I wanted to understand just how fast one needs to be to do Ironman. So I looked at the rules, the cut-offs, and put together a rough estimate of how quick you need to be in each.
So without further ado... 17 hours of pain!
Time allowed: 2:20:00
Worst Pace Allowable: 3:38/100m, about 0:54s/25m.
This is really not that fast. To put it in perspective, at the local pool the "fast" lane pace is 0:35s/25m or faster. I'm early in my swimming career, and I can do a length under 0:35s/25m, obviously with distance and time that's going to go slower, but I think it's not going to be a serious difficulty to find that pace.
Time allowed (from start): 10:30:00
Time allowed (bike only, assuming 2:30 for swim + transition): 8:00:00
Worst pace allowable: 22.5km/h
Drafting isn't allowed, so my 30km/h pace in a pack over a century ride isn't going to do me much good.
Without the draft, I'm usually around 27km/h over a long ride (80-100k). That's with a normal road bike, so there's probably some untapped pace just from getting the tri bike. I'll also lose some pace stopping for food and bathroom breaks along the way, not to mention emergencies like flat tires or such... but I'm pretty comfortable that my bike pace is already there.
Time allowed (from start): 17:00:00
Time allowed (run only, assuming full 10:30 was used for bike + swim): 6:30:00
Worst Pace Allowable: Approx 9:00/km
9:00/km sounds so easy! I'm sure I could walk out the door right now and do a 9:00/km marathon.
I've watched Ironman on TV, and the people finishing near the 17 hour limit are suffering. They're massaging their legs, eating whatever they can, and limping (or crawling!) to the finish. I've been told that very few people actually run the full marathon, so expect to walk. And suffer. I browsed the times from last year's Ironman, it's clear that nobody is doing this anywhere near their normal marathon pace.
So I'm not even going to guess how easy or hard that 9:00/km pace is going to be until I have more experience with both running and triathlons. It sounds achievable... so I'm determined to achieve it!
What's drafting and why is it not allowed?
Drafting is when you get right up behind someone. They're parting the air for you, leaving a pocket of low pressure behind them... you get sucked along with much less effort.
When I did the century ride, we were in a large group of about 50-60 riders... the effect was enormous. There was one point where there was a very strong headwind, but I didn't even know it in the draft, felt completely still! But then the guy I was beside dropped back, and suddenly I felt the full force of the wind... it took everything I had just to catch back up to the group. It was amazing!
It's not allowed in triathlons as they're trying to test your abilities as an individual.
This is an interesting read on the subject here
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