Big gear work equals big gains

Big gear training, the best protein, and why wetsuits are fast

Good morning everyone,

As we write this it’s Thanksgiving here in the U.S. and here at The Tempo, we’re thankful for your incredible support!

No Turkey Trot this year as I’ll be doing a hard bike workout before heading over to a friend’s house for Thanksgiving dinner - where you’ll find me eyeing up my favorite dish, the stuffing!

In today’s edition:

  • 🦵 Why big gear work equals big gains

  • 🍳 What are the highest-quality proteins?

  • 🏊‍♂️ And how much faster is swimming with a wetsuit?

Thanks for being here.

-Matt Sharpe, newsletter editor

Headshot of Matt Sharpe

Have a triathlete in your life who can't stop swimming, biking, or running? Fire this off to them. Forwarded from a friend? Sign-up for free. 


Big Gears Equals Big Gains

World Triathlon

Most high-level triathletes will ride at around 90-100 revolutions per minute (RPM) for training and racing. But for investing and performance, diversification is key, and for triathletes, incorporating low cadence intervals can pay dividends on race day.

What is it: Low cadence (RPM) work is simply riding at a lower gear than normal.

  • Typically anywhere from 50 - 70 RPM.

My legs are asking ‘why': Big gear work can definitely be uncomfortable, but there are loads of benefits, including dropping serious watt bombs in your next race!

Big gear benefits 👇

🔎 Improve pedaling technique:

By slowing down the RPMs, more attention can be paid to pedal stroke and where dead spots and inefficiencies are occuring.

💪 Build muscular endurance:

When using a bigger gear, more muscle fibers in the glutes, quads, and hamstrings will be activated. With consistent training, they will adapt to the training stimulus and become more resistant to fatigue!

Read: Example big gear cycling workouts.

👟 A better run: 

With more fatigue-resistant muscles, the legs are able to come off the bike feeling fresher and ready to attack the run.

What to watch for: With the reward of increased strength and power comes the risk of injury. The high torque and strength required to do big gear work can be hard on your knee joint.

  • Frustrating muscle tears and strains can also occur.

For beginners: If you’re just getting into big gear work keep the intervals on the shorter side (4-5 minutes) and keep the cadence at 60RPM or above!

An example starting point would be something like 4x (5 minutes big gear @65RPM with 3 minutes easy @85+ RPM)

Tempo’s take: Big gear riding is definitely a classic early-season workout and a great way to build strength. It was always a component of my training when I was preparing for the Olympics, and now that I’m racing half Ironmans it plays an even bigger role in getting me ready to ride hard and still run well off the bike!


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🚵 On and off-road: Just getting into triathlon and wondering if you can race on your mountain bike? Hell yeah! This video shows how to set up your off-road rig into an on-road rocket ship. [Taren’s Mottiv method]

🍳 Protein quality: Protein consumption is critical for athletic and life performance, but how do we actually measure the quality of our protein? And which sources have the highest quality? The answers really surprised us! [My Sports Science]

🤓 Be more productive: Productivity in 30 seconds! Get success stories and tips that boost efficiency with ProductivityGlide's 30-second email. Subscribe here. [Sponsored]

🏆 Champions chat: It was a dream season for these NCAA DI, II, and III triathlon champions. Check out this interview and learn what it’s like training as a team and how they balance demanding school and sport schedules. [Triathlete]

💸 Black triday: Have you snagged any Black Friday deals? Well, this list of triathlete tech from Apple, Garmin, and Form might be a wallet-opener! [DC Rainmaker]

💨 Which wheels: Looking for a new set of hoops? Cycling News took 10 of the best brands into the wind tunnel to see who is really the quickest. The most interesting result, the differences are pretty marginal! [Cycling News]

🤯Wetsuit win: It definitely feels faster, but how much faster really is swimming with a wetsuit? According to this video, a lot! Plus, the bonus hack that’ll make you swim even quicker. [Effortless Swimming]


Let’s be real, we all love a little extra space in transition!

It’s Black Friday, so this one definitely seems appropriate 😆


Team takes shape: British triathletes Alex Yee and Beth Potter have been selected for the Great Britain Olympic team for 2024. Both have blistering run speed and are serious threats for the gold medal. [British Triathlon]

Iron record: Canada’s Zach Bernier recently set the U20 World Record for the Ironman finishing IMAZ in 8:44:56. [NS News]

Series set: The Riverina Triathlon series is set for next February, starting with The Rock Triathlon on February 4th. [Daily Advertiser]

Bike thieves: Police in Mossel Bay are on the lookout for two competitor’s bicycles that were stolen from the recent Ironman event. [Algoafm]

Triathlon upgrade: Ridgefield, Connecticut officials are looking to spend their remaining American Rescue Act funds on two electric boats to support the TriRidgefield triathlon. Money well spent we think! [Ridgefield Press]

Big money: Noosa The 40th edition of the Noosa Triathlon was a boon to the local economy as $28 million was injected during the race weekend, and $1.2 million was raised for charity. [TRI247]


Challenge Canberra

Women’s race: The women are the class of this event with a very strong end-of-year field. Fenella Langridge (GBR) and Lotte Wilms (NED) should be battling for the top spot, but Penny Slater (AUS), Radkha Kahlefeldt (AUS), and Els Visser (NED) are also extremely strong contenders for the podium.

Men’s race: Daniel Baekkegard (DEN) should have his run of this field. But if he falters, than Caleb Noble will most likely be the one to catch the crown. 


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