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Secrets For Short-Course Triathlon Speed

  • By Gordo Byrn
  • Published Jul 10, 2013
Photo: Kurt Hoy


Ride faster in your next Olympic-distance triathlon using a long-course mindset.

A few years ago, I shifted from long to short and from elite to amateur. By approaching my short-course racing with the mind-set of a long-distance athlete, I was able to improve my ability to ride fast over the Olympic distance. My four key techniques included:

1. Race-duration intervals
2. Sustained uphill sets to build specific strength
3. Long climbs for race-pace levels of output
4. Race-duration time trials (TTs)

With Ironman training, it takes an entire season to build the stamina necessary to cover the iron distance. However, with short-course racing it’s possible to train your entire race duration in a single session. I recommend that you take this further and train your race duration in your longest intervals.

Race-duration Workout

- On a flat course, gradually build your effort to 25 beats per minute (BPM) under the average heart rate than you expect to ride in the race. Hold this effort for 90–120 minutes of continuous riding.
- As your fitness improves, insert blocks of 3–12 minutes duration where you ride at an intensity level of one heart rate zone higher.

In your specific preparation phase, insert two to three workouts where you seek to hold a race duration effort that’s 90 percent of goal race power.

The greatest challenge with Ironman preparation is recovering from all the training that’s packed into a week. As a result, long-course athletes become specialists with getting workouts done that don’t require long periods of recovery. In other words, we seek techniques where we can do work at low to moderate heart rates. My favorite technique for this type of work is riding uphill in a big gear.

RELATED: Train Like An Olympic Triathlete

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FILED UNDER: Bike / Race Tips / Training

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