Master 10 and 25-Mile Cycling Time Trials: Pro Tips and Training Techniques for Amateurs

by James Eacott

Master 10 and 25-Mile Cycling Time Trials: Pro Tips and Training Techniques for Amateurs

10 and 25-mile TTs in the UK are awesome (if brutal) because they bridge the gap between amateurs and professionals. You can directly compare times and, on occasion, even race your favourite pro in a local event. Before we crack on, check out our Pronto Bikes TT Events in 2024 - there's plenty to choose from, including lots of 10-mile and 25-mile events. Sign up today!

Right, let's dive into how the pros train for these events and how amateurs can take a page from their book.

Learning from the Pros

At the World Class and Olympic level, training for cycling time trials is a mix of art and science. Take, for example, the British cycling team. They've dominated time trials and track cycling due in part to their meticulous attention to detail and their philosophy of "marginal gains" where they spent years focusing on making marginal adjustments that collectively result in significant performance improvements.

Training Techniques of the Pros:

  • Structured Intervals: Pro cyclists like Geraint Thomas spend a lot of time working on interval training. These are high-intensity efforts followed by rest periods. For a 10-mile TT, you might see intervals of 3-5 minutes at race pace or slightly above, aiming to simulate the intensity and effort required in the actual race. For the longer 25-mile TT, the intervals might be longer, around 10-20 minutes, focusing on maintaining a steady, sustainable pace
  • Equipment Tweaks: Emma Pooley, a former professional cyclist and time trial specialist, often discussed the importance of aerodynamics. This includes not only choosing the right bike but also fine-tuning riding position and even the choice of helmet and clothing. All these factors can drastically reduce drag and improve times
  • Course Reconnaissance: Knowing the course is crucial. As per Tony Martin, a multiple-time world time trial champion, pre-riding the course to understand where you can push hard and where you need to conserve energy can make a huge difference. This strategy allows riders to optimize their effort throughout the race
  • Mental Preparation: Chris Boardman, who was known for his meticulous preparation for time trials, often spoke about the importance of mental strength. Visualization and mental rehearsals of the race help in coping with pain and maintaining focus during the hardest parts of the time trial.

Amateur Application

As an amateur, here’s how you can apply these pro tips:

  • Interval Training: Start incorporating specific intervals into your weekly training. Use a heart rate monitor or a power meter to gauge your efforts and ensure you're training at the right intensity
  • Equipment Investment: While you might not need the top-of-the-line time trial bike, investing in some aerodynamic gear like a proper time trial helmet or aero wheels can help. Also, consider a bike fit from a professional to optimize your position
  • Know Your Route: If possible, train on the course where the race will be held or on similar terrain. This familiarity will pay dividends on race day. Because many of our TTs take place at Castle Combe Race Circuit, this isn't necessary. Not only are the roads fully closed, but you'll have plenty of time for a spin around the 2-mile loop before your race. 
  • Mental Toughness: Practice mental strategies like setting small targets during your ride or using motivational mantras. Mental resilience is key, especially when the race feels longest

Quotes from the Pros

  • Geraint Thomas once said, "It's really about those intervals. You dread them, but they prepare you for the intensity of a time trial."
  • Emma Pooley noted, "Aerodynamics aren’t just for the pros. Even amateurs can see big gains from small tweaks."


Training like a pro for a 10 or 25-mile time trial doesn't require a World Tour cycling team's budget or resources. What it needs is dedication to structured training, some investment in equipment, knowledge of the course, and mental preparation. By emulating the approach of professionals, amateurs can significantly enhance their performance and enjoy the process of training and racing. Remember, every pedal stroke gets you closer to your personal best. Dive in, train smart, and see how fast you can really go!

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