Here at TrainerRoad HQ we love to hear about our athletes’ successes. As cheesy as it may sound, making people better is what motivates us day in, day out.

When we heard about how Pete Wierzbinski dropped his IRONMAN Wisconsin bike split by 53 minutes and 27 seconds, we were blown away by the improvement, but his circumstances during his preparation for the event made it even more impressive. Here’s what he told us:

“I usually have to go ten miles outside of the city before I can get to an area where I get uninterrupted road. Plus, I work a 9-5 job so getting out and getting a decent workout during daylight hours also required some planning.”

This is representative of the life of a lot of endurance athletes. Professional and family obligations rightfully push training to the back seat, and for those living in urban environments, the difficulty of getting in quality training is exacerbated.

This is the point that resonated with us about Pete’s story: It’s easy to assume that having more time and living in a rural area is what Pete needed to get faster, but this isn’t necessarily true. It is so easy to use the barriers of our schedule, location and responsibilities as excuses, but Pete didn’t do this. Pete proved that with limited time and a complicated training environment, you can still get in ideal preparation for your goal event.

Enter TrainerRoad

Pete was introduced to TrainerRoad by his friends when they suggested that he give the Tour of Sufferlandria a shot. We’re not sure what kind of friends invite somebody to suffer like that, but we like them. As he worked his way through the Tour of Sufferlandria with TrainerRoad, he noticed how powerful it was for his training.

“I didn’t train as consistently as I would have liked during the week and it rarely was high quality. … My friends turned me on to TrainerRoad [and] it was really motivating when I could feel the workouts bringing improvements and I watched my FTP increase every 8 weeks.”

Structured Training

After a smattering of Sufferfest workouts throughout the winter, the time for serious training had arrived and Pete got to work.

“Once Ironman training season started I planned on doing my weekday bike workouts on TrainerRoad. … My plan was Tuesday: 60m recovery or sweet spot workouts, Wednesday: 90-120 mins of tempo work, Thursday: 60-75 of specific drills – usually hills or speed work. I would take it outside for my long rides on Saturdays.”

This is when Pete really started to see gains. Most of his “specific drills” saw him working at or around threshold with sweet spot intervals, intervals at threshold for as much as twenty minutes at a time, and a fair amount of VO2 Max and anaerobic work. This was a really smart choice by Pete to focus on such high-intensity work since his outdoor rides on the weekends allowed him to increase volume at a lower intensity.

By late Spring he had dropped ten pounds of weight and his FTP had gone up from 220 watts to 250 watts. This is a massive increase in power-to-weight ratio for an endurance athlete with such limiting circumstances and a demanding schedule. Planning your training so that you can be as specific and productive as possible during the week when you are more limited on time is the key to getting faster that so many endurance athletes are searching for. Pete followed this with diligence and it paid off in a big way.

Summer Training

Although the weather had changed for the better once summer had arrived, Pete stuck to his structured training schedule, and he saw his FTP raise even higher to 280 watts while still being able to drop another ten pounds! This is possibly the most important part of Pete’s story. His circumstances didn’t allow him long rides during the week, so he spent his training time indoors when plenty of other athletes were outdoors.

TSS Chart
You can still train for big endurance events like an IRONMAN when you are limited on time. Place more focus on intensity than duration during the week when you are crunched for time, and then increase the training volume while decreasing the intensity on the weekends.

 

All too often we receive emails from TrainerRoad athletes during the summer months that mention how they miss the fitness they had in the spring when they were still using TrainerRoad. Our first reaction when the weather is nice is to get out there and enjoy it on the bike, and we totally should! There’s almost nothing that compares with the feeling of riding at race pace and feeling good on a beautiful day. That’s the love that originally got us hooked on riding bikes, and you can’t afford to lose that.

That being said, the only thing that trumps that feeling is showing up on race day, knowing you’ve done all you can, and then blowing the competition or your personal best out of the water. Those weekly indoor interval sessions are what kept Pete improving and motivated, while his weekend rides help him recharge those batteries. Pete showed that even with a tight schedule you can make massive progress.

Hard Work Pays Off

As the summer progressed, Pete started mixing in more event simulation workouts that saw him once again at or around threshold. Once race day was on the near horizon, he started tapering the intensity in order to allow his body to be as fit and fresh as possible. Pete executed his bike split with precision and all of his hard work using TrainerRoad paid off as he was able to drop his bike split by 15%, but the benefits of all of his structured training didn’t stop there.

“I think my improvement was even better than the numbers indicate because not only did I drop 53:27, but I was also more knowledgeable about my power output so I could be more strategic on the bike which led to much fresher legs on the run.”

That is what we’re all about here at TrainerRoad; we want to make you faster!

We are firm believers that hard work pays off. It is so easy to blame a disappointing result on a lack of time, but Pete proved that wrong. With TrainerRoad, you can get the high level of structure you need no matter how time-crunched you are, and you’ll get results. Nice work Pete! Cheers to an even stronger 2015.



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Jonathan Lee

Jonathan Lee is a Level II USA certified cycling coach and the host of the Ask a Cycling Coach podcast. His background in the sport of motocross has translated into a passion for cycling, mountain biking and all things training. If you have a training question, submit your question for Jonathan to answer on the next episode of TrainerRoad’s podcast.

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