Ask the Experts: Cycling Q+A with Jim McConnel

Hone your cycling skills with our live lunchtime webchat

1 to 20 of 57 messages
04/09/2012 at 17:59

Hi everyone,

Coach and triathlete Jim McConnel will be live in our forum between 1-2pm tomorrow to answer all your cycling training and racing posers.

Jim McConnel competed in the XTERRA (off-road triathlon) World Championships for several years, finishing 21st in the world in 2008. He has also been a sports massage therapist and triathlon coach and is now a brand manager with Madison.

Jim knows all there is to know about how you can get the best from yourself and your bike. His philosophy is simple: train smarter, not harder.

If you have any questions you have about cycling training and technique, Jim’s got the answers.

We're opening the discussion now so he will be able to get stuck in straight away at 1pm - so get posting!

Dominique

Edited: 04/09/2012 at 18:01
kittenkat    pirate
04/09/2012 at 19:10

Hi Jim, I have a question about your philosophy 'train smarter, not harder'. Can you explain exactly what you mean by that and how it can translate completely through the range of abilities from beginner to elite?

(Oh goodness, that sounds like a RW plant question, it actually isn't people, I'm interested because I'm dipping in and out of 'Run Less, Run Faster'.)

 

 

Red_dog_chris    pirate
04/09/2012 at 20:45
What will make the most impact on my cycling apart from training: race wheels or a proper bike fit?
WildWill    pirate
04/09/2012 at 20:49
Hi Jim

As I work away most of the time, a lot of my training has to be on a spinning bike. When traing for long distance, how can I maximise my returns on my training time, for say 2-3 hr sessions?

Cheers
WW
M...eldy    pirate
04/09/2012 at 20:52

When training for IM Lanzarote, if I am looking at 3 bike sessions a week how would you structure these to get the most benefit and improvement on a hilly course

Thank you
Meldy

04/09/2012 at 21:03

Can triathletes learn to go round corners or is it a genetic thing?

kittenkat    pirate
04/09/2012 at 21:04

Is it only me that's smiling at signing it with your forum name, and the point is?

Kate, yes I'm actually called Kate.

M...eldy    pirate
04/09/2012 at 21:33

As Ian has alluded to, not everyone is born on a bike and with Triathlon growing at a rate of knots there are people taking to the sport who have not grown up with the techniques such as cornering and descending

Can these be learnt and what are the top 3 tips ..... I am hopeless at descents as most on here will testify !!!



Meldy

04/09/2012 at 21:58

For my tuppence worth I was going to say 'You need balls!' Meldy.  But, on reflection, pehaps I'd better stay quiet!!  

Dustboy    pirate
04/09/2012 at 23:14

You don't half live dangerously mate!

05/09/2012 at 07:14
Can you suggest a plan for turbo trainer sessions that will help with endurance training? I ask as I lose all motivation to sit on the thing any longer after 60-90 mins and was wondering how I should best use that time.
05/09/2012 at 11:16

Hi Jim. Any advice on ideal heart rate zones as a percentage of max for Iron distance racing, please? I don't have a power meter. Also, since you're clearly a fan of hilly races, how do you flex your HR plan when the going gets steep? Thanks !

05/09/2012 at 12:34

Hi Jim,

Any ideas what this is ?

http://blog.lib.umn.edu/mgweb/stearns/355-1.jpg

 

05/09/2012 at 13:03

Dear kittenkat What a question. It is the same principal for all athletes – whatever the level. Put simply 'train smarter, not harder' refers to the idea that by taking the time to sit down and think about the goal you have, you can break down the steps to achieve that goal all the way to the separate sessions you will need to do, to get there. The added even ‘smarter’ layer is that for all normal folks, we have to work out how best to use the time we have available to fit in those key sessions. An example might be to use your regular commute as a training run – then you are not wasting time spent travelling. It’s always best to do this with another person who can look objectively at your daily schedule – can be a coach, does not need to be.

05/09/2012 at 13:07

Dear Red_Dog _Chris You need to consider that in the bike and person package, 80% of the total drag comes from the rider. So, if you can get a bike fit that puts you in a more aero position, you should deliver quicker split times for the same effort. Bike fit is not all about aero though – it’s about comfort too - you will definitely come off the bike with a better rested body from riding in a more comfortable position. This may and should enable a quicker run split – giving you the overall gain you are looking for. Bling wheels will help aerodynamics to a degree (see manufacturer data for claimed savings) and of course make the bike look more Pro. Personally, I’d take the qualified bike fit first, and once I was faster from those changes, invest in the wheels as a present to myself.

05/09/2012 at 13:10

Hi Jim,

A bit off the usual cycling question, i have awful trouble finding my mountain bike in transition and was wondering whether you think it would be helpful for me to fit white tyres so it's easier to spot ?

Thanks

05/09/2012 at 13:11

@Dustboy. Thanks for the observation on my lifestyle. I think it's most important that in your sport you enjot yourself, and I can honestly say that any athlete who hasn't yet taken part in an offroad event before is sure to gain a unique experience as soon as they do! For a start - look to the Winter Offroad Duathlon series in the UK run by many event organisers - typically MTB / Trail Run / MTB  

05/09/2012 at 13:14

Hi Jim. During the week I'm pretty time poor and therefore training has to be fitted around work family etc, i.e 10km run or 40 min swim or about an hour on the turbo. Basically i have around an hour in the evening. Particularly on the Turbo i don't think i'm using my time efficiently. My goal is to (as everyones is i suppose) is to ride faster and harder for longer. Any turbo workouts you can recommend? Many thanks

05/09/2012 at 13:16

@Wildwill If you need miles, then you need miles. Spinning bikes can do this for you but they are monotonous. I would look outside these training windows for the opportunity to get your long bikes in on real roads with friends if possible, but if not, then suggest you arrange multi brick sessions instead - 40 min spin bike - 20 min run - 40 min spin bike - 20 min run - that kind of thing. Work at different tempos to keep your focus - build through the session perhaps, and enable your body to get used to changing discipline and energy demands.

05/09/2012 at 13:25

@m_eldy Ahhh, IM training. If it was me and I had 3 bike sessions a week then I would do the following as a basic. Session 1 - long ride build up to the magic 6+ hour ride across about 8 weeks so mentally you know you can handle the kind of distance you will race over. Preferably done on a day when you can really relax, eat and sleep afterwards as it will drain you. Arrange friends to ride part or all of the way. Plan in advnace what you will do and mix up the routes. Session 2 - this has got to be a 2-3 hour endurance ride where you mix hills and recovery on the flat. It will be important to get used to going uphill for a prolonged period of time - Lanza is a hilly windy course and you need not to get daunted by the length of some of the climbs. Will be easy if you live in the Peaks or the Lakes. Session 3 - a session that could switch between a 90 minute recovery ride one week to an interval ride (turbo based possibly) where you try and build your power and top end - suggest building to from 6 x 4 minutes right through to 3 x 20 minutes over a course of 6-8 weeks where you are working very closely to your sustainable threshold. Hope that helps you.

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