I would certainly advise anyone doing triathlon to take part in a time-trial as you learn so much from it – the bike leg in triathlon is in effect a time-trial!
Why did you originally decide to try time trialling?
I decided to take part in time trialling to improve my pace and focus for the bike section during triathlons.
To enable your body to take the full benefits of time trialling, I keep up my cycling throughout the winter, making sure I put in long steady base miles during October-April. For example, I went from a 30.42 10mile time trial to a 29.42 time trial last year, which was largely due to keeping up the miles throughout the winter and coming in with a sufficiently strong base.
I would also advise to not limit yourself to just one or two time trials before a race, but rather plan this into your training. For example, a 10 mile time trial once a week over a few months to notice the benefits if you are doing a sprint distance. As I am now looking to half ironman/ironman distance, I am planning in a 25-mile, 50 and 100-mile time trial to prepare for pacing and focus during the longer distance triathlons.
How do you prepare for a time trial?
In terms of preparation, I find it best to have a ‘light day’ on the day of the time trial and make sure not to have a substantial meal for at least 3 hours before the event (tried and tested!). If it is a 10miletime trial, I will have an energy gel 15 minutes before the start and drink enough fluids before and after. I don’t tend to take additional fluids on the bike for a 10 mile time trial. In terms of kit, I keep it as light as possible, a sleeved time trial suit or alternatively you can use your tri-suit with a tight jersey.
During the time trial I don’t start ‘all out’, tried it a few times but you will just burn up too soon. I tend to start at a strong pace but make sure I am not out of breath, then I pick up the pace throughout the race. It is certainly beneficial to do a recce of the course beforehand. If it is a 10 mile course I will go around this once as a warm up, varying my speed and cadence and making sure I have put in a few speed blocks.
One final tip for anyone who is new to triathlon and was thinking about trying a time trial.
I would certainly advise anyone doing triathlon to take part in a time-trial as you learn so much from it. It teaches you to know which speed you can maintain for short/longer distances –a bike leg in a triathlon is in effect a time-trial!