Ironman NZ 2011 Target Time

Ironman New Zealand 2011 will be my first Ironman. What is my target time?

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Before I start my 20 week training plan, I thought it would be a good idea to layout my expectations for my race performance. No doubt these expectations will change as I start training and start feeling stronger, or if I get injured, or as I read about the course and realise how tough/easy it is, or as I start to get nervous and worry about even completing the thing! So right off the bat, what time do I think I can do?

The closest I have for reference is a single Half Ironman which I did 12 months ago. My 5:08 Gold Coast Half Ironman time was made up of a 35 min swim, a 2:45 bike and a 1:40 run (and the rest in transition). This was a very well paced effort that saw me run a negative split. The rule of thumb I’ve heard is that you double your half ironman time and add an hour. That would be 11:16.

11:16 isn’t going to happen. I was very fit for the GCHIM and I had trained solidly, without injury, for 20 weeks. Before that I had a very steady six month period of Olympic and Sprint distance tri training and racing. GCHIM was the A race at the end of a long buildup. I doubt that I will be in 5:08 half ironman shape even after my 20 weeks of Ironman training.

For Ironman NZ I will be starting my 20 week training block after a six week layoff with the birth of our fourth child. The new child will also mean that training time will be even harder to come by; any week over 10 hours will be a bonus! I certainly won’t be able to get many of the looonnng rides which are crucial to adapt my body for a long day of racing. And my calves have still not fully recovered from getting torn since that race.

So my aim will be to take the race cautiously, to ensure completion, and to try to finish strongly.

Sub 13 hours is my goal. I’d like to manage a 90 min swim, a 7 hour bike, and a 4 hour run. That leaves 30 mins for transitions plus a little buffer.

The swim and bike targets are a bit soft, but I want to leave a little in the tank so I can attempt a sub 4 hour marathon – which basically means completing the marathon without detonating! If training is going really well I might revise the swim to 80 mins and the bike to 6.5 hours, but I won’t do that if it will compromise the 4 hour marathon time.

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