General Discussion Triathlon Talk » What are average split times for an Olympic distance race? I am Rss Feed  
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2011-02-03 11:54 PM

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Baton Rouge
Subject: What are average split times for an Olympic distance race? I am
currently training for my first triathlon - an Olympic distance. And I am wondering if there is a good average time that I should be shooting for completing each leg.

Right now, swimming is my weakest and I am sure I would be at a +45 min swim leg.

Cycling is probably my strongest and I am looking at a +90min bike leg.

Running is tough but steady, and I am looking at about a +55min run leg.


I have 14 more weeks to train before my race, so anyone care to give me a goal to shoot for in each of these legs? I am not looking to be competitive, just to do my best. Realistic goals are helpful for me at this stage so I can have something to aim for besides simply finishing.

Thanks and I appreciate all that I am learning from this site!!


2011-02-04 12:07 AM
in reply to: #3338531

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Subject: RE: What are average split times for an Olympic distance race? I am
I'm a beginner too and have learned a lot from this site so I am far from the authority. However, I think the only times anyone else can give you are their times. You may be able to use that as a reference but it will have almost nothing to do with your race and times. The realistic goals you are referring to, again in my inexperienced opinion, have to be to just train hard and safe, run your race and enjoy. If you want something to aim for, come up with your best times now and try to improve on that between now and race day. Good luck, be safe and have fun!
2011-02-04 12:38 AM
in reply to: #3338531

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Subject: RE: What are average split times for an Olympic distance race? I am
If you're looking for "average" split times, the best way to find that out is to look for last year's race results for the race you are entering.  I'm sure if you do a google search "X olympic triathlon 2010 results", you'll find it.  They usually show your ranking in each event...so if the race has 500 participants...look what kind of time the 250th person in each leg did.  My guess is that it would be something like 30-35 minutes, 75-80 minutes, 50-55 minutes if the course isn't really hilly.

As for setting goals for yourself...I really wouldn't bother with it at this point.  Considering this is your first race...a lot can happen between now and 14 weeks.  Especially with your swim.  14 weeks of good swim instruction can easily knock 10+ minutes off your time.

FWIW, when I signed up for my first Olympic in Dec 2009 (Race was in May 2010), I set a goal of 3 hours for myself when I signed up.  Assuming a 40 minute swim, 1:20 bike, 55 minute run, and 5 minutes in transition.  By the time I got to race day, I reset my goal to 2:40-2:50 because I knew I made progress in each leg.  Ended up going 32:xx, 1:07:xx, 50:xx, and 3:xx in transition for 2:33:xx.

Just train hard and worry about goals as your race approaches.  Good luck and have fun.
2011-02-04 1:06 AM
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Subject: RE: What are average split times for an Olympic distance race? I am

I agree with others that for your first race, your main goals should be to finish, learn and have fun.  Not necessarily in priority order.

It's not a bad thing to have an estimate of your time for each leg, but that's going to be totally individual to you, and harder to estimate if you haven't raced before.  You can kind of get a bogey based on your training paces and looking at past results for the race you're planning to do.  Even then there will be lots of variables on race day.  You might find that you're slightly faster on a continuous swim in a wetsuit than you are doing laps in a pool.  Or you might find that you freak in the first 100 yards and struggle through the whole swim.  You might discover (painfully, on the run) that you don't really know how to pace, feed or hydrate yourself on the bike leg. 

The bogeys you've described in your original post are probably reasonable--don't shoot for super performance in your first race, and don't be too disappointed if you don't hit your estimates (see goals above).  All you want to do is set the bar so you can beat it next time.

However, you should also think about setting a time goal for your transitions as well.  Usually the cheapest and easiest area for improving your overall time.

2011-02-04 5:25 AM
in reply to: #3338531

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Subject: RE: What are average split times for an Olympic distance race? I am
O.K. So here is what I think your goals should be:

Swim- make it back to shore
Bike- Don't wreck
Run- Look good crossing the finish line so you can get a good finish photo


Seriously though, nobody knows better than you. How about you just add up the times you posted together and make that your goal. Just don't ever get too hung up on a goal. It is more important to go and have fun.
2011-02-04 5:44 AM
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Subject: RE: What are average split times for an Olympic distance race? I am
tri808 - 2011-02-04 1:38 AMIf you're looking for "average" split times, the best way to find that out is to look for last year's race results for the race you are entering.  I'm sure if you do a google search "X olympic triathlon 2010 results", you'll find it.  They usually show your ranking in each event...so if the race has 500 participants...look what kind of time the 250th person in each leg did.  My guess is that it would be something like 30-35 minutes, 75-80 minutes, 50-55 minutes if the course isn't really hilly.

As for setting goals for yourself...I really wouldn't bother with it at this point.  Considering this is your first race...a lot can happen between now and 14 weeks.  Especially with your swim.  14 weeks of good swim instruction can easily knock 10+ minutes off your time.

FWIW, when I signed up for my first Olympic in Dec 2009 (Race was in May 2010), I set a goal of 3 hours for myself when I signed up.  Assuming a 40 minute swim, 1:20 bike, 55 minute run, and 5 minutes in transition.  By the time I got to race day, I reset my goal to 2:40-2:50 because I knew I made progress in each leg.  Ended up going 32:xx, 1:07:xx, 50:xx, and 3:xx in transition for 2:33:xx.

Just train hard and worry about goals as your race approaches.  Good luck and have fun.
X2. Good insight You will almost always race faster than training. I would do a couple brick workouts, get an average add a little transition time and shoot for that . Don't worry about everyone else or you will be thinking of things on the starting line you shouldnt other than on your own race. Good luck


2011-02-04 9:41 AM
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Subject: RE: What are average split times for an Olympic distance race? I am
Definitely look at past race results for the race you are going to enter.

Last year I did two Oly's... went 2:27 in my first and 2:45 in my second. I was in much better shape for the second and placed better in my AG in that race. There are so many variables from race to race.... caliber of entrants the race attracts, actual race distances, course difficulty, weather conditions, etc). Even the same race year to year can vary (weather) - but, it's the best approximation of what to expect.

Most of all, have fun!!
2011-02-04 9:52 AM
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Subject: RE: What are average split times for an Olympic distance race? I am
tri808 - 2011-02-03 10:38 PM

If you're looking for "average" split times, the best way to find that out is to look for last year's race results for the race you are entering.  I'm sure if you do a google search "X olympic triathlon 2010 results", you'll find it.  They usually show your ranking in each event...so if the race has 500 participants...look what kind of time the 250th person in each leg did. 


I do this too.. and then I break it out into my age groups so I can see how fast guys my age ran this course the previous year.
2011-02-04 10:08 AM
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Subject: RE: What are average split times for an Olympic distance race? I am
Since you seemed to have done an assessment of your abilities and set ballpark times, I would suggest those being your main goals to beat. You can alter it based on how you develop in training up until race time. If you want to look up the average, don't see that as your ultimate goal, but still something to reach for during training.

Doing your first race safely and flawlessly is also another goal to keep in mind. Don't see that as a knock. I have plenty of experience with something going wrong during a race to the point of my friends predicting which part will I have the most trouble with this time. (First race was swim, second was bike, etc.)
2011-02-04 10:13 AM
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Subject: RE: What are average split times for an Olympic distance race? I am
Michael, Also start logging your workouts on this site....then when you ask these questions we can look at your training and have a much better guess.  Happy Training!!
2011-02-04 12:07 PM
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Subject: RE: What are average split times for an Olympic distance race? I am
TROGDOR - 2011-02-04 5:25 AM O.K. So here is what I think your goals should be: Swim- make it back to shore Bike- Don't wreck Run- Look good crossing the finish line so you can get a good finish photo Seriously though, nobody knows better than you. How about you just add up the times you posted together and make that your goal. Just don't ever get too hung up on a goal. It is more important to go and have fun.


Great advice!  My big goal this year is to break 3 hours (best time last year was 3:04).  For me, that looks like a 30 min swim, 80 min bike and 60 min run, excluding transitions.  Hoping I can do that.  Good luck to you!


2011-02-04 3:22 PM
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Baton Rouge
Subject: RE: What are average split times for an Olympic distance race? I am
Thanks for all of the great advice. I'm sure i will need more.
2013-05-28 10:36 AM
in reply to: TROGDOR

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Subject: RE: What are average split times for an Olympic distance race? I am
I'm sort of in the same boat - and I loved your advice. 
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