MarkMark joins Debbie for another podcast triathlon talk.  Today we talk about how to pace on the bike when training for an Ironman Bike.  Before we get into the topic of cycling we chat about what Mark is up to these days for his fitness training.  Surfing is his main sport as well as running and functional strength training!  Mark shares a new device to help improve your movement and training when running…listen in.

The other weekend I was doing a long training bike ride to build up my endurance for whenever I may do another half or full Ironman so I am training by my heart rate.  My husband Neal and I had a conversation about how to pace on a long ride (or run)…do you start your ride (or run) at the lower end of your training heart rate zone and build up your pace.  Or do you start fast at the high end of your aerobic heart rate training heart rate then see how long you can hold the pace… then slow down!?  For example do you start your long bike ride at 120 heart rate of a range of 120-140 heart rate or do you stay up towards 130-140 heart rate ranges?

What does the triathlon guru and coach Mark Allen suggest?  Listen in to the podcast.

It depends if you start the season with muscular strength to generate power or not… your perceived effort level at your aerobic heart rate range will vary.

If you build up your pace during the bike ride then build up gradually in the bike ride will help you do that in your Ironman races.  When your aerobic fitness improves through the training season because you have been training by your aerobic heart rate training ranges then you will be riding faster and stronger at the same heart rate.

Now in the Northwest we have two Ironman races that are hilly… Coeur D’Alene and Whistler (IMC).  Ironman Canada in Whistler is especially a tough hilly bike course so how do we train on hills while staying in our heart rate ranges?  We need to find hills that are smaller then gradually find steeper and longer hills that you can control your heart rate.  I find so many people ride too hard on hills and with poor cycling technique so they exhaust their legs for the rest of the bike ride then the run.  We need to train for 112 mile bike ride then be able to run 26.2 miles so we need to build up that aerobic engine. We want a steady pace that we can gradually build the pace as we go…while smiling and having fun!

Should we add a tempo or pace workout ride during the week and keep our heart rate lower on our long rides?  I enjoy doing one tempo ride per week or repeats as the race gets closer.  Riding in a big group sometimes (all the time) is more challenge to control your pace and ride by heart rate.  Perhaps you should pick your training partners for specific workouts…I used to ride with a friend that is faster and strong on hills once a week so I could push myself.  On my long rides I prefer to ride alone or with my husband as I want to ride at my pace, how I feel and my heart rate.  It is hard to find training partners who ride exactly how you feel like riding that day so you may need to have an understanding on the goal of the bike ride workout that day.  Same for the run!

Mark shares tips how to train for hills and endurance.  We want to gain efficiency when riding to create muscle memory.  Watch your cadence on the hills… some people climb around 70-80 rpm.  Goal is to find a cadence that isn’t bogging down the muscles…no grinding and mashing the pedals where you waste energy for the run.  You don’t want to build up lactate in your legs!   You can win your age group by climbing conservatively instead of hitting it hard.  Listen to your body and how you feel that day.  Focus on improving your pedal stroke and efficiency.

How should we add distance to our long bike rides?  Mark coaches his athletes to build up volume around 10% and train by time as the course varies.  A 5 hour bike ride on the flats versus a 5 hour ride on the hills is going to different miles.  It is more about getting the stimulate and effect on the body as well as how long it take the body to recover.  In Ironman we still have to run 26.2 miles after the 112 bike ride so build up your endurance and aerobic engine to have a successful race!  Build up your pace and train by your aerobic heart rate most of the time!

Find more info about Mark’s coaching program at and find him on Facebook!  Click here to find Mark Allen’s coaching site

Talk to you next time.  Please let us know your  questions and ideas for podcast topics.  I am here for you!  Please give us a rating on ITunes and write a review…of course 5 starts is ideal!

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