How to Improve Your Time Trialing

Time Trialing

1. Introduction to Time Trialing
Time trials are efforts that last from a few minutes up to around 1 hour starting from track events like a 500m time trial ending on up to 40k road time trial.  We could find longer time trials, but they are very unusual. All of those events have one common thing, an effort is as hard as possible and you trying to ride as steady as possible, so it is a maximum effort you can handle for a specific period of time. The goal is to have the highest possible average power during those efforts, which is getting to your FTP. Good time trialists should have a high FTP, be able to quickly reduce their lactate level and be able to handle the pain with no resting.

2. Time Trial Training

2.1 Muscular Endurance

Muscular Endurance is important at every type of cycling and can be very useful for time trialing, it gives you the ability to ride with low cadence at high power output. A good workout is 4 x 5 min cadence ~ 60, with watts around 85-100% of your FTP. Start doing those intervals and start with 4 x 5 min at 85% of your FTP and steadily increases duration and intensity with time (every 1-2 weeks).

2.2 Functional Threshold Power

Like we mentioned before all is getting to your FTP (Functional Threshold Power) it describes your potential as a cyclist and gives you the ability to ride faster. A very good intensity to increase your FTP is around 93 % of your Functional Threshold Power. This “place” is called the Sweet Spot. Typically a workout would be 2 x 20 min effort at 93% of your FTP with warm-up and cool down. The same rule applies here, with time increase the duration of intervals based on your goal event and intensity up to 100% of Functional Threshold Power.

2.3 VO2 Max

VO2 Max is a zone between 100% – 120% of your FTP,  where you can just spend around up to 8 minutes. That is where your body learns how to deal with reducing your lactate level. A good starting workout is to do 4 x 3 min at 120% of your FTP.

2.4 Motor Pacing

Motor Pacing is a very advanced technique for advanced cyclists, but can be very effective with keeping high speed and getting used to very intensive and fast workouts. We wouldn’t recommend as long as you have a trusted person driving and clear road, it can be done on Velodrome.

2.5 Recovery

And never forget about recovery! Between intervals, so you can do the next one in 100%, recovery weeks and between every single day, read more about recovery here.

3. Position

A time trial bike is way different than a road bike, it is a very aerodynamic position but not as comfortable as other types of bikes. Try to do 1-2 workouts a week on your time trial bike or in “time trial position” on your road bike. Intervals, as well as recovery rides, can be done at this position which will help your body to get used to it.

4. Warm-up

Below you can find a ready to download workout with an example of warm-up before your time trial event. Try to finish your warm-up as close as possible to your start.

5 min – 50% of FTP
5 min – 60% of FTP
2 min – 75% of FTP
1 min – 80% of FTP
1 min – 85% of FTP
2 min – easy
1.5 min – 75% of FTP
1 min – easy
1.5 min – 80% of FTP
1 min – easy
1.5 min – 85% of FTP
1 min – easy
1.5 min – 90% of FTP
1 min – easy
1.5 min – 100% of FTP
1 min – easy
1.5 min – 105% of FTP
5 min – easy


Article by Damian Chlanda, Cyklopedia

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