Time Trial Cycling 101

Mental Preparation for Time Trials

The key to mentally tackling a time trial course is to break it down and decipher the best way to attack each section -- then push yourself to the limit within those parameters.

Miller explains: "If you're looking at a total course as 35 minutes, but you're going to do an 8-minute effort up a hill with a 3-minute break downhill, that can be all you need [to do well]. If you work for those eight minutes at your limit, you can do it."

According to Miller, the key is to know when to push your intensity level. "If you think of it as 35 minutes of pushing it at your limit, it's like drinking from a fire hose."

More: Time-Trial Tips From 6 Experts

Training Differences

Some cyclists train for time trials in groups, doing all the work by pulling their partner along in the draft, but Miller doesn't recommend that.

"A lot of the training for time trials is focused on being able to produce the power on your own," Miller says. "You need to start mentally focusing on that effort and be able to harness it."

He also believes you have to incorporate intervals in your training. These can vary anywhere from a minute to 30 minutes. Although it depends on what phase of training you're in or how close to you are to the event, at some point you should cover the gamut and do intervals off all those lengths.

More: Time Trial Debate: Steady Power or Steady Speed?

Overcoming Obstacles

Two challenges in cycling you must overcome are gravity, if you're going uphill, and aerodynamics, if you're riding flats or downhill. If you reduce aero drag, then you reduce the amount of aero drag you need to overcome and can improve your speed.

For this reason, it's important to get all of your equipment as streamlined as possible, from your helmet to your handlebars and wheels. Whatever you can do to shave off precious seconds of your time will make a difference.

More: The Race of Truth: Training for a Time Trial

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