Ask Aaron: Speed Work And Getting Aero

  • By Aaron Hersh
  • Published May 19, 2011
  • Updated May 19, 2011 at 7:13 PM UTC

Q: Hi Aaron,

I’m training for an Ironman this summer and I’m starting to get a little bit tired of the long training. Any training suggestions to keep myself interested?


A: Speed work! Hours and hours in the saddle and on the running trails are both a necessity for Ironman racing, no doubt, but grinding through training sessions that sap your enthusiasm for the sport are counterproductive.

Try replacing a long steady run with a short and intense track workout, and leave your watch at home. Instead of holding yourself to specific time goals, judge your pace and effort off of feel.

After a 15-minute warm-up try something like this:




All with a 400-meter running recovery between repeats. Not only will this workout net you about 8-9 miles of running, but stepping away from the grind of Ironman-specific training for a few days can go a long way toward refreshing your motivation. Plus, the occasional track session will most likely improve your long-distance running as well.


Q: Hi Aaron,

I have gone from road riding all my life to transitioning to triathlon. I was recently professionally fit to a new bike, as I have done in the past for my road bikes, so I knew the proper geometry for the chosen bike as it relates to my measurements, etc. I went through the whole fitting process and analysis and have been set to my optimal measurements for all aspects of the bike. After my first few rides I was amazed at how easy it was to transition from a road bike to a tri bike, but there is one flaw in that transition: my sight line.

Although I feel comfortable in the aero position, my sight line is only about 6 feet straight ahead, so I find myself coming out of the aero position to make sure all is OK in front of me, which thus defeats the purpose of being aero. Now being a newbie to the sport, please excuse my question if it is obvious to most of your followers, but how far should my sight line be in front of me, and if it needs to be longer than it is, what would you suggest I change in my positioning to still stay within an optimal range while in my aerobars?

Thanks in advance for your help!


A: Brian,

You are grappling with one of the real shortcomings of an aggressive triathlon position. Even if your hips are comfortable in a very low position that situates your torso close to horizontal, there is still a chance that you will experience discomfort in your “undercarriage” or your neck. When your torso is positioned aggressively, it forces you to lift your head substantially to look up the road.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a ton you can do to alleviate that stress on your neck without raising your bars.

One thing you can do to help tolerate that position is strengthening your neck. The other option is to raise your bars to help your see up the road.

Sorry there isn’t a perfect answer, but your fitter should be able to help tweak your position to alleviate your neck pain. It might come at the cost of your ideal position, however.


Q: Hey Aaron,

I’m very new to the triathlon world and I’m not ready (or experienced) to invest in a full-on tri bike, but I thought getting a pair of clip-on aerobars for my current road bike would be a nice and productive upgrade. Do you have any suggestions or recommendations on a clip on that doesn’t exceed the $120 price tag?


A: Sam,

First things first, buying an aerobar for your road bike creates very specific needs, in addition to your price limit. Mainly, it has to position the pads high above the bars and far back toward the cyclist.

The rear of a triathlon bike is designed to help the rider lean far over to meet the aerobars, but road bikes do not share that attribute. To compensate for this geometric compromise that comes along with riding a road bike with aerobars, the pads must be positioned high above the bike and close to the rider so he or she is not forced to rotate downward to meet the bars.

Some bars that fit that mold at a moderate price point are the Profile Design T1 Plus, the Bontrager Race Lite Aero Clip-On Aerobar, and the Vision Vector Clip-On.

Thanks for the questions this week!


FILED UNDER: Gear & Tech TAGS: / / / / / / /

Aaron Hersh

Aaron Hersh

Aaron Hersh is the Senior Tech Editor of Triathlete magazine. To submit a question, write Aaron at

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