A question for Niamh Fitzpatrick on pacing

August 21, 2017 Leave your thoughts Posted under

I am doing the sprint triathlon at DCT. I am relatively new to this sport and I am a bit nervous that I won’t have anything left in the tank to keep myself going on the run. I tend to push myself way too far on the bike. Can you help? – Amy

Amy – I am wondering if you have had any specific triathlon coaching or training? The reason I ask this is to find out if you have a frame of reference for what would be an appropriate pace for the bike? Because in order to keep a good pace to get the job done but still leave you with juice in the tank for your run, you need first to understand what that pace feels like and without specific coaching it is wholly understandable that you might not. This is our starting point.

So, in order to access this information, you could consult with an experienced triathlete or coach if you know one, or you could join a triathlon club. There is a wealth of information in any of these sources and people will be only too delighted to help you. Get that information and once you know what’s enough, or too much pace wise, you can be confident on the bike as you will have a specific plan with regard to your speed, knowing that it will get you to the end of the bike ride with sufficient supplies in the tank for the run.

It is also useful to identify a process goal for the bike. Based on that plan developed with the help of a coach or club, use key words as prompts to remind you of the way that you need to ride for the time you are on the bike. If you have a prompt word or phrase that you can say to yourself periodically, or have taped to your handlebars, it keeps you in the present, focused on your plan. We need you to come off the bike for the run having done enough – no more and no less. To do this you have to give your full mind to the bike and not zone out, the key words (just one or two) will help you do this.

Also, start with the end in mind; in other words, thinking about September 1 when you look back at the race, what do you want to say about your Dublin City Triathlon experience? Is your goal simply to finish? Or maybe it’s to do a personal best overall, or on one section of the race? Once you have your goal this will give you added focus as when you achieve your goal you will be very proud because you have achieved X, Y or Z. Using the key words to keep you on track with the plan will help you to achieve those goals by becoming a lot more purposeful.