Less than 11h
Ironman in less than 11 hours
Many of you want to finish an IM event in a certain amount of time. My opinion is that a lot of people can indeed finish it in under 12 hours. Of course, there are also a lot of people who are attending such an event with the sole wish to finish it. They are not worried about the time needed. In of my blogs I covered the basic training requirements, and if you follow those guidelines you should be able to get through the race in under 12 hours.
11 hours is the first magical barrier for most of you. Then there is another one: 10 hours, or nine and a half for really committed athletes, requiring years and years of training (and an athletic background). Finishing an Iron Man in nine hours means that you are on the edge to professionalism. Doing it under eight and a half hours means that you are a professional and everything faster means that you are a promising professional. The best 30 athletes in the world get through the race in under 8 hours and 15 minutes. (The given time barriers are valid for faster races.)
11 hours are a nice finishing time. You need to consider the race course, its difficulty, weather conditions and other stuff of course, but let’s assume that you are doing a faster race, like Klagenfurt for example, or Roth.
There are a lot of possibilities on how to achieve your 11h goal, but you should in any case focus on the bike segment, as this is the longest part of the race. It has therefore the biggest “influence” on your racing time. As a very good swimmer with approx. 70 minutes or less for 3.8 km you are on a very good path to finish in under 11h. You will need to cycle somewhere between 5:30-5:50 h, and have a good run lasting under 4h. You also need to consider 10-15 minutes for transitions and other issues. These are just examples. The time needed to cover the segments can differ, of course, but it should be close to these numbers.
Many of you calculate IM time based on Half Ironman time, but that is rarely accurate, since you can’t be sure whether you estimated stamina and endurance correctly.
Let me try to simplify your road to a racing time of under 11h:
Swim – swimming 3 times per week should be enough. 3-4 hours of swimming per week is enough for most people. If you are a bad swimmer than do 4 swims rather than 3 high volume swims.
Bike – you need to ride your bike 3-4 times per week, including one big ride lasting 4-6 hours. Your performance so far is also important. If you were able to finish a Half Ironman bike segment in around 2:40-2:50 hours of time on a flat course, that’s a good indicator. If it took you longer you need to devote more time and energy to the biking segment.
Run – everything is clear once you are running in an IM. You know your swimming and biking time, and you will be able to predict whether you are going to be in the 11h range or not. The most important thing is that you are not totally wasted from the previous segments and that you have eaten enough calories. If you were able to finish the running segment in a Half IM event repeatedly in under 2h you should be able to reach your goal of a racing time under 11h.
Transitions – practice them, don’t rush them, but don’t waste time either. Have everything prepared for fast and simple use.
So, if you do all of the above, does that mean that your PB of 11h is reachable? Not quite. There are other factors you need to consider and some more advice you need to follow:
- You should be in triathlon at least 5 years before you make a decision to pursue an IM time goal (your PB).
- You should have finished at least 5-7 half IM events in that time, and you need to be sure that you can run after a 2:40-2:50 h bike segment.
- You have to eat enough: 1gram of carbohydrates per 1kg of your body weight in an hour is a very good formula. Practice that.
- Don’t go fast at the start, especially not on the bike segment. Practice and discipline yourself.
- Follow your plan.
- Listen to your coach.
- Take good care of your equipment, you need to have everything working for you.
Very important is that you build your endurance for an IM event, you need to spent 6-10 hours in one training session at least 4-5 times. Without it your goal is not reachable.
Now you have a pretty good idea about what is required if you are aiming for a racing time of under 11h. Don’t be obsessed with that, or with numbers in your training in general. Just be aware of what you are aiming for. Enjoy the process, try to follow my advice and you will be fine. Your new PB is waiting for you.
See the section for online training at my page here.