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  1. #1
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    Help with pacing

    I compete in a few xc races a year, ranging from 25 to 45 miles. I have a history of cramping, and after looking at the nutritional side of things, I'm pretty sure the cause is more to do with how I pace myself in a race.

    I know it's wrong, but I have a goal of where I would like to finish generally, and often start out way too hard (it doesn't feel hard at the time, but catches up with me latter in the race) in the hope of achieving the goal. I'm used to pushing myself at my limit, and I feel like I'm being a bit soft if it's not hurting at least a little bit when I'm racing. I'm also pretty competitive so like to do the best that I can, and if I'm not pushing myself I feel like I could be going faster.

    I know I should be pacing myself better, and over these distances (races are generally 2hrs plus) I shouldn't try and take off from the get go as I can make time up later (I can do this in running events by keeping a check of my speed per hour).

    In a biking race, is it possible to pace myself based on my heart rate, at least for a few races so I get an idea for the pace/feeling, and if so, can anyone let me know if there is a rough guide such as % of max heart rate? I realize heading up a hill my heart rate will increase, but I'm just looking for a general guide, to hopefully avoid a complete trial and error scenario sacrificing a few races (and entry fees which aren't cheap).

  2. #2
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    You can pace yourself on heart rate but if you're cramping it's more likely a hydration/nutrition issue or a lack of fitness. Do you ride at least 45 mile rides at race effort as prep? What is your hydration and nutrition like during the race? Do you train with a HRM now? If so do you know what heart rate is about at your LT?

    You can pace yourself at LT but often race conditions vary and it's not possible unless you're time trialing.

  3. #3
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    cramping = definite lack of fitness. There's a good thread on this forum about it. jlmuncie is also right that your training should closely mimic what you expect to do in the race. Most of the races in my area are right around 45 to 90 minutes, so I try to train in that same range. Lately, I'm trying to step up the training intensity to match race levels because I notice that I'm still hitting the wall about halfway thru the races.

    But at least I'm not cramping anymore. ;-)

  4. #4
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    Yeah, I think in my case it's lack of race pace training that causes my cramping. I've looked into the nutrition side in some detail and the more I do, the more it seems to point to the fact that I need to do more training at race pace. I do train with a HRM now, but I don't know how my LT relates to my HR.

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