So you’ve done the training and you are ready to race. The fitness, power and pace you bring into the last week can’t be changed, however there are three factors on race day that you need to control to get the best result possible. These factors, Pacing, Nutrition, and Mental Tenacity are built on knowledge and skills gained during training which are not about athleticism.
Pacing: The longer the race, the more important it is to control you pace in the race, especially for 70.3 and Ironman. The swim should not be at 100% for distance. Drafting is good, unless you are truly a pointy end swimmer. If you exit the water and find your heart rate is on or over your run threshold (LTHR) you have gone to hard and will pay later.
For the bike pace, target a TSS of 180 for 70.3 or 285 for Ironman, that equates to an intensity factor (if) of 0.85 for 70.3 or 0.75 for ironman. This will leave you with legs which can run. For those who are not on TrainingPeaks, an intensity factor of 0.75 is essentially a heart rate of 75% of your 1 hour best effort average. For olympic distance an intensity of 0.95 or a heart rate of 95% of threshold is the target.
I recommend setting a push cap for passing and hills and manage efforts within the caps. keep the plan simple though!
It is important to get you heart rate down quickly if it is high from the swim. I’d recommend ensuring it isn’t by controlling the swim pace, however, if it is, deal with it, don’t ride let it take 10 minutes to settle, you will pay later in the race!
Likewise the first half of the run needs to be controlled to 80% for 70.3, 70% for IM or 95% for Olympic thereafter it’s your opportunity to use what you’ve got left.
Pacing is by far the most important controllable on race day. You need to go in with a plan and execute it.