Disappointing 70.3 runs – am I overdoing it on the bike or something else?

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    This year, I completed two 70.3 races on the Level 2 HIM plan. While I PR’d over my last 70.3 (2019), I was very disappointed in my run performance in both races. I’m trying to figure out what may have gone wrong either in my training or racing and would really appreciate any pointers.

    *1st race – 70.3 in June*
    While I train with run/bike power, I noticed that my heart rate was north of 170 bpm the entire first half of the bike, but I chalked it up to adrenaline/heat/general excitement. (Note my threshold HR is 185 bpm). However, by the end of the bike, I could sense that I had perhaps gone too hard as I distinctly felt fatigued. I’d also committed the cardinal sin of consuming untested nutrition on the bike, and I ended up with some GI trouble on the run. Add the unforgiving heat and 2-loop golf course, and suffice to say I was pretty miserable the entire run.

    *2nd race – 70.3 in September*
    Having learned some lessons from June, I carefully planned out my hourly bike and run nutrition and my race power targets for this race. Despite the pouring rain and wind gusts from a tropical storm, I felt pretty good for most of the bike. I did feel I was starting to fade a bit by the end, but not as badly as in the previous race and I thought I’d perk back up on the run. However, I only got 3 good miles in on the run before I hit a wall that I could never quite come out of. What was especially baffling was that my heart rate averaged 156 and maxed at 163, yet I somehow couldn’t push myself or my legs to go any faster. It was a massive disappointment, especially as all indications suggested I’d have a better run than what I delivered.

    As I look to next year and whether or not I can keep racing this distance, I’d really appreciate any insights as to where I should look to make adjustments (whether in my training, nutrition, race day execution, or frankly just my expectations). Also happy to share any more detail if needed.

    Thanks for your time.

    • This topic was modified 7 months, 2 weeks ago by tri_again.

    Slight correction: cycling threshold HR is 177 bpm, running threshold HR is 185 bpm. However, I do use a power meter on my bike and a Stryd foot pod to run.


    These are all great questions!

    My first assumption would be that your fueling was the main reason for the race day fatigue you are describing. Under fueling on the bike typically leads to a sluggish run off the bike.

    Given there are so many variables in these 2 races, plus training and fueling, I would recommend chatting with one of our coaches on a 1:1 call so we can take a look at your training, discuss fueling etc. We also have several platinum level coaches that you could link up with to help you through the next season!

    Let me know if you’d like to set up a call to discuss!

    Coach Anne

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