Balance the Imbalance – Part VII: Pace Your Race

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

Written by: Mark Allen

Over the next few days Mark Allen will explain the best way to balance the task of maintaining a high level at your strongest sport, while also improving in your weaker sports. In this edition, Allen explains why not going all out in your strongest sport can benefit your weaker sports.

There is one strategy that tends to get the lion’s share of attention from those who are quite strong in one sport but weak in another. They tend to really push their strength, feeling they have to make up as much time as possible in their key discipline to compensate for a weakness that might cost them the place or time they are hoping to achieve. One classic example is strong cyclists who are weak runners. They tend to push the bike leg way beyond what would be considered smart pacing in order to have a head start on the run. But they do this simply because they don’t believe that conserving some energy on the bike will afford them a better run.

Instead, try this strategy: Hold back just a little bit of your effort in your strongest discipline so that you can maximize a weaker sport that may follow. Holding back 1 to 3 percent on the bike may result in your running 10 to 15 percent better. Use your strength to conserve energy rather than use all the energy that you have and then hang on with only hope in the tank. When you do hold back just a bit, you may find that the weakness wasn’t really so much a weakness but rather a poor choice in pacing the earlier legs.
There you have it: seven keys to bringing all three sports up to the same level. Want them again? Here they are:

1.    Mechanics
2.    Range of Motion
3.    Overcompensate
4.    Get Stronger
5.    Core Movement
6.    Positive Attitude
7.    Pace Your Race
See you at the races!

Mark Allen is the six-time winner of the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii and is available for speaking engagements worldwide. For further information about Mark’s speaking availability, please call 1-800-994-5306. Based in Santa Cruz, Calif., Mark has a state-of-the-art online triathlon-training program at In addition, Mark co-teaches a workshop titled Fit Soul, Fit Body with Brant Secunda, a shaman, healer and ceremonial leader in the Huichol Indian tradition. They have recently released a book by this same name that you can find at bookstores near you or on (Fit Soul, Fit Body-9 Keys to a Healthier, Happier You).

Trending on Triathlete