After a long winter and a spring filled with unpredictable weather, you can finally begin your triathlon training outdoors in earnest. It's time to unlock your bike from the trainer, toss a leg over the cross bar and ride outside in the summer sun!
But before you get too excited, there are a few things you'll need to consider before you switch all of your training outdoors. Power, heart rate and cadence zones are just a few of the adjustments you'll need to make in order to transition smoothly. Consider these tips to get started.
Will You Need More Endurance for Long Rides?
If you've followed our OutSeason training advice through the winter and spring, you've been dining on a steady diet of lactate threshold intervals and "long rides" of about 90 minutes.
More: 5 Race-Day Bike Tips
By now you've probably been dreaming of the day when you can get outside and ride with your (former) training partners. But they've been dining at the usual long slow distance buffet all winter and spring, punching the clock with regular 3 to 4 hour sessions of base training on the indoor trainer for their A-race in September. They want you to join them for a 4-hour ride. Our notes for you:
1. Volume is overrated: Don't underestimate the endurance you've built by "only" cycling 3 to 4 hours per week, nearly all of it very hard.
2. Comfort issues are to be expected: Yes, you'll need a few long rides before the neck, shoulders and sit bones get comfortable sitting on a bicycle for several hours. It'll be uncomfortable for a while, but you'll be fine in a week or two, and the endurance will be there when you need it.
3. Don't underestimate the mental side: Jumping from a 90-minute indoor ride to a 3-hour outdoor ride is a big jump, mathematically. But we promise that after a few rides, your mental state will be completely adjusted.
Expect the Disconnect
There will be a difference between the metrics you've seen indoors and those same metrics outdoors.