Swim Stage Pacing For The Win
Triathlon events start with swimming before progressing the cycling and running. How a competitor paces that first stage can have an impact on their performance during the rest of the race. For scientific insight on the best approach to take, consider a study published in the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance.
On separate occasions, 9 competitive triathletes performed a graded run to exhaustion, 750 meter swimming time trial and 3 sprint distance triathlons. For each triathlon, they paced swimming differently.
There was a positive pace where speed gradually decreased from around 92% to 73%, a negative pacing strategy where speed started at 73% and gradually increased to 92% and a constant pace of 82.5%. Subjects self-paced the rest of each race. Faster cycling and overall triathlon times were achieved with positive swim pacing.