been finding all over the internet. (I hope that doesn't come across as combative or anything, it's not meant too but I know things can get lost in translation on the internet, especially when typing from a smart phone. I do appreciate the feedback thus far.)
 

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I don't think hills in themselves are a problem, I think it's more that a TT bike is the wrong tool for the hills. If I'm getting the gist of what you've said, the 'no granny gears' (and a bit of extra weight) is what's hurting your cadence on the climbs.

Even the pros don't use TT bikes on some uphill TTs because it's just not worth the extra weight regardless of gearing.

I'd say, if you're going to train on the TT bikes, plan a route that will simulate your Ironman route then break that down into intervals or extend it or whatever. I'd second that statement of practice like you play.

All in all though, hill climbing won't hurt your fitness. It's the grinding out 4-6k of elevation on a TT bike that's a bit much.
 

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What Guod said. I don't think climbing on a TT bike would do much good, but climbing on a road bike at times would be good cross training. And I wasn't implying that you were letting people do your research. Sorry. I was trying to say that at some point, you find a plan that seems logical and doable, and try it. It's a process.
 

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You are not getting the answers you want due to the complexity of the question asked( it seems simple but alot of it depends) I also think that you would benefit greatly by reading Triathalon Training Bible by Joe Friel. I could be wrong but it seems to me from your posts that you have very good fitness and have been very active but do not have experience with more structured training programs. I am guessing but when you say your 20 week training program starts in a week it is not laid out by week by week , day by day, work out by workout by time and intensity. If it was, the question would be answered for you. Training peaks.com is a great website for assisting in planning and tracking your workouts and I believe they have some training programs for Ironman distance triathalons which might help.

To try and answer what I think you are asking, it depends on what the purpose of your climbing is? To improve climbing it is best to climb more, but since your course is flat probably cut back on it. Yes it will improve force and muscular endurance which will help you more easily push a bigger gear on the flatter course (speed) but not necessarily help with endurance.

What limiters are you trying to train? IM is about endurance I would place most of my emphasis there. Hence, the advice train for how you race. If you are saying that your legs are giving out before your lungs at that distance, then muscular endurance training might be appropriate but probably only once per week and even then at least 50-60 rpm.(drill I do).

I would also suggest spending alot of time getting really comfortable in your aero bike position ( if you have not already) a good fit might be in order to insure this as tri-bike is no good to you if you are sitting up in the bullhorns or back so sore after you can't run. This equates to endurance paced rides inthe aero position, ( mountains are not suited to this but elevation is)

The larger cassette seems unnecessary as you have a cross bike, unless you could use it there to help you spin more. I would use the cross bike for mountains.

I hope this helps! Good luck.
 

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I have ridden in the boulder/golden area....Flagstaff, Lookout Mountain, and other areas....i do not understand how you cannot find a gear that will let you spin 70-90 rpms comfortably up flagstaff? What gearing are you running?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
You are not getting the answers you want due to the complexity of the question asked( it seems simple but alot of it depends) I also think that you would benefit greatly by reading Triathalon Training Bible by Joe Friel. I could be wrong but it seems to me from your posts that you have very good fitness and have been very active but do not have experience with more structured training programs. I am guessing but when you say your 20 week training program starts in a week it is not laid out by week by week , day by day, work out by workout by time and intensity. If it was, the question would be answered for you. Training peaks.com is a great website for assisting in planning and tracking your workouts and I believe they have some training programs for Ironman distance triathalons which might help.

To try and answer what I think you are asking, it depends on what the purpose of your climbing is? To improve climbing it is best to climb more, but since your course is flat probably cut back on it. Yes it will improve force and muscular endurance which will help you more easily push a bigger gear on the flatter course (speed) but not necessarily help with endurance.

What limiters are you trying to train? IM is about endurance I would place most of my emphasis there. Hence, the advice train for how you race. If you are saying that your legs are giving out before your lungs at that distance, then muscular endurance training might be appropriate but probably only once per week and even then at least 50-60 rpm.(drill I do).

I would also suggest spending alot of time getting really comfortable in your aero bike position ( if you have not already) a good fit might be in order to insure this as tri-bike is no good to you if you are sitting up in the bullhorns or back so sore after you can't run. This equates to endurance paced rides inthe aero position, (mountains are not suited to this but elevation is)

The larger cassette seems unnecessary as you have a cross bike, unless you could use it there to help you spin more. I would use the cross bike for mountains.

I hope this helps! Good luck.

Our training plan is a "super simple" one. It has a daily training schedule but the bike training isn't very specific. Day 1 week one has "40 minute bike with 6 20 second sprints" and a swim workout. Day 3 has a swim workout and "40 minute easy bike" Day 5 is "25 mile endurance bike". It's designed to be simple and easy to follow, it doesn't get any more specific than that.

I'd like to think I'm in decent shape to start but nothing special. And you're absolutely right, I have ZERO experience with training plans. For our half iron we just kinda winged it. We kinda made up training as we went, in the beginning we swam a lot because we took lessons, but after getting comfortable in the pool I commuted to work alot (13 miles each way) ran 3-7 miles most days after work, swam before work a few days a week, and I did longer (50-60) mile rides on saturday's with a brick run after.

We got BG Fit's done on our cross bikes before the half and it was definitely worth it. We got BG Fits included in our tri bikes and had them done the day we picked them up. We've been spending alot of time on our tri bikes lately to get used to it like you said, but your right, climbing with them doesn't utilize the aero extensions.
 

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Our training plan is a "super simple" one. It has a daily training schedule but the bike training isn't very specific. Day 1 week one has "40 minute bike with 6 20 second sprints" and a swim workout. Day 3 has a swim workout and "40 minute easy bike" Day 5 is "25 mile endurance bike". It's designed to be simple and easy to follow, it doesn't get any more specific than that.

I'd like to think I'm in decent shape to start but nothing special. And you're absolutely right, I have ZERO experience with training plans. For our half iron we just kinda winged it. We kinda made up training as we went, in the beginning we swam a lot because we took lessons, but after getting comfortable in the pool I commuted to work alot (13 miles each way) ran 3-7 miles most days after work, swam before work a few days a week, and I did longer (50-60) mile rides on saturday's with a brick run after.

We got BG Fit's done on our cross bikes before the half and it was definitely worth it. We got BG Fits included in our tri bikes and had them done the day we picked them up. We've been spending alot of time on our tri bikes lately to get used to it like you said, but your right, climbing with them doesn't utilize the aero extensions.
Did you get your question answered? Training does not have to be super complicated especially if it detracts from the fun and especially if your goal is only to finish. I would encourage you to look at the two resources I mentioned in the last post particularly the Tri Bible as it will probably be a good resource for future questions. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Yeah, our normal road rides as it is will have more elevation than our event so we'll cut the mountain climbs out completely when using our tri bikes. During the "endurance" rides just focus on miles and staying int he aero position. I don't think we'll bother doing the mountain road climbs at all anymore while were training. If were gonna do a tough, lots of climbing, ride we'll make it fun and do it on rocky dirt single track :D

I'll definitely check out the Tri Bible, I appreciate the input :thumbsup:
 
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