Sprint – stay as close to the redline as possible without going over. If you cross the redline you may feel unable to breathe, your form will fall apart and panic may set in. In a sprint go as fast as you can while maintaining control.
Olympic – .9 miles is a long swim and the race that follows will take 2-3 hours. You want to be well below threshold. Zone 3 is ideal, but what is zone 3 in a swim? Zone 3 should feel like a strong, fast, and controlled effort comparable to your effort in the pool for a set of 10×100′s on an interval that you could get a smooth 10 seconds rest on throughout.
Half– 1.2 miles is not much different than the Olympic distance but your total race is hours longer. At this distance you want to cruise. Picture those long pull sets of 8×200′s and how you would settle in to your “get it done” pace.
Ironman– the 2.4 miles swim is the warmup for a very long day. Think zone 2, easy swimming but focused on form, efficiency, and sighting. No surges and no burning matches. Steady! Steady! Steady!
Full throttle for Sprint through Half Ironman distances. Keep it simple: helmet, sunglasses, shoes, and go. Transition for Ironman requires some nutrition and sunblock. Be methodical and get out on that bike.
Sprint– Zone 4-5. Your legs are burning, your tongue is hanging out, and you’re panting like a puppy dog. You’re in the biggest gear on your bike that you can hold a 90 cadence. It takes constant focus and self talk to hold your power or speed.
Olympic– Start the bike in zone 3 and finish it in zone 4. Doing a gradual negative split will ensure you have enough juice left to run. Depending on your fitness level you have 1 hour or maybe a little more of time you can spend in zone 4. So for most athletes that makes the majority of your ride a zone 3, steady good working effort. It will feel like you are holding back slightly. Use your zone 3 time to eat and drink.
Half Ironman– Zone 3 ALL. DAY. LONG. No spikes. No surges. You’re in aero ALL. THE. WAY. Control! Control! Control! Eat and drink the entire ride getting ready to race a half marathon.
Ironman– Zone 2 ALL. DAY. LONG. Ride easy. Ride without ego. Let the masses pass you in the first hour then reel them all back in, one at a time at the latter part of the ride.
TRANSITION/T2 – Again, full throttle from Sprint through Half Ironman distance. Shoes and race bib/ belt is all you need. For Ironman go through your bag and apply everything you brought then get out of that tent and start moving.
Sprint– Pacing for a sprint does not exist. You run as fast as you possibly can. You may have a number in your head but it won’t matter. You will run what you can, turning those legs over quick, quick, QUICK!
Olympic – Once on the run you are at threshold all the way. Threshold is the fastest pace you can hold for about an hour. In an Olympic, run pace should be close to your half marathon open pace.
Half Ironman – Settle in at your open marathon race pace. Try not to let the excitement of transition get to you as you start the run. Steadily click the miles off one after another getting in your hydration and nutrition at each aid station.
Ironman – Just run easy. Take walk breaks every mile, and be patient. Your pace should be marathon pace plus a minute per mile. Take it out cautiously and when you get down to the final hour YOU. CAN. GO!
FINISH LINE- ALL DISTANCES
Celebrate, soak it in, and be proud of yourself. Every race has it’s challenges and requires a well trained body and a confident smart execution