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Bike and Run Pacing for Triathletes: Thoughts on how hard should you train

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Article originally posted by USAT certified coach Michael Ricci at:
http://d3multisport.com/race-day-planning/bike-and-run-pacing-for-triathletes/

Many athletes have a hard time with regard to intensity. We all work hard in our daily lives, and it s only natural to want to work hard at being a better athlete. Working hard at doing the right things is far different then working too hard in an aerobic sense. How hard should you train on a daily basis Of course this depend on what time of year it is, what distance you are training for, and of course what your coach has on your schedule.

When I write a workout and I give an athlete a Zone1-2 workout, I expect the athlete to find the happy medium and train at a pace they could sustain all day. What I usually get when I check over a log is ..I went out too hard, and well I bonked.. or ..I was much faster on the first hour of my ride and then I kind of faded .

Run Pacing

My solution is to do a better job of explaining exactly what I want from my athletes. To provide you with a frame of reference, my LTHR (lactate threshold heart rate) on the run is about 168-171. My Zone 1 ends at about 155 bpm (beats per minute).

When I run training in a Zone 1-2, and I am running easy which is like a guilty pace , I am around 140 bpm. That would put me close to the top of my Zone 1. When I am running Steady (which I also call my Aerobic Threshold or AeT) I am usually around 148-150 which puts me about the middle of my Zone 2. With the exception of running tempo runs, I don t run over 155 in training. Sometimes I may see 160 on a steep hill, but I quickly get my HR back down by walking. Most of my Steady running is done at 150 bpm, so for me that 150 bpm is my AeT or Steady .

Your average HR during any particular run may vary by what type of terrain you are running on but take notice of your HR when you are running Steady on the flats; this HR should be in the comfortable zone where you can stay all day.

Now, having said all that; let me back up for a minute. Running Steady to me may be much different for you. You may find your Steady zone at the high end of Zone 1. Or you have may find your Steady zone at the top end of Zone 2.

You should be able to see a marked difference between running easy and running Steady . When I am around 140-145 it s a pretty easy run. Once I jump over that magical number of 147-150 I see a change in my breathing and my effort is increased. I can still run aerobically here, don t get me wrong, but I am no longer running easy . You should feel and even hear a change in your breathing pattern. This is when you are running Steady . Once I get into this zone, I don t look at the HRM (heart rate monitor) too much, I know where I am effort-wise and the HR will usually settle between 147-152. Your objective should be to get comfortable enough with the HRM that eventually you can look at it and know exactly what your HR is. By monitoring your breathing you will know when you have crossed that line of easy to Steady .

If you can follow the above and practice the discipline of just running Steady when you are assigned those Zone 1-2 runs, you will improve your running. Spend as much time as you can running Steady and it will pay off.

Bike Pacing

Now how does this apply to biking Once again, to provide you with a frame of reference, my LTHR (lactate threshold heart rate) on the bike is about 155-160. My Zone 1 ends at about 141 bpm (beats per minute).

When I bike train in a Zone 1-2, and I am riding easy I am around 125 bpm. That would put me close to the top of my Zone 1. When I am biking Steady I am usually around 135-140 which puts me about the middle to the top of my Zone 2. With the exception of climbing hills, I don t run ride over 140 in training. Sometimes I may see 145 on a steep hill, but I quickly get my HR back down by spinning easy. Most of my Steady or AeT biking is done at 135-140 bpm.

The fun thing about cycling is that you can tie in your HR to your cadence and then to your power (in watts) if you access to that type of equipment. I enjoy being on my Compu Trainer pedaling along at 125 bpm, and seeing my watts at 200 and my cadence dialed in at 90 RPMs. Riding Steady becomes easier the more you do it. Once you can go out there and nail a ride at Steady effort for 3 hours you are ready for a little more of a challenge: Upper Steady which will be discussed in a future article.

Michael Ricci is a USAT certified coach. He can be reached for personal coaching at mike@d3multisport.com.

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