Preparing for an Ironman (IM) race involves pacing and nutrition, which can determine if/when and how much you struggle. To achieve the best outcome, you need to be economical in your effort during the race.
Pacing on the bike is a critical aspect of the race that can impact your performance positively or negatively. A pacing strategy that you plan based on your training and fitness going into the race, can help you build mental and physical strength, particularly in the marathon stage. Proper pacing also helps with easier digestion and fuels your body to keep you energized to the finish line.
When preparing for the swim, beginners can use pace per 100 in the pool + 10 seconds. They can also use the rate of perceived exertion (RPE) of 4 and gradually build up to RPE 6. Over the distance, to maintain a pace, means your RPE will increase. I dont remember have a stick time goal because pace will be dictated by the wetsuit and current water conditions. As an advanced swimmer, the swim in my warm-up for the bike and I swim at an RPE of 6-7.
Pacing and fueling on the bike is crucial in setting you up for a strong run. Disciplined and consistent pacing and fueling on the bike is key, even if cycling is your strength. If you are cycling with power, your most recent Functional Threshold Power (FTP) or heart rate (HR) should be used along with RPE, as your intensity guide. Riding at an RPE of 3-6 on a scale of 1-10. Practice your IM pace in training on a longer ride and above pace, aiming for 60-80% of your overall time, with a lower range for beginners and a higher range for experienced athletes. If riding with heart rate, stay in 70-90% of your max heart rate.
How well you paced the bike with determine your marathon outcome. When you start the run, keep a steady pace and plan for structured walk breaks at aid stations. You might also plan a run/walk ratio strategy to follow from the beginning. Your RPE should be low relative to the marathon, with a HR of 70-80% of your target heart rate (THR) or pace zone 2. The RPE should be 3-5, accounting for effort, which differs from fatigue levels. Experienced athletes may need to adjust their effort based on changes in conditions, such as heat and hydration.
To prepare adequately for an IM, it is essential to be aware of your effort during training, which should not change on race day. Pacing should be specific to the build phase of training, including race simulations and B and C races to help you develop your pacing strategy and maximize your chances of success.
For a 70.3, the pacing guidelines are as follows: Swim – 6-7; Bike power – 83-85% FTP, 88-92% THR HR and pace, RPE 6-7, 75-85% 80-85% of THR pace; Run – 90-92 pace, with an experienced RPE of 5-5k over the course build-up to 7-8. Metric data should be used as feedback and may vary due to heat and hydration.
It is advisable to join relevant chatter, YouTube videos, podcasts, and seek advice from professional coaches to help you prepare adequately for an IM. Additionally, the day before the race, the pacing strategy should be ready, with pacing for each stage outlined. On race day, ensure that you are well-rested, fueled, and hydrated to give your best performance
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