Pacing my first 24 hr solo with power meter and heart rate?

New to using a power meter on my mtb bike and road bike.wondering best way to pace a 24 hr solo.would using my power meter help with that? I’m new to using power so please explain in detail thanks for the help.

after about 10ish hours, it will be just off feel, HR and power won’t line up with anything you are use to after that. Use it to shoot for and IF of ~.7 for the first 6-8 hrs and then let it decay from there.


Taylor Lineed talks about this in the Successful Athletes podcast -

In summary he notes that once you’ve been training for a while with a PM then you have a feel for what sort of power you are producing.

Generally for endurance events, I’d work from RPE. For something like a 24hr event go at a pace that you can hold a conversation at - even if you are on your own! That will feel very slow at the start but you’ll be grateful for doing so later in the race. There’ll be some sections where that’s hard to do due to the terrain but when that happens you really need to be disciplined not to put the hammer down.


I’m fairly new to using a PM too, but even after a few weeks of Sweet Spot intervals on the trainer at about 90% FTP, I can now sit comfortably at 90% FTP for a few minutes on a climb without even realising it.

As bobw said, start off WAY too easy. You won’t win a race in the first hour (or corner/minute/lap/half/whatever), but you can certainly ruin it there. You’ll want to crank it up but you’ll thank yourself later if you don’t. When I did my first marathon I thought I started easy but it wasn’t easy enough and I hit the wall hard at mile 22.

Learn to ride on feel, you’ll do better in the long run.

In this scenario I think that the power meter is best used to keep yourself from going too hard, in particular at the beginning of the race and on climbs. For a 24 hour event I’d advise keeping it under .65 IF.

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I’ve found, and many of my Ultra friends seem to agree, that anything under .7-.72 at the begging is just making you slower with no added benefit to the later parts of the effort. I’m sure its somewhat personal, but I wouldn’t be afraid to push the first while a bit higher than .65.


I personally would recommend feel first and HR second. The power is going to drop after 12h even with good pacing. You can get really close if you start training early on what a certain wattage feels like and what is the associated HR. I was able to pace mine using HR but was prepared to use feel in case the head unit ran out of batteries. I used a garmin 530 in power saving mode and was able to make it through the entire event on one battery charge.

I think this is the main thing. Your 24 hour pace will seem very slow/easy when you are fresh.
Are you certain you will finish and want a good time? Then push a little harder in the beginning.
More concerned about finishing than the time? Start a little easier.
I think the .65-.72 IF is likely a good range, with .65 being quite easy.

Later in my very long rides I am riding to feel, not power, but I have found power helpful in identifying just how bad I am feeling. Seeing the number showing how little power I was putting out when working hard really drove home that I was in bad shape. Taking a break with some coffee and eating more helped recover from that.

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Im hoping to ride the whole 24 hours (no sleep) with minimal pit times but understand I might have to change that and pit longer if that means riding the whole race. Trying to place the best I can but I know i won’t be on the podium.

OK, that is different than ones I have done, where just finishing was a stretch - Everestings in my case.
It is definitely possible to go out too easy, even on these long rides. My first one I ended up going longer and and doing 36k feet in that ride. I was feeling really good at the end, and could have gone harder earlier. For me this was fine and I did a really long ride, for you this is not how you want to finish your 24 hour race.
Is it a mass start event? I think a PM can be useful in keeping things in check at the start - even if that is just making sure you don’t go over .8 IF trying to keep up with faster people when you feel good at the start. Also, if there are climbs on the course the PM could be helpful making sure you don’t go too hard on the climbs.
In the end, you are really going to need to ride to feel with the PM providing some extra guidance.
Good luck!

While pacing at the start is very important, the other critical point power / pacing comes into play is on hills. It’s very easy to let the power spike on hills, and you pay the price for it later in the event.

I always plan on riding right through for the whole 24-hr, but have found I almost always feel really bad / nauseous at around 4:00 or 4:30 in the morning. If I nap for about 15-minutes, that all goes away and I start to feel good again. I have a limited data set to draw on, but that same experience happened in both my 24-HR rides this spring. Both these started in early evening, and I didn’t have a chance to nap before. That means you’re really up and functioning for 36 to 40-hr, with just the last 24 spent on the bike. Next on I’m going to try to structure things so I get there early and try and grab a few hours sleep before the start.


Instead of everybody’s advice, I would strongly recommend NOT going on feel. Reason is that I personally at least always push too hard at the start when I’m fresh, prematurely exhausting myself.

Instead, I device my upper limit power for the first half of 6-8h+ rides and decide what max speed I want to average at minimum and take the profits. Let’s say I want to do 200km in 8 hours and my power max is 165 meaning I should average 25kmh. But due to wind I only need 110 watt in the beginning, I just stick to that for a 10h ride to ensure I’m fresh enough for the final hours.

Point is… I cognitively determine my boundaries and I monitor them because I will push too hard if I go on RPE


Is this on road?

No Its the 24 hours of wausau (mtb).

In which case I’ll say nothing :slight_smile:

This! Lol. 190W at 8 hours feels like 330W

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I agree. It doesn’t matter if you go super easy for the first 10hrs or moderately hard. At 18+hrs in, or 4 o clock on the morning…you’re going to feel pretty darn terrible. Might as well get yourself more mileage/laps before you get to that point and give yourself a buffer. Night laps will be naturally slower due to night riding as well…and the added breaks of battery/clothing swaps so even if you want to go harder it’s hard to do that.

That doesn’t mean throw pacing entirely out the window, just don’t hold yourself to some super low cap and watch the field ride away from you. Power pacing wise I think minimizing big spikes is important as well as any extended time above tempo. If you end up doing sweet spot on the climbs after the first lap or two, you’re gonna have a really bad time later on.

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