June 10, 2011

13.5, the magical number

I'm finding many challenges in training for the Steelhead half Ironman.  One of them is finding a biking pace that will allow me to run 13.1 miles after having biked 56 miles. If I were just doing 56 miles on bike as a single event I'd aim for an average speed somewhere between 15 and 20 miles per hour depending on the course conditions. But if I did that during Steelhead I think I'd fall over after the first mile of running. So, I've been playing around with tempo and pace during my longer rides. One would think that it should be easier to go slower, but my inner cyclist finds it especially challenging not to go as fast as I'm capable of going. First I tried 15 mph, but that was a bit too much for the legs. Then I tried 10 mph and that was way too slow. Recently I discovered that 13 - 14 mph is the magical pace that I can sustain easily for 56 miles and still have some left over for a half marathon. I'll still have my challenges during the run, but at least I've found a workable tempo. Hopefully with some summer speed drills I'll be able to bring it up to 15 mph, but 13.5 mph would put me in at just over 4 hours for biking, which makes my goal of completing the 70.3 in under 8 hours seem that much more doable.

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