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Strategy for a Sprint triathlon
I'm a fairly decent bike racer getting ready to do my first triathlon (sprint , 1/4 swim, 13 mile bike ride, 5k run). I'm trying to figure out pacing and strategy for the race. I'm a pathetic swimmer, and runner, but my bike split should be toward the top of my age group. While I have 6 weeks to work on the swim and run, I will likely still be the last guy out of the water, and will be painfully slow running.
My question is how hard should I go on the bike split. If it were a TT I would just go at a few beats above Lactate Threshold for the 13 miles. However I know that would leave me dead for the run. I'm thinking though that my only hope to make up any time is on the bike. Thus one strategy would be go all out on the bike, and then just survive the relatively short run. (figuring I can't get much slower than my already slow running pace.) Does this make sense or is it suicidal, not to hold back some for the run.
Cervelo SLC-SL, Guru Photon, Waterford, Specialized CX
Try it. You're got six weeks. You should be combining two legs any way during your tarining.. Do the 13 mile bike hard and then jump in and run the three miles. If you can't finish the run without walking, back off the bike leg
I can into triathlons from a biking background, and the strategy I used was too count my losses on the swim, push it on the bike, and sustain it on the run.
So, for the next six weeks, focus on your running, while still biking to keep your legs fresh. When you're doing the 5k, it's not like when you're out riding. It's only 5k, so it's all about pain. When you're in the pool just focus on stroke mechanics, make sure you get a decent breathing pattern so you'll feel comfortable in the water. There's not a lot of time to lose on the swim, and the bike is the substantial portion of the race, and where time can be gained.
Don't go all out on the bike, but do push it, since it's your strength. A 2 minute gain by pushing on the bike leg can equate to a 5 minute loss on the run, even if running isn't even your strength.
I had a long response forming in my head, but had a meeting to go to, so now I'll go with a short response.
1. 6 weeks is plenty of time if you are like me.
2. Cut back on cycling, maybe 1/2 your normal amount.
3. Start swimming, maybe every other day, preferably similar to what race will be like. lake, ocean, pool, whatever. Don't worry about how you look or whatever, just get in the water and go. It'll get better, don't worry. 1/4mile is short.
4. Just start running more. Maybe 3 or 4 days a week. Try mixing in a brick once a week (hard bike then run). If you can, try to add some speed workouts to get your average mile time to improve more. Like swimming, just doing it will make vast improvements.
5. Train hard, but don't injure yourself. If something hurts, don't force it. Then give yourself a few days to rest/taper before the race so you don't go into the race with sore legs or something.
Those are all tips I've come up with from the training i did this summer. I decided to do my first tri with about 4-5 weeks of good training. I was/am a good cyclist, but never did distance swimming, and used to run but not much anymore.
Come race day, just go fast! It's a short race, you'll survive. Survive the swim as best you can, then haul through the transition and get to what you know you are good at. Don't kill yourself on the bike, but make sure you are passing people! And you will if you have good race experience, which it sounds like you do. I spent my whole bike leg in the race passing lots of people, and was going hard the whole time. Once you hit the run, do what you can. Anything under 8 minute miles average will probably place you a bit above the middle places in that part of the race, you'd be suprised. Closer to 7 minute miles will be very good I think.