TT Tips

Coach James Spragg is here with his top TT tips!

Warming up for your first ever time trial

It can be a little daunting entering your first ever time trial, however with a few simple tips on how to warm up you will hopefully have one less thing to worry about. Here are my top 5 tips….

  1. Your warm up starts when you get on your bike and ends when you get to the start line! Therefore in order to know when to start your warm up you first need to know your start time!! Aim to get to the start 5 minutes before your start time. You also need to factor in how long it will take you to ride from your car to the start (this can sometimes we quite a ride!). Once you know your start time and how long it will take to ride to the start this you can work you way backwards. Start time minus 5 minutes, minus time to ride to that start, minus 20 minutes warm up! You now know what time you need to be ready to go!
  2. Start your warm wearing at least a jacket over the top of what you will wear in the TT, and consider leg warmers as well if its cold. The starters will normally be more than happy to take any extra kit from you at the start line that you can then collect later form the HQ.
  3. A good warm up is about 20 minutes long. Start off your warm up with 5 minutes of nice and gentle riding. Then over the next 8 minutes you should slowly increase the pace until you reach the sort of pace you will want to hold in the TT. Aim to hold this pace for the last 2 minutes of the 8! Next ride very easy for 2 minutes. Finally ride at a decent pace for the final 5 minutes but include a few short (5-10s) sprints to really get you going. Once you have completed this 20mins its time to ride to the start!
  4. You can do your warm up either out on the road or on a turbo or rollers (although this is not allowed at some races so check beforehand). If you choose the latter don’t forget to allow a little extra time to put the turbo or rollers back into the car.
  5. Remember to enjoy yourself!! Don’t worry about getting everything perfect in your first TT! The aim is to build up a bit of experience and enjoy yourself! You will undoubtedly learn lots in the course of the event so try and take in as much as possible so you can put what you have learned into practice 2nd time around!

Pacing

Pacing is the hidden art of TTing, go off too hard and you’ll struggle to finish, go off too slow and you won’t beat your PB!

  1. Don’t sprint away from the start! You have 10 miles to get your effort out – don’t waste all your energy in the first 100m! Start in a nice easy gear – big ring and 23-25 is a good place to start and ride away from the start picking up speed slowly.
  2. You should look to settle into the pace you feel you can sustain for the 10 miles after about ½ mile! This will give you plenty of time to get up to speed and not waste any energy speeding up too quickly.
  3. There is a saying – a slow first mile is a lot faster than a slow last mile. Therefore don’t feel you need to be going out as fast as possible! If you are pacing a time trial correctly the first mile should feel relatively easy.
  4. To choose your race pace you need to ask yourself the question –can I sustain this until the end? If the answer is yes you aren’t going hard enough, if the answer is no then you are going too hard! The correct answer is maybe! If you think this intensity might be sustainable until the finish you are on the right track. Getting a feel for pacing is something that you improve at and takes experience to get it right!
  5. Don’t chase the pain – the pain will come to you! If you ride a TT at the right intensity it will feel very hard. However you shouldn’t go out looking to ride hard – let the pain come to you (it will!!).
  6. Don’t give everything you have until the last ½ mile! If you accelerate before that then you will blow up before the finish! However going hard in the last ½ mile will mean you save a few precious seconds!
  7. As always remember to enjoy it!