The Long Course Triathlon Execution Seminar, Lesson #3 — Bike Pacing and Hills

In this lesson, we will cover pacing the bike and riding hills. This is critical because…if you are going to booger 6-9 months of training and ruin your race, you’re going to do it on the bike!!!

We hope you enjoy this lesson. We’ll be back soon to explore Run Pacing and Mental Strategies.

Rich & Patrick


Part 1: Ironman® Bike Overview

We’ve done a lot of races ourselves and have coached hundreds of athletes to Ironman® finishes.

We’ve spectated and officiated on the courses.

We’ve seen the 10,000 foot view of the bike AND the run and we can tell you…that 90% of field doesn’t know how to execute the bike.

As a result they ride significantly harder than they should and subsequently detonate on the run. Again, your objective on race day is to set up the last 8-10 miles of the run…not to put up a fast bike split!

How fast does that bike split look when you are walking or shuffling on the run?


  1. Ride your should bike split, not your could split. Should sets up the run. Could likely results in a lot of walking and “try again next year.”
  2. There is no such thing as a “good” bike split followed by a poor run.
  3. 90% of the athletes don’t know what they are doing and are riding too hard. If you find yourself doing the opposite of everyone else, especially on the hills, that’s a good thing!
  4. Pacing:
    • All: Ride at least one hour, or more, at a Zone 1, Just Riding Along (JRA), Go All Day pace.
    • Heart Rate Athletes: After this first hour or so, for athletes expecting to ride longer than about 6hrs, dial in an upper Zone 1 heart rate. Sub 6hrs = low to mid Zone 2 heart rate.
    • Power Athletes: Proper Ironman® pacing is an Intensity Factor (IF) of .7-75.

Part 2: Riding Hills

If you follow our advice below you’ll find yourself going backwards on the hills relative to everyone else, which is a good thing! You’ll also find yourself passing these rockstars on the crests and on the downhills. More importantly, you’ll set yourself up for a great run!

Please read our hill climbing guidance here: Climbing Smart on Race Day


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Team Endurance Nation Race Group Training at The Woodlands, Texas