During a race I try to maintain my goal wattage and heart rate levels, but I can’t keep up and ultimately blow to pieces.
Based on your training, you’ve made a race plan that has you adhering to specific heart rates, power meter levels and/or GPS-tracked minutes-per-mile pacing. But during the race you can’t sustain these speeds.
Solution: Don’t be the slave of your technological devices, especially during a race, says Loring. Ditch the devices this off-season and start listening to your body—“perceived exertion”—for pacing. “You can use your power meter as a guide, but ultimately you should try and follow in the footsteps of Chrissie Wellington—she’s a master of basing her paces on how she feels as opposed to what a device might be telling her,” Loring says. Check your progress with blind tests: Do a time trial every few weeks, such as a 5K run or a 1000-yard swim, and don’t look at your watch until the very end.