Pacing Strategy for a Commute

So my commutes are 30-45km each way (depending on my route choice) through suburban rolling terrain. So a few stop signs, mostly flat, some ~5 degree hills (a few 8 degree).

Say I’m looking to get a good workout (not crush myself but not recovery). What should my pacing strategy be?

I’ve read a bunch on racing but I’m just looking to get a good workout and be efficient. any it’s sorta fun for me to see my time go down.

I am thinking to do most of my harder intensities uphill, recoveries downhill, and moderate for flats? (I figure i’ll mix it up a bit so I still practice putting down power at all angles).

Then what do I do about coming out of stops? Should I pedal hard and get up to speed fast?

How about when I see a stop approaching…pedal with less power? or just keep whatever power i’m on and brake?

thank you for any tips / strategies here

I have read about pacing wrt racing and group rides but not much about this type of thing…as I’m not looking to squeeze every millisecond off my time and there is no drafting involved.

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Is this in addition to a TR (or other) plan? If yes - you could make the commute fit an intensity or endurance ride from the plan. Either by creating intervals or trying to smooth your power and ‘keep the chain tight’.

Don’t think of good/bad workouts, most workouts have there place - within reason, there is nothing wrong with ‘just riding’. What motivates you?

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I feel like I need more information. Is this 5 days a week or something else? I don’t know what your pace is, but this sounds like it’s at least 1 hour each way, so 2 hours total. Are you doing any riding beside your commute?

If this is 5 days a week, this is at least 10 hours per week. That’s more than twice the time in TR’s low volume training plan. Basically, you could fit an entirely training plan just into your commutes. In that case, I wouldn’t have a single pacing plan for each commute. For the commute to work I’d stay easy (unless your employer provides showers) and then some of the commutes home you could do intervals or use the hills to force intervals ( you didn’t say how long those hills are, only the grades, so that may or may not work). But I wouldn’t do strenous training every day because you could soon find yourself overtrained.

I will say, while hills can help you with intervals if they’re spaced appropriately, it’s good to practice going slower on up hills (to be good for steady pacing efforts), and not to let off at the top of the hill/downhill (for the same reason, and also I’ve heard this suggested so you can be ready to attack at the top of the hill). You might also want to do higher level efforts on the flats some of the time because (based on what I’m understand of your description) if you only go hard on hills, then your intervals may not be long enough and your rest intervals may be too long.

This all depends on what your goals are and what other riding your doing.

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so I don’t ride outside of my commute as of right now

It’s closer to 3x / week right now…hopeful for 5 some day but life blah blah blah…done a few 4x / week. I do have a gym across the street that I joined only to shower :slight_smile: so I’m good there. easy to park my bike and wear full kit and I leave clothes at work. I put a Tailfin pack on 1-2x a week to bring food in (or on the days I use my car).

so my goal is to ride this commute as fast as possible. so I want to develop a pacing strategy that allows me to do but still fall within the training guidelines as much as possible. like reserve my harder efforts for where they make me faster overall. not sure if that can be done.

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My guess (and that’s all it is) would be to treat it like over-unders. RPE 6 or 7 on the flat stuff, RPE 9 or 10 leaving each stop sign, treat the up and down of each hill like an over at RPE 8 or 9.

Also I’ve found in my years commuting that knowing where all the Strava segments are on my route (and/or creating new ones!) really helps the motivation stay high. Keep in mind that if you don’t do any cooldown you will probably be sweating for an hour at your desk so a fan is key.

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Most important factor is traffic and safety.

For workouts you need to look at the terrain, junctions and traffic lights. Choose intervals you can execute reasonably easily and safely.

Behaving according to your local laws and safety is paramount, so if you see a stop sign just stop normally.


ride the local segments, segments make sense because it’s a lot safer to tailor your efforts to what the road puts in front of you.

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