It's not just the Bike!
When a race includes 120k of riding over the French Alps, culminating with the 21 hair pin climb up Alpe d’Huez, it would be natural to think this race is all about the bike. However, it is important to remember, this is a Triathlon…, and we need to train for a Triathlon!
Triathlon is one single sport on its own, comprising of 3 disciplines. It needs to be trained as such.
Length of Training Plan and Goal.
Assuming an existing triathlon fitness where athletes could comfortably complete an Olympic (Standard) Triathlon, we recommend a 12 week dedicated training plan as preparation for the Alpe d’Huez Triathlon
Our goal is
- to have the swim fitness that allows us to start the bike feeling fresh
- the bike strength and endurance that allows us to run well after a challenging bike course
- develop the run strength and technique to run to our ability
Our swim training focuses on increasing fitness. This allows us to maintain our technique for the whole swim, so we can complete the swim faster, easier and with more confidence. It also allows us to start the bike feeling fresh, and ready to ride from the first pedal stroke.
- Swim train in a pool at least 3 times each week.
- Break the race distance down into short intervals. e.g. swimming 30 x 50m instead of 1 x 1500m will help you swim with better technique.
- The correct size and shape of paddles and pool buoy can help improve swim technique, fitness and make it more fun.
Strength, endurance and confidence is needed to conquer this bike course. We do this with a mix of strength, hill and longer endurance rides. Bike strength is imperative to enabling a controlled Heart Rate and thus setting ourselves up for a good run.
- Include one mid-week bike strength workout. e.g. seated hill repeats, or big gear low cadence intervals on the indoor trainer (turbo).
- A weekend long ride in the hills helps build strength endurance. Without pushing, the body absorbs the strength work of a hilly ride.
- If you have the choice of a road bike or Time Trial bike, we recommend choosing the bike you feel most confident descending on.
- Training and racing on the same bike will help with confidence come race day.
- On race day, use your natural race cadence on the climbs and on the flats. Spinning will raise the heart rate, and slow the run.
- Gearing is individual. However a rear cassette with 2-3 easier gears than normal should be fine for most athletes, and will give confidence for the climb.
With undulating loops over a mix of trail and pavement, the run course rewards strong runners who can maintain their technique when tired. By incorporating long runs with strength work we are guided by the TUF principle – Technique Under Fatigue.
Athletes need to stay focussed over the rocky terrain and never get ahead of themselves.
Training Tips/Race Tips
- If you don’t have a run background, the technique we recommend is to stand tall, use a shorter stride and higher cadence.
- Use the same running shoes for the race that you use in training. It is not necessary to obtain trail shoes especially for this event.
- The run course is at altitude (1800m) however arriving 2 days before the event is perfectly ok.
- Athletes should look to commence the run with a controlled pace. Break the run course into thirds. Start comfortably and aim to increase the effort each lap.
- The arms dictate the leg turnover so when the body is tired keep the focus on your arm rhythm, and the legs will follow!