That’s a really common question among new triathletes to long course events as to how to pace yourself.
It’s very easy to start faster than you should in a long distance triathlon event, but it’s also easy to learn how to pace yourself for several hours. That’s something you have to incorporate to your training tough. If you learn how to control your rhythm and be patient with yourself day in day out it will come naturally on race day.
Some tools like heart rate, power, pace clock, GPS etc are of course great “friends”, but for those who race “by feeling” it works the same way. Unless you’re an outstanding swimmer, going hard on the swim will make you gain 2 minutes on the swim to lose 20 on the bike and on the run. Remember it’s a long day and you don’t want to give everything you have in the first 1.2 miles! Take it easy in the swim, avoid those hectic starts with 50 swimmers fighting for the same space in the water. Find your space, your rhythm and your stroke cadence.
Moving onto the bike, remember it will take you at least 10 minutes to get your body going again and moving from a horizontal to a vertical position. Your mind gets “pranked” and it will take it sometime to come back normal. You will have a few minutes of rest too so drink some fluids, eat a gel and spin in an easy gear! The key point of your ride will be from Km 30 to Km 80 more or less. That’s the portion of the race you should find your optimal pace, trying to keep the RPM you’re used too and feeling solid and strong pedaling! You do see some “hammers” passing by your side, but forget about them for now; you’ll see them later on the run as the hardest part is still to come on those last 13 miles on the run!
After clearing T2 you’re ready to rock and roll the last leg of the race! The Half Marathon! Start again conservative to feel your balance and rhythm on the first 2-3mi and then build into your targeted race pace! Don’t forget to follow your nutrition plan on the run too and keep your body cooled down as Mercuryman is a hot and humid race!
Article written by:
Guilherme Ferreira Campos
Italian Long Course Pro Athlete and Coach