Swimming goal 1:15:00 for 2.4 mile swim

In an earlier Post, I noted that the Endurance Nation speed ‘cutoff’ to not have to swim during the winter was a 1:15:00 Ironman swim…well, okay, it’s not really presented that way, but the way that I like to think about it 🙂

…more properly, if you’re this fast in the water, they say you should be investing your time on the bike and running (and SAU, spousal approval units), rather than swimming…a bigger return in terms of time improvement, for the time invested…if not, drill your brains out until you’re there.

So to see how valid a goal that was, I figured that I’d look it up, as it relates to Ironman Florida…I figured that it was pretty fast, and would represent the ‘really fast’ swimmers.  Here’s what I found:

There were 2399 swim finishers in Ironman Florida 2010.  A 1:15:00 was swim position 1112, so 54th percentile (1200 was 50th percentile, and 1:16:09)…so basically 100 swimmers a minute are finishing around this time-frame.  I was a bit surprised by that…I figured that a 1:15:00 swim time would be a higher ranking than that…_really_ highlights just how slow I am in the water.

The transition area would be absolutely packed compared to when I’ve been sauntering in…so much for the concierge service that I’ve been enjoying up to now.

In my age category, 1:15:02 was 29/84 in the swim, so 65th percentile.

So a 1:15:00 Ironman swim, looks to be a pretty modest goal.  The intriguing thing out of it, is that the Endurance Nation folks would therefore recommend that about half of Ironman Florida finishers in 2010, should do little to no swimming during the ‘Outseason’…very interesting.

Extending that thought a little, I can see a mathematical basis for the logic as it relates to my age category:

  • A 1:15:00 swim is 75 minutes…if that improved 10%, that would be 7.5 minutes faster, for a 1:07:30 (29/84 <65% > to 12/84 <86%>
  • A 6:00:00 bike is 360 minutes…if that improved 10%, that would be 36 minutes, for a 5:24:00 (29/84 <65%> to 10/84 <88%>…a 10 minute improvement is only a 2.7% improvement
  • A 5:00:00 run is 300 minutes…if that improved 10%, that would be 30 minutes, for a 4:30 (31/84 <63%> to 17/84 <80%>…a 10 minute improvement is only a 3.3% improvement.

Interesting to see how those numbers line up.  To me this means that to get to a 1:15 swim, pulls the swim in line with my bike and run…and from there, to move the swim to the 86th percentile, only saves me 7.5 minutes…whereas if I move my bike to the basically the same level, I save 36 minutes, and the run 30 minutes.

So with a 1:15 swim, 6 hour bike, and 5 hour run and 2×10 minute transitions, a 12:35 Ironman. 

With a 1:15 swim, 5:24 bike, and 4:30 run + 2×10 minute transitions, a 11:29 Ironman…geez, I could shower, change, make a 8:00pm dinner reservation, and still have time to come back and cheer on the midnight finishers…how cool would that be.

So if one accepts that the 1:15:00 swimmers would see very little or no decline in their performance by not swimming for 20 weeks +/-…and the Endurance Nation folks emphatically state that their experience clearly demonstrates that to be true…then I _need_ to get to 1:15:00 this year, which would allow even more focus on the bike and run next season, which should make me faster again.

Makes sense to me…well…off to the pool.

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