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Hey Joe,

I know it isn't a simple answer, but what about the typical road race when pacing yourself means getting dropped and having to work with a small group or alone? Is there anything that we can do other than just bite the bullet and stick with the group?


Joe Friel

Steve--Stay tuned...


I know, "nothing new under the sun" but...

If you buy a power meter, and try to pacing with power, then you're miles ahead of the others. My LTHR is basically the same all year, but when it comes to power output, so there are some major differences. I first learned something about proper pacing after I had bought a power meter. All training sessions are also training in pacing from an endurance workout to a VO2-max session and so on. How will you eg pace a a Vo2-max 10x(30 +30)s interval without a power meter, yes, it would be very difficult with only a heart rate monitor available. Pacing with a heart rate monitor might be okay sometimes, but HR alone tells you nothing about, for example, coupling/decouling. There are so many advantages in using a power meter, so it would be a long story but the bottom line is that pacing is a learned skill, and the best way to achieve this skill is to use a power meter.


this afternoon and evening the first 6hours mtb race of the year. there is a lot of wind (up to 80km/h), there will be lots of excitement due to the fact its the first race, there will be the friends that are just a little too fast to follow, the heart rate monitor will indicate too high values due to the adrenalin, no power meter available on the mtb, pacing will be o so difficult, once again... Joe, your article is just in time to be warned, once again !!!


Fantastic post, Joe. I preach the same message again and again and try to get my runners to practice this in every workout and race. I'm looking forward to your thoughts on HRM and pacing. I suspect we have the same opinion!!


Gordon Moore

Thanks Steve for taking the question right out of my mouth!
I'm looking forward to your next post Joe, as this is a tactical problem I face all the time and haven't been able to figure out.

It seems like I have two choices: I can go anaerobic early on the first steep hill and stay w/ the group for at least a little while but then pay the price, or stay at my threshold and get dropped and face the remainder of the race in the wind.

I know this means I need to train my anaerobic endurance (one of my goals this season), but like Steve, I was hoping you might have some advice on how to ride smarter in this situation.

Thanks for a great blog,

Joe Friel

Gordon--There is no smarter. There's only fitter.

The Mother Freakin' Princess

Very interesting. I'm a new reader of your blog, but as a family we're reading your Mtn Bike Training Bible. I'm currently healing an injury from...over training! I'm excited to heal up and race my second season, hopefully I'll have learned a few things ;)


This is an AWESOME post... I'm trying to learn my lesson in this area. I've been training with a heart rate monitor for a couple years. I find that as you progress in your training, it becomes more difficult to go off heart rate early in your run/bike. Initially, your heart rate shoots right up to where you want it... now it takes at least 20 minutes, it seems, for it to level off. I'm really trying to get a feel for RPE. Thanks for all of your advice, Joe... both of your triathlon books are extremely helpful, as are your coaches replies to my email questions.


Hi Joe, a question for you. During a recent camp with an IM world champion and one of the sport's "hottest" runners right now I was quite suprised to hear that her first 2 miles of the marathon were the quickest compared to the pace she settled for the remainder of the race. She also mentioned a similar tactic by some of the other top pro runners (former IM champions). Doesn't that contradict the notion of pacing or am i missing something?
Your thoughts always appreciated and of high value.

Joe Friel

Alex--The pro race is as much a head game as it is a physical game. Trying to discourage the competition is a typical tactic.

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