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Good times on swim & bike

dhcmdhcm Posts: 67
I started tri from a (desultory) running background (few 10K's, one marathon etc). In running I have a reasonable sense of how tough different time brackets are. E.g. for us 40+ people, a 38 minute 10K would be putting you into the good club runner bracket.

But on swim and bike I have no such bearings. Someone once told me that a 30 minute 1500 swim is the equivalent of a 55 min 10K which took me aback (never beaten 31mins for 1500 in the pool). Is that about right?

What would be the equivalent of a 40 minute 10K run(flat course) as a stand alone event for the time for a 1500m swim (pool) or a 40K bike (reasonably flat course), both as stand alone events?


  • willieverfinishwillieverfinish Posts: 1,381

    why are you so fixated on comparing times in different disciplines.

    It's impossible.

    Why does it matter so much ?
  • dhcmdhcm Posts: 67
    It doesn't matter. But alot of the fun of tri is taking on the events you don't know. So just trying to learn about them.
  • diddsdidds Posts: 655
    So... 31 minutes for 1500m in a pool?

    then I guess sub 30 for you would be a "good time".

    I had a "good time" once. It cost me 50 baht!

    Joking aside...

    willie is spot on. What everybody else does is largely irrelevent. If we all said " A 1500m swim good time is 18 minutes" and it takes you twice that (as it does me) and makes you so despondant that you cannot "do a good time" and walk away from tri, how has the notion of "a good time" helped you at all?

    THAT aside... if you take 30 minutes as a good time for 1500m swim... what if that swim was upriver against the current ? A sea swim in heavy surf? If 60minutes is a goodtime for 40Km bike... what if its hilly? Ir has a huge headwind?

    Forget all about "good times". Just do "your times"

  • BmanBman Posts: 442
    Gotta agree, a good time for me is better than my last time. The only times you can compare to realisitically are your own. Unless your an elite, or serious age grouper and looking for qualification or prize money.
  • dhcmdhcm Posts: 67
    Thanks for comments, and I agree that the challenge is against yourself, not the elites etc.

    But that doesn't mean that the best benchmark necessarily should be your own times. May work for you guys, but I need something to shoot at. If I benchmark against myself, I just end up taking it easy.

    So my basic question is whether the fast looking times that alot of the age-groupers seem to hit on the swim/bike are the results of years of serious tri-training and/or because those individuals have come from a swimming or cycling background, or are a fair number of them non-specialists and non-long established triathletes, but who have actually followed one of the training prgorammes properly for a year etc.

    For example, the people who are swimming 26-28 min 1500s (in a lake w/o current). Are they typically people with a good swimming background or proper age-group triathletes who have put serious effort into their swim, or are there significant numbers who are amateurs like me but have just concentrated on technique better and done a bit more training?

    And on the cycle leg I have even less idea. Is sub-1:10 for 40K (flat course) something only for proper cyclists, or is it something that is realistic for others to aim at? Or are some of them people who would go 1.15 on my entry level Trek, but have got hold of a decent tri-bike!

    I appreciate that there are loads of different factors and no-one is the same and open water is not same as pool and that wind and hill conditions make a major difference and that definitive answers are not going to be forthcoming, but it would still be good to have some idea of what 1500 swim time (in the pool, stand alone event) and a 40K time trial time (flat course, not particulalrly windy, stand alone event) would be roughly comparable to a 40min 10K run (flat course).

    Many thanks in advance.
  • GHarvGHarv Posts: 456

    So i did an Olympic the other week and did on the bike for just under 40k - 1.17. Slow in general terms but only in my 3rd year cycling. So i would suggest that those who have been cycling for many years have a good head start.

    My run was 44 min for just under 10k. Not bad but then i have been doing some running for many years - not to a great standatd but to keep fit. So a decent time coming off a running background.

    But then you get swimming and i hit 26 mins for 1500m, last year was 27.5. By what you are saying they are decent times. I only tend to swim 2 times a week and do not come from a swim background but did swim as a kid 30 years ago.

    Go figure?
  • Well the obvious thing to do would be to download some results from various events. Most of the events will breakdown the swim, bike and run sections for each competitor. Simply find out where a 40min 10k is in the field (it might be the 25th fastest run of the day for example), then find out what was the 25th fastest bike and run.
    It's that simple.

    Do this for a range of events as this will take into account variations in field size and strength and also course differences.

    I would suggest London Tri which is HUGE!, Windsor which is pretty big and has a strong field, something by HumanRace (Steelman for example) which is flat and has a mid size field and then something smaller such as a club event which will be smaller.

    You have your answer.
  • dhcmdhcm Posts: 67
    Thanks for your response GHarv! To me you are a great swimmer, and it is good to know that it can be done! Whether I will ever manage it is another matter, but at least now I know that it is not the preserve of experts and is something to work on.

    So many thanks.
  • wyno70wyno70 Posts: 189
    I know where you are coming from and agree with much of what has been said by both you and other people.

    Benchmarks are good and once you've done a few triathlons you'll start building some of your own.

    Personally when I started triathlon my aim was to beat 3 hours. I always managed that and have now improved. I'd suggest that decent benchmarks for each discipline would be:

    Swim - 30 mins.
    Bike - 1 hour 20.
    Run - 50 mins.

    But that doesn't mean they are for everyone. I started by just creeping in, in under 3 hours. With a lot of hard work and some focused training, I've recently managed 2 hours 25 minutes. However, I'm still and always will be, a crap runner and struggle to break 52 minutes. Having said that I can do the swim in 23 mins and will usually get round the bike in around 1 hour 10 (ish).

    As mentioned, it really does depend on the course, on/off road, hills/ no hills, wind/ no wind etc etc etc but as you do a few, you'll begin to get an idea of what is good for you.

    If I could break 50 mins on the run, I'd be over the moon, other people would think that was crap. Then again, the same people would also love to be able to do the swim in 23 mins!!!

    I hope that's of some help.
  • GHarvGHarv Posts: 456
    I'd love a 23 min swim and a 1.10 bike split for starters!
  • ZacniciZacnici Posts: 1,385
    I recall looking one set of results and that one guy had come about 60th or so in the swim out of a field of 200ish. The guy behind him was first in the swim!

    I've just pulled one set of results out entirely at random Norwich Standard Tri 2009:
    The fastest swim time, 1500m OW swim, was 22:17 he came 28th overall. The guy who came 4th did his swim in 33:10, (which is actually slower than me now ) and was easily 100th or so in the swim times. The top ten varied from 23:32 to said 33:10 avearging about 24 - 25.

    The fastest bike was 1:00:35, 6th overall and the slowest in the top 10 1:07:46 who came 9th overall.

    As Didds and Willeverfinish say don't get hung up over times, especially swim times. I get slaughtered in the swim. although I am getting better - just a bit, but will then work my way through the field on the bike and more so on the run and end up midfield. I was really pleased in last years Nottingham Sprint I started in wave 2, 2mins behind the younger entrants, started to pick off the slower ones in the swim, built on that in the bike and by the run I was picking my way through them including a couple of members of a team from the Armed Forces and ended up midfield.

    Possible scenario; you waste yourself in the swim to get a minute faster, you then take longer to get in the swing of things on the bike and lose that minute - or more - start to get flustered, go OTT to catch up and then die on the run. Compete, gradually build up experience of feedback from your body and a sense of how you are doing and that is worth more than all the bloody gizmos and log sheets and HRMs and GPS thingymawostits. I start my watch at the beginning and stop it at the end.
  • BopomofoBopomofo Posts: 980
    Some great points in here.

    Zac is so completely correct. I've always said that the swim is where you stand to waste the most energy and while you can completely ruin your entire race in the swim, nobody ever swam across the finish line. You cannot win it in the water.

    If you're not a great swimmer then by all means train smarter, but on race day don't fight it. Like Zac says, a minute saved in the swim might well be 10 minutes lost on the bike/run.

    Looking at the averages for a course you are contemplating is a great way to get an idea. When I complete an event I compare my times to the average of the top 10 finishers. Well, actually I use positions 4 to 13 just in case any Team GB guys turn up and spoil it!!

    I usually end up with a time around 100-105% for the swim (i.e I'm up there with the quick swimmers), then around 120% on the bike (I'm slower on the bike) and 130% for the run (I'm rubbish).

    For a new tri I look at the previous year's results and apply my percentages to get some idea of what to aim for... so if the swim average is 25mins then I'll be thereabouts, if the bike was 1:00 then I'll be 1:12, if the run was 0:40 then I'll be 0:52. I go out to beat these times.

    FWIW my guesses for "a good starting point" and "Decent club level" times for OD are:

    swim: 30mins - 23mins
    bike: 1:20 - 1:05
    run: 1:00 - 0:40
  • MaccladMacclad Posts: 16
    Oh you guys are so worthy!

    Come on, I'm with DCHM here. For fun, lets explore some times and training efforts....

    I would say, for comparable training effort to run a 40min 10k for a middleage bloke like me. For me a 40min 10k is a bit of a holy grail and I would (and am) have to run 5times a week. 2 interval sessions, a long run, a tempo and a recovery/form run. These are essentially following the runnersworld 10k training schedule.

    So if you did a similar training schedule on the bike, say 3 commutes (8miles each way), and longer ride at speed (1hr tempo or intervals), and a long ride 2-3hrs per week. I would say that you could, on a decent nonTT racing bike pull a time of 1.07-1.15 for 40k.

    On the swim, say 3 1hr sessions, then you should be pulling a 23-25mins 1500m. Although this is very much technique dependent. (agian lets say you got a good TI stroke).

    And I would expect it to take about 6months training to get to these speeds.

    Let see if that sets the cat amongst the pigeons!

  • md6md6 Posts: 969
    5 cycles a week of quality - i would expect to hit the hour off that kind of training schedule, as for the swim it is too dependend on technique.
    For the swim assuming you have perfect technique and it is down to fitness, 3x1hour p/w i would expect a sub 20 swim.
    As for running 5x a week (of quality), i would be very disspointed not to run a sub 40 10k in a few weeks...maybe 4. Then i would expect to be able to get it down to about 35mins within a few months (these are all standalone times)

    I guess in short i'm saying HTFU, put the effort in, do at least 13 sessions of quality a week (this must equate to at least 20 hours training) then you can expect to get faster than times above challenge for the top of your AG
  • BopomofoBopomofo Posts: 980
    Oh, OK, ok, ok.... real numbers and training efforts.

    A few years back doing 2 x 38 mile commutes a week and a 3 hour ride on Sundays including a butt load of hill repeats got me 1:10 for 40km at London tri

    Similarly, doing 3 x run sessions a week - one fastish 45min, one long 90min, one hill repeats 35min got me sub-45 10k

    Maintenance swimming keeps me around 5:50 to 6:00 per 400m.

    Performance figures based on bald, fat, 40 year old. Your mileage may vary.

    Let the willy waving commence!
  • TesseractTesseract Posts: 280
    re "Good times on swim & bike"....I thought this was going to be a totally different topic ...now I've had some good times in the water, never on a bike though, you'd need some phenominal balance...
  • md6md6 Posts: 969
    Tesseract wrote:
    re "Good times on swim & bike"....I thought this was going to be a totally different topic ...now I've had some good times in the water, never on a bike though, you'd need some phenominal balance...
    or a Tricycle
  • TesseractTesseract Posts: 280
    That'd be more stable, you'd still have to balance on the saddle though you'd need one of those extra wide comfort saddles.
  • shadowone1shadowone1 Posts: 1,408
    Let the willy waving commence!

    Aw FFS....
  • DESDES Posts: 2
    Totally agree with you Wyno70. Set reasonable goals and build. I'm never going to set the Tri world on fire and all I want to do is beat myself. I recently did my first OD at Windsor having only done sprints and 3/4 distance. I planned 30mins for the swim, 1hr 30min for Bike and 45mins for the run. Taking transition into consideration I wanted to be in at 2hrs 50mins maximum and definately under 3hrs. As it turned out I finished in 2hrs 44mins and 3secs. I took 45secs off my swim, 11mins off my bike but came in 6 mins slower on the run. I was gutted about the run but happy with the bike. Reading Tri in September is my next OD. Its a totally different race but all I know is that I want to beat 2hrs 44mins and 3secs.
  • blaze1235blaze1235 Posts: 64
    And of course while your worrying about all this and getting your individual times down you totally forgot about transitions.

    Lose your bike by not paying enough attention when racking

    struggle to get your feet in your shoes through no prep (talc, vas etc)

    Count your bike laps wrong

    and hey presto race day who cares what your individuals are and all that hard work coz you just screwed it in transition.
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