Many Ironman Age Groupers will tell you intensity training is the only way to improve your Ironman bike. Ironman age group champion Nathan Shearer doesn’t disagree but he believes it begins with building a solid bas to build off of. In this edition of The Kona Edge we chat to Nathan and discover what he did to improve his Ironman bike.
BRAD BROWN: This is The Kona Edge, I’m Brad Brown and we’re joined once again by Nathan Shearer in Melbourne, Australia, Nathan, welcome back, nice to catch up again.
NATHAN SHEARER: Yeah, thanks Brad, thanks for having me back.
BRAD BROWN: Nathan, let’s talk biking, you’re a monster on a bicycle, you’ve put in a couple of good performances over the years, can you nail it down to one thing you’ve done on the bike that’s given you the biggest gains?
NATHAN SHEARER: It’s pretty cliché, but consistency on the bike. I think since I started, I’ve ridden 4-5 times a week, every week and never missed. Biking is pretty simple, I think it’s just time on the bike and you speak to any triathlete, they’ll tell you that, cyclists as well, once you’ve got that time behind you, there’s specific you can get into, but definitely coming from no background in cycling, never ridden a bike, a proper bicycle, yeah, it was just consistency to get aerobic base behind me.
Build a solid base to improve your Ironman bike
BRAD BROWN: You talk about introducing the intensity and that sort of stuff, if you don’t have the base, it’s almost pointless putting that intensity in and you need to have that big base to build off.
NATHAN SHEARER: Yeah, you do, definitely. It was probably 12-18 months before I really did any proper intensity or long intense efforts, and it was once I made that transition from just participant to actually trying to race everyone else, so participating, it was more just, all right, let’s hold whatever you can or whatever output you can, for the distance, so 90km and a half, what can you hold for 90km, I think I can hold X heart rate or Power or speed K’s per hour, whatever it is, whereas once you’re racing, it becomes a bit of a different dynamic. You’ve got to start doing those 10-15-20-30-40 minute, hour long efforts for Ironman even, at certain intensities, to really build at all the range across your Power or your output and not be one dimensional.
BRAD BROWN: Let’s talk about, you mentioned the different workouts and intensity, you obviously mix things up a bit, what do you love doing on the bike?
NATHAN SHEARER: I love going on [shop?] rides with cyclists and getting absolutely flogged because it’s completely different to riding with and for triathlon, with triathletes and for triathlon. Riding with road cyclists, it’s huge efforts, but short efforts and recover and times that by heat, whereas triathlon, you know it’s pretty steady state stuff. So yeah, I think one of the best things that happened to me was moving to Melbourne and getting involved in a more cycling specific community and group and that really took my cycling to another level, I think.
BRAD BROWN: It’s funny how often that’s come up, is people talk about riding with a group of cyclists and not doing it on their own, but finding cyclists that are better than they are, that they not struggle to keep up with, but push them hard and they really thrive under those conditions.
NATHAN SHEARER: Yeah, absolutely. I think for anyone, you do training with someone who is a bit better athletically than you, it pushes you to be better and pushes you out of a comfort zone and maybe pushes you to a performance that you didn’t know you were capable of, which those break-throughs in training equate to break-throughs in racing. So it’s always good to have someone pushing you along like that.
BRAD BROWN: Nathan Shearer, thank you so much for joining us once again on this edition of The Kona Edge, look forward to chatting running with you next time out, but we’ll save tht for another day, thanks for your time.
NATHAN SHEARER: Cheers Brad, thanks.