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40k TT

Our 40k TT training plans are suited to any cyclists looking to grow their sustainable power/FTP, but they're especially suitable for time trialists, stage racers and multisport athletes from sprint-distance to full-iron distance triathletes. 

Riders have the option of completing the entire 12-week plan which includes Base, Build and Race phases, or they can bypass the initial 4 weeks of 40k TT-specific Base and dive right into the Build and Race phases, each 4 weeks long. 

Three Primary Components

Initially, these training plans consist of 3 primary workout types, each targeting a specific yet overlapping training adaptation.

  • First, Sprint workouts seek to grow a rider's capacity for speed.
  • Then, VO2max workouts take some of this speed and carry it into longer but still high-intensity efforts. 
  • Finally, Threshold workouts aim to fold both benefits into efforts which target improved muscular endurance. 


Sprint Workouts

Even riders who will rarely, if ever, rely on well-developed bursts of explosive power, i.e. sprints, sprint workouts are still tremendously beneficial to all types of riders.

By opening up dormant lines of communication between your brain and existing muscle fibers, you can effectively increase the number of available muscle fibers you use to turn the pedals.

What's more, you can do it without adding any dreaded muscle mass or weight since you're simply activating muscle that's already there.

In its most useful sense, this increased neuromuscular communication can distribute the workload more evenly over more muscle mass - mass you're already carrying around yet underutilizing - and consequently reduce overall muscle fatigue and extend time to exhaustion. 

Another of several benefits of sprint training, speed work can vastly improve the efficiency with which you pedal by training your muscles to fire more efficiently, relax more effectively and eliminate or reduce wasted motion.


VO2max Workouts

In much the same way sprint workouts don't seem as though they'd offer any clear benefit to steady-state athletes, VO2max workouts definitely have their place in a 40k TT training plan.

VO2max workouts effectively "create space" for FTP growth. When you feel like you've pushed up against your current sustainable-power ceiling, VO2max work can help you raise it in order to accommodate another increase in FTP.

By working well above FTP for short (yet seemingly agonizingly long) periods of time, your mind improves its ability to cope with the discomfort of high-intensity, sustained efforts while your body elevates its ability to sustain higher power output.

As an example, Riders A&B both have an aerobic capacity of 300w (roughly 120% FTP but this can vary a fair amount). But, Rider A is more aerobically fit and can sustain a higher percentage of his aerobic capacity (90%) when riding at FTP while Rider B can only hold 85% of his aerobic capacity.

Rider A can then ride at 270w for roughly an hour while Rider B can only hold his power at 255w for that same duration.

Add to this the change in your muscle physiology which furthers your ability to process more oxygen and spare sugar - at pretty high workloads/power outputs - and it's easy to recognize the benefit of these weekly, high-intensity intervals.


Threshold Workouts

With increased muscle contribution and improved aerobic capacity in the works, it's then time to focus on every steady-state athlete's bread and butter: muscular endurance.

Also referred to as strength endurance, this is quite simply the ability to push the pedals hard for long periods of time. In the case of 40k time trialists, roughly an hour.

But by improving your 1-hour power, i.e. FTP, even full-iron distance triathletes who can be on the bike for 5-7 hours per event can cut their ride time by learning to operate at a higher percentage of FTP. 

Using Riders A&B again, say rider A improves his FTP to 330 watts while Rider B plateaued at 300w.

If both riders endeavor to compete over a full-iron distance bike segment and sustain 70% of their FTP's, Rider A will have ridden at 231w while Rider B could only sustain 210w.

You don't need a math degree to figure out which rider is likely to have a better bike split.  

Higher-Volume Additions

For those riders with additional training time who choose the Mid Volume and High Volume options, most weeks will also include some additional Endurance workouts as well as some two-a-day Recovery workouts.

The added Endurance workouts target aerobic adaptation, i.e. how well you utilize oxygen and spare/optimize glycogen usage, and the relatively low intensity means these workouts won't necessarily burn you out and compromise the quality of your interval workouts.

The optional Recovery workouts are even lower on the power output spectrum and compliment an earlier, high-intensity workout. Ideally, they're performed within 4-24 hours of your harder workout and their intention is primarily to enhance a wide range of positive reactions to training.

Recovery rides need only be 20-40 minutes long to have an impact, but riders can extend them up to 60 minutes if they don't incur any negative training impact, primarily residual fatigue during next interval workout.

The effort is low, really low, as these rides are about little more than logging time in the saddle in order to foster certain adaptations which typically only come after much longer periods of time in the saddle. 

Progressing Toward your Time Trial

As riders work their ways through the optional, but highly encouraged, Base phase (weeks 1-4), each interval workout grows in severity, and the endurance workouts grow in duration.

Later, as riders progress to/and through the Build phase and through the Race phase, all workouts become increasingly specific to your ultimate goal: increased power at your functional power threshold.

This specificity is vital and will set the stage for what's sure to be your best 40k or stage race time trial, local hill climb or triathlon bike split.

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  • Avatar
    Kent Wrankmore

    Hi Guys

    I have a long term goal of competing in my National TT event in just under a years time.

    How often should i be repeating the 12 week program? I would ideally want to improve my threshold power for an hour every 12 week cycle. Should i take breaks in between each 12 week program and if so how long do you suggest?

    Any other suggestions or advice on plans to use would be greatly appreciated.



  • Avatar
    Tatjana Injac


    I have the same question as Karl. Can you answer?

    Thanks, Tanja.

  • Avatar
    Kent Wrankmore

    Anyone??? Been a while...

  • Avatar
    Chad Timmerman

    Apologies, Kent. I'm not sure why I'm not getting notifications on updates to this page but we'll look into that.

    With repeated uses of any specialty block, I like to have riders take either a short break (7-10 days of riding for fun with no real intensity or not riding at all), work in an endurance block (1-2 weeks of nothing but 60-80% mileage at reasonably high volume levels) or enter a ReBuild block.

    I want to roll out some of the latter very soon here, one each for the Sustained Power (which is what I'd recommend for you), Short Power & General Builds. And all they consist of is a week of very easy riding, then the final 4 weeks of whichever build block you used, e.g. weeks 5-8 of the Sustained Power Build.

    These allow you to reassess and then dive back into a repeat of your specialty block (or a new one) with a bit of freshness and newly adjusted power zones.

  • Avatar
    Kent Wrankmore

    Thanks for the feedback. It's greatly appreciated. I have been loving the structured training although due to outside commitments have not been able to progress into the real meat of the 12 week program, but things should quiet down soon. Even with the amount of training i have been doing on the IDT i have noticed a significant improvement in my efficiency on the bike when i'm outside which is why i love training indoors. You getting better and more focused training in a shorter time frame. Keep up the good work and look forward to more TT programs in the future. Cheers

  • Avatar
    Tatjana Injac

    Thanks, Chad. Much appreciated.

  • Avatar
    Michael Leonard

    Chad, for the high volume 40K TT training plan, there are only 6 days of training. Do you recommend a full day of rest every week? I've heard folks say you should not plan a day off (b/c life will do that when you least expect it), but instead to at least ride in Z1/2 for about 60 mins. What are your thoughts? Also, is it better to just take a full day off vice riding something like Pettit -1?

  • Avatar
    Chad Timmerman

    Hi Michael, recovery is like any other aspect of training in that it's as subjective as anything - what works for you may not work for others and vice versa. And when it comes to recovery, there are just as many variables in play as there are when it comes to training itself, e.g. age, experience, non-cycling stressors, diet, etc. It's really just a matter of how well you can adapt relative to the amount of stress you're inflicting on your body during training.

    So it's up to each rider/coach to determine what sort of training load can be tolerated relative to the amount of recovery that keeps adaptation & improvement taking place all without becoming ill, too far overreached, and even overtrained. There's support on both sides of the issue and plenty of riders can recovery effectively doing light, recuperative "active" recovery, so why not you? Maybe it works, maybe it doesn't - only one way to find out. ;-)

  • Avatar
    Michael Leonard

    Thanks Coach Timmerman for your response and time.

  • Avatar
    Chethan Ram

    I am currently doing a 40K TT Pan and I have finished 2 weeks. I have a 34km TT coming up on March 19th. According to this current plan I will have completed 5 weeks of training. Can we make some changes to the plan so that I am prepared for the March 19th ITT? Or how do I go about it?

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