Will Thames

swim, bike, run, tech

Stats From London Triathlon

First, a note on official distances - the run was indeed short (9.4km) as indeed was the bike (38km). To do that extra 2.6km would have taken me around 7 mins (5min/km on the run, 2min/km on the bike), so I should have still completed the proper olympic distance in my goal time of under 3 hours. I still feel a little short-changed, there must have been something they could have done to lengthen the run!

Right, onto the analysis. The results page allows you to download excel spreadsheets of the results for each age group (not just my wave) so I’m able to compare against people who are most similar to me (males aged 30-35). This means that I can find out which events I was weakest at compared to my peers.

I had to eliminate a few people who did better than me, simply because they only had a final total, and not times for the individual events, so I can’t do any analysis on that - after all, I know where I came relative to everyone overall, and that was 396th out of 490 in my age group. Also, I left out the non-finishers from the analysis.

A couple of technical notes on the analysis - I used Excel’s Rank function to determine my rank (using descending order, as lower numbers are better when it comes to time). However, Rank doesn’t work on the values in the spreadsheet from London Triathlon, so I had to add a column next to each time that I was interested in, and convert the time using the Value function. I could then use Rank on that column.

Results: Swim: 371 out of 475, Bike: 403 out of 475, Run: 351 out of 475

And as triathlon is actually a four-discipline sport, we shouldn’t forget transitions. I lost 20 places in T1! I only lost 6 further places on the bike. I made up 2 places in T2, and then made up three places on the run.

Clearly the big lesson, however, is that relative to others, my bike is very weak, weaker even than my swim! Given the bike is the longest part of the race, it’s here that the most benefits are to be had.

The Competitive Runners’ Handbook defines the status of a competitor based on how fast you are relative to the best. The closest comparison I can make easily is to the splits of the Male Elite winner, Will Clarke. My speed compared to his speed will give a ratio, and 50% is often beginner or novice, 60% is basic competitor, etc.

Because I’m comparing to an athlete on a day, rather than the record, the numbers here might be higher than they should be, but they’re still interesting

Swim: 53%, Bike 68%, Run: 59%

So by this measure I’m closer to my maximum bike speed than I am to either running or swimming. Oh, and Will Clarke was four times quicker in T1, although I suspect he wasn’t wearing a wetsuit. Brrr.

The evidence is therefore a little conflicting. Our best age group bike split was 56 mins, which suggests I can only improve by at most 25 mins on the bike - I was hoping I was so slow that getting my time down to an hour would be just a matter of putting in the miles, but clearly not. Still, if I can shave 10 mins off the bike, 10 mins off the swim and 5 mins off the run then I can go sub 2:30 at London (I’d need to shave more if the course lengths were changed!)

What have I learnt from this? Not as much as I’d hoped. I’m more interested in improving my overall time than in beating other people, and I’d like to apply appropriate focus to squeezing the best I can out of training, but I think the lessons to be learned are more miles on the bike and start working on swim speed in addition to stamina. I knew that already though.