How To Pace an IRONMAN 140.6 Bike

IRONMAN Bike Pace Guide. How to ride strongly and then run faster than ever.

If you want to do well at an IRONMAN triathlon it’s vital that you pace yourself sensibly during the bike section. Once your legs get too sore from riding hard you have almost no chance of running well afterwards. There is no going back from this point – the run section will feel like purgatory.

Therefore your goal is to ride at the fastest IRONMAN pace that still enables you to run well afterwards. In other words, don’t focus too much on being a hero and posting a super-fast bike split. If you ride too fast, the chances are you’ll undo all your hard work by not being able to run properly afterwards.

Riding at the right intensity takes discipline and courage especially when other people are overtaking you, but it really works. At around the 80-mile point, you’ll notice people starting to drop off while you continue to ride strongly, overtaking people as you go.

You’ll also find that pacing yourself sensibly helps you to digest your energy drinks and snacks far easier, which helps you maintain your energy levels going into the run.

Intelligent pacing leads to faster, more consistent IRONMAN results. And yet hardly anyone gets it right. I just hope this feature helps you make the right pacing choices at your next IRONMAN.

Use our Triathlon Race Pace Calculator to help you establish your optimal race-day IRONMAN bike intensity, so that you ride the best time possible while still saving your legs for the run.

Finally, remember that it’s crucial to base your IRONMAN race pace on recent training and race data, such as an FTP and HR Threshold test. Don’t be over-optimistic about your race pace or simply guess it. This is the path to failure.

Kickstart Your Training Today!
Choose from over 900 plans from 4-48 weeks long in beginner, intermediate, advanced, masters and off-season versions!

How To Test Your FTP

Functional Threshold Power (FTP) is the gold standard measure for cycling performance. It’s useful in all types of events from sprint triathlons all the way through to multi-stage cycle races like the Tour De France.

Knowing your FTP enables you to track your progress, analyse your rides and set accurate pacing strategies for your key events. FTP is essentially a measure of the best average power output you can sustain for 1 hour in a time-trial scenario.

To test your FTP you can conduct a simple 20-minute time trial, known as a “CP20” test.

1. You simply ride as hard as you can for 20-minutes and record your average power. This is your CP20 power output.

2. Once you know your CP20 power output you can work out your FTP.  Simply multiply your CP20 power output by 95% to get your FTP. You can also use our online calculator to determine your training zones

If your CP20 power = 200 watts
You would multiply it by 95% to get your FTP.
Therefore, your FTP would be 190 watts. 

Phil Mosley (Coach & Founder)
Phil Mosley (Coach & Founder)

Phil is a recognised endurance expert who founded MyProCoach in 2010 to offer smart training plans that still leave quality time for your family, friends & career - complete with highly-rated coach support (he has sold over 40,000 so far). Learn more here!

As featured on...

download (1)
220 triathlon

Popular Articles from the Training Tips Blog


Sign up for Phil's email newsletter!

Get expert training advice, the latest news and occasional discounts. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Kickstart Your Training Today!
Choose from over 900 plans from 4-48 weeks long in beginner, intermediate, advanced, masters and off-season versions!
Planning Your Off-Season

You can start our Off-Season (Fitness Maintenance) plans anytime you like.

They’re designed to help you maintain a good level of fitness when you’re not specifically targeting an event, such as, during the off-season, or anytime you’re taking a break from racing.

Planning For Your Event

For the best outcome, input the date for your “A” target race and the tool will default to a plan that will fill that gap nicely. If you want, you can then adjust the plan length to start it on a different day.

Note that you can still work in other, smaller races during your plan too!

The longer plans start easier and progress more gradually. This has a bearing on the difficulty level you choose. For example, a 12-week plan starts off at a higher level than a 36-week plan because with 12 weeks left there’s not as much opportunity to build up slowly.
Short Medium Long
4-12 weeks
14-24 weeks
27+ weeks
Required fitness level
Training phases
Fitness tests
Our Standard and Masters plans are designed to get you ready for your target event, while our Off-Season plans allow you to recover from a tough season but still maintain your well-earned fitness.
Approx. age
Under 40
Over 40
Recovery weeks
Every 4 weeks
Every 3 weeks
Strength sessions
1-2 per week
2 per week
1-2 per week
Likely goal
Train for event
Train for event
Maintain fitness
This table provides a brief overview of which level might be right for you, to help you get the most out of your plan. You should also note your current fitness levels and how many times you have done this event before.
Little to none
1-3 years
3+ years
Time to train
Likely goal
To finish
At least top half
All our plans are available either for sale directly on the TrainingPeaks Store (where you can also see screenshots of sample weeks), or you can subscribe as an Unlimited Athlete to be able to swap freely between all of them, among other benefits outlined below.
$24 to $159 per plan
From $24 per mth
Flexible, structured training
TrainingPeaks training app
Coaching videos, articles & FAQs
Email coach support

During plan only

Swap freely between all 900+ plans
Help setting up your training zones
Coach fortnightly engagement check
Discounted TrainingPeaks Premium (optional)
30-day moneyback guarantee
We're Sorry To See You Go!

Please confirm your cancellation below and one of our team will process it as soon as possible (stopping all future payments). Your subscription will still continue until the end of your current billing cycle (your “next payment date”) and there is nothing else you need to do.

Don’t worry, you will always be able to access your completed workouts and your TrainingPeaks login credentials will stay the same. Also, if any payments happen to come out before we cancel your subscription, we’ll simply refund them.