Case Study: Using a Power Meter in Ironman Racing and Training

Case Study: Using a Power Meter in Ironman Racing and Training

Case Study: Using a Power Meter in Ironman Racing and Training
By Coach Mike Ricci
Coach Mike shares the 90-minute improvement of one athlete

I wanted to share one of my athlete’s power numbers from IMAZ. This example of riding with power shows how it’s beneficial in terms of pacing and running the marathon. Previous best times before IMAZ were: 1:23 swim / 6:15 bike / 5: 00 marathon (12:45)
His IMAZ times were: 1:12 / 5:35 / 4:19 (11:14)

Overall he went from a 12:45 IM to 11:14 in the span of about 5 months. In AZ, our plan for him was to raise his watts each lap – he almost nailed it – I think if he took in some more calories, he would have.

Here are the numbers:
Looking at the power file, I broke the race down into the 3 laps:

Lap # / Time / Avg Watts/ HR / Mph / cadence
1 / 1:51 / 198 / 154 / 20.1 / 82
2 / 1:50 / 207 / 148 / 20.3 / 78
3 / 1:54 / 202 / 145 / 19.8 / 76

My comments to the athlete: Almost perfect pacing. Two comments – one is to raise the cadence. If you do this, I’ll think you’ll run faster with fresher legs. #2 is you need to take in more calories – see how the watts and HR drop on lap 3? That’s most likely due to lack of nutrition.

Overall: Time/Avg Watts/HR/mph/Cadence

The athlete’s HR was at the top of Zone 2 which is 137-150 and his watts were squarely in the middle of his Endurance Zone (164-221). In terms of threshold, he rode at 70% of threshold. Our goal going forward will be to raise his cadence, bring his cycling fitness up so he can ride at 75% of his threshold and still be able to move his marathon time to about 4:00.

So, you can see how his cycling and running improved immensely with proper cycling fitness and pacing on race day. It’s not that hard to improve, it’s just doing the work! ;-)

Coach Mike Ricci is a USAT Certified Coach and can be reached for personal coaching at


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