Ironman Bike - Surviving your long rides on the indoor trainer
Ironman Bike - Surviving your long rides on the indoor trainer

Surviving your long Ironman bike rides on the indoor trainer

Ironman Bike - Surviving your long rides on the indoor trainer

Jackie Foley chats to The Kona Edge about her Ironman Bike training on the indoor trainer and shares her favourite workouts with us.

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BRAD BROWN: Time to chat some Ironman biking. We head back to Sydney Australia to catch up with Jackie Foley. Jackie welcome back onto the podcast.

You come from a strong swimming background. How would you rate your bike? Would you say that’s your second best or would you rate your run a bit better than your bike right now?

Strengthen your Ironman bike weakness

JACKIE FOLEY: I would rate my run a little bit better. I think I have a pretty long lean build that looks like a runner build. Bike is my weakest so it’s something I do need to spend a lot of time on.

BRAD BROWN: That in itself is a good thing because it’s the longest leg of the triathlon so lots of time to be made up. Going forward, you must be looking forward to big improvements still.

JACKIE FOLEY: Yes that’s definitely the area that I can see myself spending the most time in.

BRAD BROWN: Over your triathlon career, looking at your bike, what are some of the things you’ve done that have really moved the needle that have helped you get better and stronger on the bike?

Practice for perfection on your Ironman bike

JACKIE FOLEY: I think one thing is outdoor rides. Getting hills in, I think that gives us a lot of strength to be doing hill work. So I might be doing a 5 hour ride but I keep it with some rolling hills in there. And then also, I might on shorter rides find a good hill climb and repeat it a few times.

BRAD BROWN: You also mentioned that you did quite a bit on the indoor trainer and for intensity that’s really good. Tell me a bit about some of those indoor training sets that you do.

JACKIE FOLEY: During the week most of my bike is on the trainer and again, as I mentioned in swimming, I like long warm ups. I usually do 20 minutes of just warming up. Some of it has to do with a lot of the rides are at 5am and I’m still waking up and then I gradually get into hard workouts.

I usually start out with a 20 minute warm up and then 20 minutes where I’m 1 minute all out, 1 minute off. Then I’ll start doing sets where I’m doing 5 minute blocks at certain watts. So I might do 5 minutes at 160 and then 5 minutes at 210. And I switch up the watts a bit.

Indoor gets better for your Ironman bike workout

BRAD BROWN: Are you then sitting on your bike, like a Wahoo Kickr as an example? Or are you on a watt bike? Have you got a power meter on your bike?

JACKIE FOLEY: We have Computrainer. I don’t have a power meter on my bike so I have nothing outside. But through the Computrainer program I can see the watts on the computer screen. And that’s the only time I’m ever looking at power is when I’m on the trainer.

BRAD BROWN: Have you learnt what 160 watts, for example, feels like? That you can then put that out on the road. Not knowing the exact number but knowing what it feels like?

Ironman bike training to feel the power

JACKIE FOLEY: Yes, that’s what I’m essentially doing not having the power on my bike. But I do end up spending enough time on the trainer that I start to get a feel for what that is. For example my husband was out of town for the past couple of weeks so everything I did; I did 10 hours a week and I’m not training for anything so I guess that’s pretty good, and it was all trainer rides. So I really start to get zoned in to just what it feels like.

BRAD BROWN: And your favourite ride, if you could only do 1 ride a week and it had to be your favourite, what would you do over and over?

JACKIE FOLEY: Probably similar to what I just told you. But that’s something I think because I can mentally stick with it. When you’re on the trainer out in the garage and I’m by myself, you need something that keeps you mentally focused.

BRAD BROWN: How do you stay mentally focused on an indoor trainer? It’s almost like running on a treadmill. It can become mindless. What do you do to keep yourself in that zone?

Slice it up for greater gains on your Ironman bike

JACKIE FOLEY: I usually break it into smaller chunks. A good example is when I trained for my first Ironman. Ironman Malaysia. We were living in Singapore and the air quality was poor so I was doing my 6 hour rides on my trainer because I wasn’t able to work out outside.

Everything was broken into like 2 hour chunks. So it felt like 3 x 2-hour workouts. I’d wake up early and I’d leave the lights off and just ride in the dark for 2 hours. It would be quiet and I’d be in my own thoughts. Then the kids would wake up and I’d have 2 hours with them watching kid’s shows in the room and I could chat with them and get refills on nutrition.

Then my husband usually would take them out for the last 2 hours. Then it was back to me and my thoughts but then it was daylight and I had the view out of our condo window. And so I just thought of it in smaller chunks.

The truth about indoor Ironman bike training

BRAD BROWN: Wow, I can’t wrap my head around 6 hours on an indoor trainer. Massive respect.

JACKIE FOLEY: Although I’m still thinking back and wondering how I did it. But it was the necessity at the time.

BRAD BROWN: I guess that’s exactly it. It will make you mentally tough, no two-ways about that. And on those long lonely Ironman race rides I think it probably does help.

Jackie, great to catch up. Look forward to chatting about your run next time out but we’ll save that for next week. Thanks for your time today.

JACKIE FOLEY: That’s all good. 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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