My Personal Trainer is fit, strong and young yet despite being one of the fastest swimmers and runners she lost 3 minutes to her rivals over the 20k cycle of a sprint triathlon. Next up she has a standard triathlon which has a 40k bike ride. She wants to ride faster and is, obviously going to ride 40k as fast as possible. How will she get on? Not well if she tries to ride 40k faster than her 20k.
You can’t just ride 40k at a faster pace but you can ride 10 4k sections at a much faster pace. In fact she won’t have 10 4k sections as, incorporated in them, there will be down hills, as well as flats and ups. I’ve recommended that she focuses on the areas where she can rest. That way she can push on hard, measuring her effort based on the recovery that she can get. In a race situation she may well find that, on reaching her recovery point, she has enough left to power on and not ease up. The motivation here, and motivation is what makes you tick, is that she’ll know that all the others will be easing up too. She can just ease up less than them before attacking the next manageable little chunk of speed and pain.
As her experience increases she’ll manage her power output based on the recovery. The more you break down a race or a climb the more manageable it is. For example when climbing Ditchling Beacon I arrive already having visualised the easier gradients. I do this so much that I think I can rest on them. Of course it isn’t a rest area but the thought got me there and it is where I make up my time, not on the hard bits, but by going faster on the bits that I have told myself are easy (well, easier).
My PTs climb up Arundel’s London Road is 1.5k at an average of 5.5%. But who wants to be average. If she breaks it down to 10 x 150m sections some will be easier than others. Taking on 10 manageable chunks she’ll be surprised at how much speed she will gain. In reality there are not 10 even sections but a load of easily recognisable different gradients to manage. As her experience increases she’ll get to know the gear, her effort and her ability to recover for each section and so maximise her ability to go faster. That is how I managed my last race (less than an hour’s pain) and how I plan on taking on the South Downs Way.
I gave her another bit of advice. She needs to visualise the ride, race and each section but more of that and how visualisation will get me through my South Downs Way effort at another time.