In some regards, training for cycling is similar to training for swimming and running. In all three sports, it is essential that you invest time in training. In other ways, cycle training differs greatly from that of the training of its two triathlon cousins. The technique used by swimmers is so important that it is far better to spend thirty minutes perfecting the performance instead of spending hours doing an imperfect stroke.
As running is a high impact activity, a runner will see diminished returns after reaching a certain point during training. What this means is that every mile you run has to count. With cycling, if you have excellent power in your legs and lungs, you can make up for having bad form. This power in the lungs and legs comes from the endurance and strength you gain from your workout program. The best cyclists and swimmers will train as much as six hours per day, while professional distance runners will only train around ninety minutes per day.
The bike used in cycling makes it different from other endurance sports. A cyclist has to get as much as he can from a machine that is rather complex. To become an expert cyclist you have to mesh with the bike and the terrain on which you are riding. If you have a fair amount of experience as a rider, you can relate to this. A cyclist has to know how to properly position himself on his bike, the right time to shift the gears, and how to adequately maintain the bike in ready-to-race condition, among other things.
Bike speed is a product of cadence and the distance traveled each stroke of the pedal, with the latter being determined by which gear is selected at the time of movement. By choosing a higher gear and sustaining a higher pedaling cadence, you can go faster longer. The strength in your legs makes it possible for you to push higher gears. Not surprisingly, the cycling strength element is greater than the strength components found in either swimming or running. Triathletes and regular bike riders build up strength in their legs by riding up hills, utilizing the highest gear settings during training, and occasionally completing various types of resistance workouts.
If the correct precautions are taken in cycling, you can ride for extended periods of time without a specific plan and still be more productive than a rider who has excellent technique but low mileage. At the same time, that strength and endurance does not imply that your style of training does not matter. It also does not mean there is no value to working on your performance as a cyclist. Those aspects of preparing for the cycling portion of the triathlon are very important, especially for an athlete who has limited time for training.
Regardless of how much time you have to train, getting the most out of your efforts will take selecting the right workouts and doing them in the correct sequence while you develop the practices and skills you need for a good performance. Bear in mind that when you are cycle training for a triathlon, you can never substitute for a great deal of preparation.