Many of us share a common goal of improving our time trial time, however, don’t know how to go about doing so.
They don’t call time trials “The Race of Truth” for nothing; it is the most simple form of bike racing as it’s just you against the clock. Time trials are great training sessions and often overlooked, but they will help you improve as a cyclist.
There are many tips to help you save valuable seconds as you get more into them. I have listed some of the key ones below to help you get started!
This is crucial as your muscles need to have blood in them and pumped ready for the start. If your muscles are cold you will not be able to push them. The shorter the race the longer the warm-up needed and should include some high cadence efforts along with some short race pace efforts. A good warm-up will also make sure your heart rate is elevated before you start the race. A common mistake is not warming up before the start. This will then cause your HR to go up too quickly, making it very difficult to settle into a rhythm.
This is so very important as if you go out too hard you will blow up! The idea is to go out at what you can hold for the entire race and ideally give it a little extra towards the end. This is something that takes time to perfect. However, with the introduction of power meters, this has been made easier.
Your enemy on the bike is the wind so anything you can do to make you more aerodynamic will make you faster! There are many items you can buy to help you achieve this. These include different helmets, skinsuits and overshoes. However, your position on the bike will make the most impact. The idea is to make your frontal area as small as possible. But remember you have still got to be able to pedal!
Know the course
It’s a good idea to try and ride the course before the event if possible. This will help you to get an idea of the gradient, road surface, roundabouts, and will allow you to ride the course as hard as you can on the day. It’s also worth checking the wind speed and direction on the day to know what section you may need to push harder.
“To go you’re fastest you have to minimise the time you’re going slow”
Positive self talk
When racing a time trial there is no let-up and you are on the limit for the entire race. You need to be mentally strong and have the ability to switch off from the pain. Visualisation and positive self-talk can be very beneficial. Making sure you get plenty of turbo sessions in training will also help you get used to the constant force needed to be applied to the pedals. The turbo is also a great tool to improve your mental strength.
Good luck with your next time trial! If you are looking for more support take a look at our 25 mile TT Training Plan!