Using a turbo trainer to improve your Ironman bike

Rob Cummins Ironman Bike

Today on The Kona Edge we are joined once again by Sarah Thomas and chat to her about how she improved her Ironman bike by using a turbo trainer.

We also discuss her favorite bike workouts and short interval, high intensity training.

(Read the transcription of our chat here)

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Podcast Transcription:


BRAD BROWN:  Welcome back on to yet another edition of The Kona Edge. My name is Brad Brown and we head to Australia once again to catch up with Sarah Thomas. Sarah, welcome back onto the podcast.

SARAH THOMAS:  Thank you for having me.

BRAD BROWN:  Sarah, let’s talk about your bike and it is the longest discipline in an Ironman. How would you rate your bike? You told us your swim was your weakest. Your bike, would you say it’s up there or is it second out of the three?

SARAH THOMAS:  Yes, definitely the second out of the three. It’s something that I’ve had to work on quite a lot to improve because initially once my swim started improving there was a point where the bike dropped off and was my weakest discipline, which I was very unhappy about. So I worked quite hard on the bike in the last couple of years and I think it has improved now to the point where the swim is again the weakest leg.

BRAD BROWN:  What are some of the things you’ve done to improve that bike?

SARAH THOMAS:  I think probably sessions on the turbo trainer for me have made the most difference because I’m not one to go and do a big long slow ride. I like to do shorter sessions but go pretty hard on those shorter sessions and I think that being on the turbo trainer’s really helped with that. I think yes, just personally for me that’s worked really well. So yes, I think I can probably give the credit to that.

BRAD BROWN:  In saying that though, it’s not like you don’t do long rides at all. You still, especially for an Ironman have to get some of those long rides in.

SARAH THOMAS:  Oh yes, of course you have to do your endurance rides, but I think definitely my long rides are probably not as long as what many other people do. But yes, I know that everybody has their strengths and their weaknesses and just going hard for short periods seems to work better for me.

BRAD BROWN:  And also we spoke about it in the first chat, just getting that balance right especially when you’re working and you’re trying to be competitive as an age-grouper, you only have 24 hours in the day and you have to get the biggest bang for your buck and doing some quality work on an indoor trainer does exactly that.

SARAH THOMAS:  Yes, absolutely. It’s just easy. You don’t have to worry about what the weather or the traffic’s doing or where you’re going to go, it’s just you know you’re going to get a quality workout and in a set period of time. It just makes it a lot easier.

BRAD BROWN:  Favorite workouts on the bike, what do you love doing?

SARAH THOMAS:  Short intervals, high intensity basically, maybe an hour session, but just go hard in the hour.

BRAD BROWN:  And your favorite ride around Cairns, I mean it’s a beautiful part of the world. There must be some amazing routes that you get to ride when you do head out on long ones?

SARAH THOMAS:  Yes, there is. It’s a shame because the Ironman Cairns bike course is obviously extremely spectacular and it’s really, really beautiful. It’s just a shame because it’s not the safest road to ride on and if it was a little bit safer with regards to traffic and stuff I’d definitely like to get up there more often, but unfortunately it’s not something that I want to do unless I have to obviously in the lead up to the race. But yes, out of Cairns, if you head south rather than north the roads are a bit better down there and you can get out amongst the cane fields which is really beautiful and do some nice long rides down there. So yes, certainly there are options.

BRAD BROWN:  As far as preparing yourself for the run off the bike is there anything that you do in a race whether it’s in the last third or in the last quarter of the bike that gets you mentally and physically ready for what’s to come in an Ironman?

SARAH THOMAS:  Yes, I think definitely when I know that coming towards the end of the ride probably take on a bit of extra hydration in preparation. I take CrampFix sachet as a preventative because obviously coming into T2 and starting to run can be a place where many people struggle with cramps. So I make sure that I have that and just get a little bit of extra nutrition in really before heading out onto the run but other than that I don’t really change too much.

BRAD BROWN:  Brilliant. Well, Sarah it’s been great catching up once again. I look forward to talking about your run, but we’ll save that for next time out.

SARAH THOMAS:  Okay, thank you.

About Us

Brad Brown is a 40 something age grouper that dreams of one day qualifying for and racing on the big island (He may have to outlive everyone in his age group though).

Morbidly obese in 2009, Brad clocked in at 165kgs (363lbs) at his heaviest.

He's subsequently lost a third of his body weight on the way to a half Ironman pb of 5:06 and a full Ironman pb of 12:21.


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