How To Pace Your Race

  • By Scott Fliegelman
  • Published Apr 16, 2014
  • Updated Apr 16, 2014 at 4:41 PM UTC
Photo: John David Becker


Ignore technology! That’s right, time is still a rather irrelevant piece of feedback, and the same goes for mph, thanks to wind, hills, etc.

Start easy. Allow your body 5–10 minutes to adapt to an upright position before settling in at your goal effort.

Commit to the effort you’d decided on before the race. Use a recent field test like a 20-minute “max effort” time trial, and then use a percentage of that effort to help guide you. (For help, use my free training and racing zones calculator at

Stay in your bubble! Stay present and focused on what you need to do, keep your thoughts highly relevant and don’t give in to the temptation to ride the pace of anyone zooming by you. Every now and then, peek out of your bubble at that guy in the funny looking tri suit as he huffs and puffs to beat you up that climb—you’ll probably see him again on the run!

Allow yourself no greater than a 10 percent effort increase on uphill sections and then aim to stay “on the gas” during the downhill until you reach 30-plus mph, when you can coast. Avoid hammering the uphills and then catching your breath on the downhill sections, as it will be faster and more efficient to keep a steady energy expenditure.

Over the last 5–10 minutes, back off a gear or two to allow your heart rate to settle down, and your legs to freshen up for the run. This is another reason not to be chasing a bike leg time or mph goal. You might achieve that minor goal but then most likely pay for it during the run.

RELATED – Ironman Workouts With Chris Lieto: The Bike

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