Estimating Your Race Time
Have you ever thought, “I have no idea how to figure out my times for this race…” or even said that when your family and friends ask you what to expect?
It’s actually quite simple math because let’s be honest, you aren’t going to pull out some superhuman effort on race day you’ve never done in training.
Even if you’ve never done the distance (like a full distance race) you can still come up with some pretty decent figures.
We aren’t going to look at the best times we’ve ever done for all three sports, because the likelihood you’ll match that is pretty low due to needing to save some for future legs of the race and being tired from previous legs of the race.
Take your best swim time at the distance and add an extra 5-10 seconds per 100. This will give you time to get through the swim in a relaxed way that won’t ruin the rest of your race.
Once again, take a look at your best time for the distance, if you’ve done a time trial at that distance, and add another 10% to your time. As the race gets longer that percentage will probably need to increase to compensate for limiting run fatigue.
Another great option is to look at the average pace for all your rides together. Generally, because we do a variety of rides, if you look at the average of all of them, it’ll give you a good idea of what you are capable of doing while still running well after.
Lastly, look at your run best times and add 10-15%. Then look at temps and dew point. As they increase, keep adding seconds/mile to your expected pace.
Take a look at how big transition is and how long it’ll take you to move through it. If you like to run through transition, think about moving around your 10k-half marathon pace. If you walk transition 17min/mi average is a good guesstimate.
Will these numbers give you your exact time? Probably not because it’s not taking into account how well you do fueling and hydrating, how choppy the water may be, how wind will affect you on the bike and a thousand other factors.
But this will at least give you an idea of where you could fall time wise and when your family and friends can expect to see you to be ready to cheer!
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