6 Secrets of the Ironman Bike

Photo by Jesse Hammond

You've trained for six, nine or more months for this day. The chaos of the swim is gone, you've gotten your cycling legs back and now it's time to get to work, to get down to racing the Ironman bike.

Stop!

For most triathletes, if you're going to booger months of training and ruin your race, you're going to do it on the bike leg.

More: How to Prep Your Bike for Race Day

Follow these tips to avoid that trap and ride your best Ironman bike leg.

#1. Set Yourself Up for the Run

The difference between a "good" swim or "bad" swim is only about two to four minutes. The difference between "easy" bike or a "hard" bike is only about 10 to 15 minutes. But the difference between a "good" and "bad" run can be measured in hours.

The truth is, your chances of dramatically slowing down happen in the last six to eight miles of the run. Therefore your focus all day is on creating conditions for success in the final six to eight miles of the run, NOT on putting up a sexy bike split. The Ironman run course is littered with the walking bodies of athletes who put up great bike splits. Just think about that.

More: Visualize Your Way to Ironman Run Leg Success

#2. Ride the Bike You Should, Not the Bike You Could

Your "could" bike split is the one you dream about, the one you told your friends on your last long ride when they remarked how fit you look, how hard you've been working, and ask you what you could ride at your race. In contrast, your "should" bike split is the bike that sets up the run.

The difference between "could" and "should" is about 10 to 15 minutes. Add 10 to 15 minutes to that sexy "could" split and set up the run. If you've made the mistake of riding too slowly, you have 26 miles of running to fix that mistake.

But if you made the mistake of riding too fast, that mistake now has 26 miles of running to express itself.

More: 4 Keys to Ironman Execution

#3. Do the Opposite of Everyone Else

The majority of the Ironman field doesn't know how to properly execute the bike. Proper Ironman bike execution is then largely a matter of doing the opposite of everyone else.

  • Ride easy for the first hour. Are you being passed by a LOT of people? That's a very good thing, trust me.
  • Manage your effort on the hills. Setting up the run is your priority, not racing for the non-existant $100 prize at the top.

Feel like you are going backward through the field? That's a good thing; they will come back to you somewhere during the day.

More: Dave Scott Ironman Race-Day Strategies

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About the Author

Rich Strauss

Rich Strauss is the head coach and co-founder of Endurance Nation. Try a free five-day trial membership or take a free online seminar and you'll receive a copy of the Four Keys of Ironman Execution DVD, a $37 value. Visit Endurance Nation to learn more about their triathlon coaching and free training resources.

Rich Strauss is the head coach and co-founder of Endurance Nation. Try a free five-day trial membership or take a free online seminar and you'll receive a copy of the Four Keys of Ironman Execution DVD, a $37 value. Visit Endurance Nation to learn more about their triathlon coaching and free training resources.

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