Lastly, engage your core. Don't pedal lazily. Feel your abs when you ride, keep your spine straight and lessen the tension in the upper shoulders, upper back and neck. This opens your hip angle for a stronger and more balanced pedal stroke.
There are a three key ways to train and get better or faster on the bike. You can ride more often, go farther or ride faster. Most of you are riding as much as you can during a training week, and depending on the racing you are training for, riding farther doesn't always equate to better results. With the time you have to train, it is essential to get in quality rides.
You have some options. Join a faster group ride. Be sure to warm up before departing with this new group, stay toward the back of the group and hold on as long as you can.
Secondly, find a spin class led by a local cyclist. The workouts will better resemble real road riding and you may find yourself riding harder than you would on the road alone.
Lastly, determine your maximum heart rate, and do interval training at 85 percent of that max heart rate. Allow for equal rest or two times the rest compared to the interval duration. Be sure to consult a coach or more experienced rider when beginning an interval training program.
Add these three elements to your cycling, and you will find a new and improved bike split. Your bike may not turn any heads in transition, but you will definitely get a few double-takes on the bike course when you go flying by all that "bling."
Sign up for a cycling class.
Matthew Clancy is a USAT Level II certified coach with a master's degree in sport psychology. He is the founder and head coach for Compass Elite, LLC based in Greensboro, N.C. For more information on Coach Matt and Compass Elite, please visit www.compasselite.com or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally was published in USA Triathlon Life magazine. USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the national governing body for triathlon--the fastest growing sport in the world - as well as duathlon, aquathlon and winter triathlon in the United States. Visit usatriathlon.org.