From the Coaches: Pacing for Performance

Some great insights and advice here. World class advice based on real world results!

I’ve only really applied myself to training the last 6-8 months (for an event that of course was postponed for another year) yet have been riding and taking part in sportives for 10+ years. I can honestly say I’ve never been stronger and better prepared on a bike than I am now, despite now officially being a MAMIL.

With these kind of inputs and the science and coaching staff behind it all, and if it’s applied the way it should be, how could anyone not become a better athlete? (I’d settle with just being considered an athlete!) I already feel ready for my event next year - London to Paris - and I’m just going to get stronger!

This is why I love the Sufferfest and why I will never leave… I know I can’t anyway!!


I made a reply to this thread in the Sufferlandia page on Facebook. I stated that I had a local segment that I was going to try and pace which I usually don’t, I just go full gas till I can’t which leaves me sucking wind at the top or I run out of segment. Prior to Sufferfest I was left sucking wind at the top since suff fest I run out of segment while still sucking wind. I would look back at my results have been seeing that I would get close but no cigar kind of thing for getting my next PR. My goal has been to try and get this segment under 3 minutes consistently. Plus I always finish this segment feeling like I could give more.
So I after reading @Coach.Neal.H article about pacing I decided to give it a go to see if it would help me out. This segment for all intents and purpose is basically flat, mathematically! In reality its about -1.2% down and maxes at 2% up so not a lot of variation but I feel just a enough to really home in on the idea of what pacing really is. However with the variation so tight I decided that a conservative even pace all the way around would be the best option so same speed down as up. I aimed for a 23 mph average around even though I went into it thinking I might have set this a bit high. When I reached the end of the segment it actually felt like I was just getting started and I was not sucking wind at all. I actually felt pumped and primed. My goal was to maintain an average speed all the way around which I did but I did not feel like I PR’d the segment because my breathing was too controlled. After looking at my Strava results, which I have decided to provide, boy was I surprise to see that I nailed it by 6 seconds. Maybe if I get this pacing thing down, because you know us attackers are not known for that steady pace, I can creep up on those guys on the leader board. I think I am going to try and aim for 24 mph and this time maybe I’ll remember my tickr, lol! Thanks @Coach.Neal.H for this thread its been a tremendous help!


Congratulations @BykeRyder18 - and great first name to boot! :wink:


Hey Sir @Coach.Neal.H, just thought I’d follow up on using a pacing strategy for my vEverest of Mt. Ventoux. First, I succeeded so yay me, lol! Second, I tried to use the pacing strategy using the gradient profile for the 19.1 km climb where the first 4 kms are in the 5-7% range, the next 10 kms in the 10-11% range and the last 5 kms are mostly in the 6-7% range if memory serves. While these markers may not be exact, what is clear is that there is about a 10km section of 10%+ that is just a grind and I tried to keep my effort up during that section while “relaxing” a bit in the opening and closing sections. The strategy definitely worked. My NP for the whole ride was about 10 watts higher than when I did a vEverest of Alpe d’Huez and another vEverest of London’s Leith Hill. I am super pleased with the results given that I was probably about 4 kg heavier going up Ventoux than both the Alpe. All that said, make no mistake, I still hate you :slight_smile:


Wow, Sir @Glen.Coutts! Congratulations on another vEveresting.

That’s super impressive, Sir.


My thoughts exactly. Well done Sufferfest.

This is a great article and clearly demonstrates the massive benefit of training through Sufferfest.
In my case, my motivation to commence structured training this year, was my very average performance in my first big sportive last year. - the Sean Yates Spring Classic. I started out too strong, ran out of steam, cramped and came home in a disappointing time. I achieved my objective for the day - but I had set my self a modest target for my first event.
Since then, I have completed the Hilly Gran Fondo 12 week plan and after a summer break, am now embarking on my second 12 week plan. My FTP has increased by 30 watts and my understanding of myself as a mature cyclist has grown. Armed with a sensible pacing strategy, I am targeting a Gold standard time for my age group next Spring (assuming it runs).
This is an excellent article which has really helped me to think through how best to incorporate pacing into my training. Thank you.

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Great to hear how you’re progressing! I’ll see you on the Sean Yates next year hopefully - it’s a tough one!

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Thanks. I’m really pleased with my progress under Sufferfest. I’ve been cycling for about 5 years but until this Spring, I have been riding, without any particular training structure. Looking forward to next Spring.


This is really interesting, thanks for writing it! I’m just curious about how you would set your pacing targets over a half Ironman course? I’ve never raced using the science of power meters and a kickr in training before, so finding this whole process fascinating.
So, I’ll use 200 as FTP as an easy figure. Given you’ve done 35 mins of swimming, what percentage of your FTP would you drop to account for that effort? And would you lower your percentage over the last 10km or so off the bike to help prepare for the run, or would you just work out your percentage for the whole 90km? I have a toddler at home so nearly all of my bike work is on the trainer, so I won’t get much practice on the road to try it all out before race day in 12 weeks, but I’d love to have some science to trial when I can escape outdoors!!

Very interesting article indeed! Will definitely experiment with GAP variations prior to my TT goal this year. I have always tried to keep calm in the initial uphill section of the course, but now I may trial and error a bit with GAP variation when spring comes to select the best and fastest strategy for the race.

Additional motivation!