This week of training notched back a bit.  Partially because of the race this weekend (and associated travel tomorrow), and partly because of going to a concert – but according to plan.

Today I’m going to talk about benchmarks.  My last post was spurred by a conversation with Matt Amman, today’s is spurred by a side conversation of that same discusssion.  Matt and I were talking about what sort of training and/or benchmarks does it take to get to the front of the age group field at an Ironman.  I did some thinking on the subject, took a look at one of my favorite articles of all time, a write up by Gordo on what he felt was required to podium in Kona – and his vision of what year 1 of a 2 year cycle to get there (for someone capable).

So what does it take to get to the front of the age group field (or the back of the pro field) at an Ironman race?  Gordo contends that to have the potential to have a shot at the podium at Kona one needs to be able to sustain 1:20/100 LCM, 275 watts for 112 miles, and 4:10/k on the run – if you extend those out to times – you’ll find that’s probably about spot on.

To apply that same thought process to the age group race, let’s arbitraily adjust by 10%:

  • Swim: 1:28 / 100LCM
  • Bike: 250 watts
  • Run: 3:12

If you add those up – that probably equates to about a 9:15 or so @ IMWI – which if you look at the historic results that’s right up there.  10% worked out to these numbers, honest.  I didn’t take the numbers and work back to a percentage – really!!

Running wise – if we reference Martinez’s tables (equate a VDOT to a range of HIM and IM performance equivilants) – you’ll see that a Daniels VDOT of 61-65 equates to a potential 3:12 Ironman run.

Biking – popular theory suggests that to do 250 watts for an Ironman while still being able to run well, one needs to have an FTP of atleast 335.  This assumes riding at an IF of ~.75.

Swim – 22:00 1,500 LCM – no real extrapolation needed.

Remember the above “benchmarks” should considered like daniels tables – don’t expect a 2:43 marathon if you’ve done a 17 flat 5k, unless you’re “properly” trained for the marathon when you show up.

Given, that I’ve more or less proclaimed that one of my big goals in triathlon is to be the first Age Grouper at an Ironman race – that’s what I need to shoot for right now.  The swim is easily in the bag, but I’ve got some work to do on the bike and run…

At some point down the road I’ll share some thoughts on what I consider to be “properly” trained for an ironman.