It would be unusual for a week to go by when you don’t see an Ironman or Challenge full distance triathlon taking place somewhere in the world. With well over 50 of these events on the annual race calendar around the globe, the sport is growing and exposing athletes to some amazing travel destinations as it becomes more popular in more places.
It’s estimated that each year over 100,000 people sign up for and complete the 3.8km Swim, 180km Ride and 42.2km Run full distance triathlon. These distances must be completed back to back, and athletes have to cross the finish line within 17hrs of the start time.
In a recent survey of 41,000 competitors, it was calculated that the average finish time for all athletes was 12hrs 35min. Now this sounds like it is well within the 17hr cut off time. However, if you consider the pro’s and top end age groupers are finishing their races anywhere from 7.5 -10.5 hours, that leaves a lot of room at the other end of the bell curve for athletes perilously close to being pulled off course outside of the cut off.
Not only does the whole race have a cut off, but each of the 3 disciplines within it also has their own specific cut off times that each athlete has to meet. This means that if you were thinking that you are a great runner, but a poor swimmer, so you’d be ok, then think again!
Just to throw another cat amongst the pigeons, the individual cut off times don’t apply to your specific wave start. The cut-off clock starts ticking from as soon as the first wave of athletes starts their race.
The cut off times for the 3 legs are as follows:
Swim 2hrs 20min from race start time.
Bike 8hrs 10min from race start time.
Run 6hrs 30min from race start time.
Because these races are such a big deal in terms of time invested into training, traveling, equipment and race entry fees, it is vitally important that you have considered all of your strength and weaknesses to ensure that you are on the right side of the cut off time at the finish line.
This is where a coach and a good quality Ironman training plan are so useful. A coach that individualises a plan to suit your ability, your availability and your race goals will help you get across the finish line under the cut off time, uninjured and in an enjoyable way that will keep your memories of your big day happy!
If you would like to know more about how a tailored Ironman training plan could work for you, feel; free to drop an email to Triathlon Australia Performance Coach Steve Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org
Related Tag: Strength And Conditioning Classes