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Modify bike and run training for hills
October 19, 2023 12:33 AM
Athletes may wonder how they should adjust their training for hilly courses. Our run training plans include a lot of trail running and intervals that should be performed on hills. This is because the biomechanical motion of running on hills is different than the motion of running on flat ground.
The opposite is true of bike riding on hills; believe it or not, riding on hills isn't much different than biking on flat ground. The reason is because when we're on a bike, our motion of controlled by the pedal stroke (which is a fixed range of motion) and our body position is controlled by our three points of contact with the bike (handlebars, pedals, and seat). You might say that biking up a hill is harder than bike riding on flat ground, but it's only harder if you push harder.
We do recommend that you push around 10% harder going up a hill, and you'll likely do so with a lower cadence.
To train you for this slight increase in power and decrease in pedalling cadence, we will perform many of our Race Pace workouts above your target race pace, and we'll perform many Steady Rides with a lower cadence.
These small adjustments are more than enough to account for races done in hilly terrain; bike training doesn't need to be massively changed to account for races done on hills.
If you want to use a hill in your bike training just to get added power, by all means do so, but don't feel that you need to because the intervals throughout the training plan will prepare you for hills.
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