Friday, 26 December 2014 00:00

Time trial training plans

Time trial, 8 weeks ($49.99 or £30 for pdf)

Time trial, 10 weeks ($59.99 or £35 for pdf)

Time trial, 12 weeks ($69.99 or £40 for pdf)

The Race of Truth, or Contre la Montre for the francophiles, is a cycling discpline close to our hearts at PBscience. Helen, Oli and myself (Dan) all have extensive experience of racing time trials, we have worked with a large number of time triallists from beginners to National Champions and from distances from 10 miles up to 24 hours. The time trial is an event that really sits well with our training philosophy: the physiology of a maximum sustainable effort is well researched and fairly easily quantified, the aerodynamics and pacing required to make best use of that fitness can also be quanitified and optimised and as such it's a discipline that offers the potential for huge improvements to those prepared to look at a logical and all-encompassing approach to their preparation.

The subtleties and nuances of riding the perfect time trial are beyond the scope of an off the peg training plan but for some athletes, a structured training plan targeted at preparing you for the physical demands of a TT is a good first step to getting the most out of your racing against the clock. The following plans have that in mind and are aimed at preparing you to race a typical short distance TT of 10-25 miles (16-40km). For most riders this equates to an effort of 20-75 minutes, we make no effort to distinguish the training in this plan for events at either end of this spectrum. The event demands for an event of 20-minutes are almost identical to those of an event lasting ~75-minutes but if you are interested in a more bespoke approach taking account of your individual requirements then please contact Dan.

The final 8-12 weeks of training before your target event are those that will have the biggest effect on your race performance. These plans are aimed at that key phase and as such the training aims to prepare you for the specific demands on racing a time trial. You cannot hope to complete the training within these plans without some prior preparation. You should have a reasonably high level of general cycling fitness before beginning this plan: 4 sessions per week including a long ride of 3hrs+ and some exposure to more intense riding than simple base endurance riding is expected. Our Early season time trial build plans are a better alternative if you need a more conservative starting point. However, if you meet these requirements then each plan is based around two key blocks...

Functional threshold builder

The key determinant of time trial performance is your sustainable power output. Dr Andrew Coggan and Hunter Allen coined the phrase 'functional threshold power' (FTP) for the power you can hold for 1 hour and we will use that terminology throughout the plan. We could easily have chosen the maximal lactate steady state or lactate turnpoint or second threshold if you are more familiar with another name. The jargon is not important but the concept is! This first training phase is aimed at lifting your functional threshold power, or in other words the power output you can maintain for one hour. A proven strategy for achieving this is to train in a tightly controlled region from 90%-110% of your functional threshold (power (or HR of RPE).

Peaking and race execution

The second phase is aimed at preparing to race. We include some workouts above race pace to become 'sharper', reduce the training load to eliminate fatigue and allow your form to show and perhaps most importantly include some practice race(s) and simulation workouts to prepare to perform at your best in your target race.

The training plans

Our Time Trial plans are for sale through the Training Peaks platform by following the links below. We have used Training Peaks for our coaching since 2008 and believe to offer the best and most user friendly software on the market. However, we understand that many athletes prefer to use other systems such as Strava, Garmin Connect (NB - Training Peaks can easily be set to autosync with these other platforms) or a traditional paper diary so please contact Dan if you would prefer to purchase a pdf copy of the plan. The only downside to Training Peaks for our European based customers is that transactions are in US dollars but with a favourable exchange rate at the moment we hope that is not too onerous! 

Time trial, 8 weeks ($49.99 or £30 for pdf)

Time trial, 10 weeks ($59.99 or £35 for pdf)

Time trial, 12 weeks ($69.99 or £40 for pdf)

Published in Training Peaks plans
Friday, 19 September 2014 00:00


redlineAim of Session

A session to work on your lactate clearance mechanisms.

Friday, 19 September 2014 00:00

Hour of power

Hour-of-powerAim of session

Enabling the rider to become accustomed to riding for extended periods of time at their sustainable power and develop the ability to balance lactate production / clearance


Tuesday, 22 September 2009 09:56

Perfect pacing

Each year, British Time Triallists flock over the English Channel to a small town in Normandy to race in the Duo Normande team time trial. I've been going 3 years now: the first as an athlete, and the second two as cycle coach. There is something very special about the event: the closed roads, the excitement in the town square the day before, the French families that watch along the length of the course, the following cars behind each team - nothing in the UK compares...although the Blenheim Palace event is one that might rival it in years to come. I do hope so, we need more of these big events to inspire generations ahead.


The riders I coach were definitely inspired this weekend. Lesley rode in the ladies category with ex-SIS team mate Annie - they collected 2nd place (to the same pairing Lesley and I came 2nd to in 2007, drat!); Dani rode with a3crg team mate Jo, and they set about improving on their time from last year - in fact, all the a3crg riders (a team I have worked closely with for 2 seasons now) had good performances. My new athlete Chris also experienced his first Duo and is adamant to return faster in 2010!

The "Pièce de résistance" was the ride given by Paddy and Seb. Both had targeted the Duo since the early stages of the season. Last year, Seb had ridden with another rider, as had Paddy. So, it was one challenge to cement this team and have them operating smoothly together: a shared desire to target this event, and the practise sessions / races together were planned to allow it to come together in time. Our biggest obstacle was the 'gap' in form between the two: Paddy had a late start to the year due to illness, while Seb has been flying since April. Its been exciting watching both riders improving in the latter stage of the season; PB after PB in fact, but also to see the confidence rising too.

I had asked both riders, as I always do before a big event, what they wanted from the Duo. Paddy was very straight in his answer - he wanted a 1:13 ride - that was a full 5 minutes faster than the ride he and his partner did last year. Even Seb looked a little unsure, and he had ridden 1:15 last year! So, I spent some time last week analysing the 2008 race files, working out where time could be won, where their efforts were worth upping. This is a major benefit gained from having power measuring and GPS technology - I can look at power used to go a given speed and work out where they might get better 'return from their investment' over the course. The 3 of us then spent an hour discussing the strategy the day before: I wonder how many riders take time to 'perfect' the detail - Seb and Paddy knew race day what they had to do in order to hit their goal time.


It helped that I was then in the following car with Team Manager David, calling out their splits over the speaker every 5km or so. I had asked them to go out conservatively early on, given most of the course to 28km was flat or downhill. I wanted them to then put the hammer down over the second, hillier section.It sounds easy, but when they were 30s down on schedule after 16km, concerns started to surface...were they going a little TOO cautiously? At 30km, I called out "Allez, come on guys, its time to put the hammer down" - Seb told me later, that it went through his head "What do you mean, we are!". But, they started to reel time back in as they climbed and descended each hill. But, was it too late?

With each of the climbs and descents, the guys demonstrated the perfect time trialling tactic: aim to minimise the variation in speed by working harder on the climbs, easing off on the descents. Each time there speed reached in excess of 60kph, I reminded them to tuck in small, pushing the aerodynamic gains to the full. They worked well together, but with around 6km to go, I knew they needed to average 60kph to hit target. When Paddy motioned to us to call out to Seb and get him to slow down, I feared the worst: had the performance gap between the two of them been a little too much? Had Paddy burnt out?

At 53km, the following cars have to peel off. The time was 1:12 and 15s on my clock - Paddy had clung on, and the paired had clawed back the deficit of the first half: a deficit that had reached nearly 3 minutes at one point! As we left the course, David and I went from screaming to near silence - all that adrenalin, and no outlet - it was a tough 15 minute drive back to Marigny! Sure enough, they did it: 1 hour 13 minutes and 28 seconds. They broke the course record for their category by 1 min and 24 s (“Chez les troisiemes categories domination de Brennan – Ader” to quote the local newspaper), but had they done enough to win this year and claim that 150 Euro bonus? It was a long wait....filled by copious coffee consumption on my part! Finally, the result came through, they had indeed done it - and not only that, they beat all teams but one in the category above; and would have placed well in the elite year guys ;-)

Proud-coach-Helen-Carter-at-the Duo-Normande-2009

I confess, its agonising watching, but I wouldn't miss the chance to be that close to the action. In many ways, the Duo Normande is less stressful as a rider - but I've no plans to swap roles, even if Lesley is convinced we could get the upperhand on the two French pros she has a habit of trailing in this event. For me, it was a hugely satisfying event: not just the weekend itself, but seeing how the rider plans and prep have come together with perfect timing - I would like to say its due to the science, but I for one, know that cycle coaching is just as much an art - and I think we drew a pretty nice picture this time around.

Published in Blog
Friday, 12 September 2014 12:08

PBscience cycle coaching packages

We have two cycle coaching and cycle training packages to suit athlete needs and budget. Each of the packages is guided by the PBscience coaching philosophy. Take some time to think about our philosophy - to get the most from working with the PBscience coaching team it is important that you agree and 'buy in' to the same philosophy. If you find that it ticks all the boxes for what you want in a cycling coach then pick the package that best suits your needs. There is no hierarchy to the packages; the right level of service for you depends on the type of relationship you want with your coach and how much responsibility for your training you wish to have. Click on the links below for more details.




The training plan for dedicated individuals. The elite plan is the best in 1-2-1 cycle coaching, and offers so much more than a training plan. An opportunity for you to build a coach-athlete relationship you can trust.


Strictly speaking, not a coaching package as athletes on the Member Plan are expected to take more responsibility for the day to day running of their training programme. However, the Member Plan does provide a taster for the kind of offering PBscience can give and all the information you need to make decisions is in the PBscience resource library and the dedicated Member Plan section of the website.

Training plans

Buying a fixed length cycle training plan is an ideal way for an athlete to train using science based principles leading up to a key event. A 12 week training plan is written based on exercise testing results to determine the optimal training zones.

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Published in Uncategorised