Obviously one of the first thoughts that enters your mind after registering (apart from the, "oh no, what did I get myself into!') is, "how do I properly train for this event"? There are tens if not hundreds of books written specifically about training for various distance triathlons. So I won't pretend I know anything about the actual training part, though I hope to learn more, maybe even pick up a book or two on it. Instead I'll focus on the often overlooked step before that, setting a goal for yourself. This can range from just finishing, to a specific time, to a place in your age group (male, 25-29). I chose to set a time-based goal, and as all good engineers do, I need a basis for the time that I choose, I can't just pick it out of thin air. That would be just silly.
Most (sane) people considering an event like this have some experience with triathlons or at least some of the individual sports. I've got a bit of both so I'll summarize my "race" history here:
- 800 meter freestyle race (highschool, a long time ago I know, but still a data point): 10:30
- 1.2 miles lap swim (self-timed): 31:26
- 5k GE Run: 25:29
- 13.1 Skunk Cabbage Half Marathon: 2:04:00
- HMCC Century: 6:10:00
- Hudson Crossing Sprint Tri
- 500 yd swim - 0:08:11
- 12m bike - 0:36:51
- 5k run - 0:25:40
Now lets take what we know and compare it to the results of my age groups for this specific race and course even. Fortunately there was data, broken down by event, from the website for '09-'12 for me to play with! I just looked at the data for my age group, male 25-29. I took the individual event times and plotted them versus the overall finish time. This allowed me to do two things. First, I was able to see trends for each of the individual diciplines and how they varied with overall finish time. Secondly, this allows me set a goal of a particular finish time and determine what each time would need to be based on the trendlines from the data. Here's the plot for your viewing pleasure:
(click to enlarge)
One of the interesting things that is very apparent is as the total time increases the variation in the run and bike times becomes huge. My guess is that this is most likely from those participants being really strong in one sport and not in the other. That or killing themselves on the bike and bonking on the run (foreshadowing?).
Finally, I chose 6 hours as my goal finish time. Partly because it was a nice round number and partly because it allows plenty of cushion from my scaled sprint triathlon time. If I use the trendlines (basically the average person) that gives me the following breakdown:
0:38:00 Swim, 3:05:00 Bike, 2:16:00 Run
I think that I can do the swim in around 33 minutes, which plus the 2 minute transition time, gives a few minutes of extra time to distribute between the bike and run. Heck, add it all to the run! So the final goal breakdown is:
0:35:00 Swim (Includes T1), 3:05:00 Bike (Includes T2), 2:19:00 Run
Hope you find this method helpful or at least interesting. Good luck!