Last night I had to do my first hard bike session of the year, and as I was cruising along I decided to change the view on my computer. I never look at pace/speed, it messes with my head too much, so I just ignore it. But yesterday, I was feeling pretty good. For the last :30 of my 2hr bike ride I road pretty hard (under LT), and averaged 24mph, and that got me thinking.
When I got home, I looked up my first Olympic tri back in 2005, and on a road bike, I covered the distance in 18.3 mph, and remembered feeling like I was going to die (I swam a 20:00, and ran a 45:00). I raced the same course last year, and averaged 25.7 mph, swam under 19, and ran the 10k at a 6:10 pace. The last 6 years have been such a blur, and for once in a long time I took the time last night to see where I was when I started, and wondered if I could share with you what I did. This isn't a brag session, I just remember dreaming of going faster than 18mph in an Olympic distance race, and now I do and this is how:
1. Lost 40pds, if you need to open a package to get your food, think twice about why you are going to eat it. It as much as you want, just be sure it is "real"
2. Sold all my "toys", aero wheels, aero bottles, powermeter, etc, and got a Computrainer, it is actually fun to ride inside now. (I live in ME, so I have to put in a few months inside)
3. Consistency. In the last three years, I've never gone more than 3 days without getting on my bike.
4. One long ride a week, early in the year its about 1:45, but it will get up to 5-6 at my peak.
5. My mid week rides use to be in the 15-25 mile range, but now they are in the 35-60.
6. TABATA's. 20seconds all out at a 60rpm, 10 second rest. Repeat 10 times
7. Hard efforts at the end of long rides.
8. Proper fueling
9. Got a coach, sold my 2grand wheels, used the money to pay a coach for two years, instead of dropping 30 seconds on the bide course due to a disc wheel, now I drop minutes due to hard guided work.
10. Hit the weights. I was a swimmer back in the day, so I had zero leg strength. At the start of every training cycle I hit the weight room for 12 weeks. I'm doing basic aerobic work at the time, and once I get out of the weight room is when I start dialing up the intensity. Bottom line is, my leg strength has gone through the roof. Leg power in the weight room has directly translated into pedal power on the bike, for me.
Combining a big increase in volume, pushing big gears once a week, and the weight room twice a week on a consistent basis has brought me results I never thought would be in my reach. You can't hide from CONSISTENT hard work, you can look for all the gimics in the world that will make you faster, but it will always come back to putting in the seat time.