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Pacing a Sprint Triathlon

Naturally, given the name, a sprint triathlon, these are short events that require a lot of power to get round in the fastest time. So what is the best way to pace one of these efforts without blowing up?

Key points:

  • Aim for a positive split race.

  • Predict the right time.

  • Practice your race pace in training.

Typically, with any endurance event you want to aim for even pacing (meaning your pace should be consistent throughout the effort). You therefore need your time prediction to be very good (in other words, if you predict too fast a time, you will over pace by default, resulting in a slower time).

However, in the case of a sprint triathlon a positive split race is considered optimal. Meaning you are faster at the beginning of the event (or leg e.g. run leg) and gradually slow as you progress.

As the sprint triathlon is a short event, you will likely be working above your threshold. Meaning your energy will come from a large percent of anaerobic pathways (carbohydrates).

When working at these intensities it is inevitable your pace decline, as you only have a finite amount go energy available. Your training shoould reflect this by working on intervals above your threshold. This will help teach the body to cope with the fatigue that develops at this intensity (fatigue in this instant’s comes from lactic acid, inons and inorganic phosphates) and reduce the amount your pace declines when exercising at these intensities.

As a rough guide your race pace is going to be between 95-110% of your threshold depending on your ability. After the transition you may find your quick out the transition zones. Use this initial burst to keep a high pace or power, then (assume the power is not extremely high) try and maintain the pace/power.

Remember, you will need to handle a large amount of pain, but only for a short amount of time.


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