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My Analysis: Your Ironman vs Oly Bike Splits
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younggun




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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 9:30 pm    Post subject: My Analysis: Your Ironman vs Oly Bike Splits Reply with quote

Thanks for all your bike Oly vs. IM data, I thought it would be nice to look at our performances Ė feels a bit more relevant and genuine than pulling other peopleís off a set of results.

The first thing I did was made some standard adjustments to the Olympic splits for slower courses. I looked at the full results from races and made a judgment of how much slower they were than a fast course. I decided on 2í off for Windsor, 5í off for Swanage, 5í off for Dambuster. You could argue the toss over these but I donít think it makes much difference.

Then I split the IM results into three groups: Very fast, fast and slow courses. Hereís the data, my groupings and the plot:

I added the dashed line too Ė this is the equi-speed line Ė i.e. the same mph for each distance. Obviously no-one rides an IM bike split at Oly speed Ė but note how much clearance there is, no-matter how fast or not-so-fast you are thereís quite a consistent gap.

Thereís some spread in the data, obviously the IM courses vary a lot so letís lose the slower course data:

OK, Iíve drawn the shaded area to show how Iím looking at it. Iím going to suggest itís actually quite a tight relationship Ė i.e. thereís a very strong link between your IM and Oly bike split and nobody seems to be dramatically over performing (and few underperforming) in their IM rides. Do you agree?

Further to that, it seems to me that that if we could remove the effects of the difference courses, that this relationship would tighten up further Ė strengthening this relationship between your Oly and IM bike splits. I can't prove this from the data but my intuition suggests this would be the case.

I've also done some power calcs - this is optional class(!) - if you donít want to get too technical then please jump to my conclusions below.

Never afraid to court controversy I made some estimates of power production from times. I made a ballpark estimate that 320W is 25mph and calculated watts at different speeds using the fact that power is proportional to the cube of speed. Obviously drag varies dramatically from rider to rider but should be similar between each personís Oly and IM rides and itís this comparison Iím interested in. So even if the absolute watts are not correct - the ratio between the two should be for each individual. Hereís the data and comparison plot:


Iíve added percentage lines showing fractions of Oly power on the IM power scale.

Again, due to some of the effects of those slightly harder IM courses, the watts on some of those light grey points will move upwards somewhat as they would have worked harder than on a flat course (my power vs. speed assumptions are based on a flat course). You can see that the data from the v.fast courses is actually pretty consistent with riders putting out 70 to 80% of their Oly watts over the IM distance. This is consistent with reports from people who train and race with power Ė they ride an IM bike leg somewhere in the region of 70 to 80% of their CP60. Interestingly, there is very little difference in that ratio whatever end of the field you are at Ė 75 to 80% seems to be a hard limit you cannot exceed.

My Conclusions
Thereís a strong relationship between your ability over Oly and IM bike distances. If you are not fast over 25 miles you will not be fast over 112 (at least no-one is here).

If you are off the top edge of that band I drew (i.e. slower IM ride) on a fast course then it looks like you underperformed versus other people. If that ride was a true reflection of your fitness (you didnít blow up from going out too fast or take it deliberately easy) then it could be you lacked endurance - more endurance preperation may help you perform better over 112 miles.

If you are safely in that band and want to get quicker then it looks like you canít expect to hold a much higher percentage of your Oly pace/power - no-one else has managed it. Your route to greater IM speed is to improve your Oly speed Ė i.e. your lactate threshold speed. I am confident this will improve your IM speed because none of the supplied data shows that people with fast Oly splits performed outside the band. Of course you need to make sure you have sufficient endurance to back this up with specific preperation in the build up to the race.

None of this tells us what is your "ideal split" so that you run well and get your best overall time. But if you work on your threshold speed so you can ride a faster split then you can expect your "ideal split" to also be faster.

If you'd like to see the calcs, and have Excel, they're here.

Just my opinion - I'd be interested to hear yours.

Adam Young
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SolarEnergy




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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 11:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's been mine (opinion) too. I actually have never deviated from it.

I am not claiming it out loud as I'd like to keep as many friends as possible on forums, but your article plus the accute risk of severe injuries have always driven me to try to discorage people from getting into IM without spending a reasonable amount of years racing *but more important* training for (with all the implications) shorter distances.

One can't expect massive gains in both 'speed' (over 40k) and 'endurance' (over 180) in the same time. And that's what too many try to do, too early I find.

Now my friends, don't be shaken by my comment (please). I might be wrong. It's just been my opinion, only limited to the people I've been coaching over the years.

Just thought this great article was an opportunity to share it.

Thanks Adam (Once again Wink ) !
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Iain




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PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2006 5:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm such a duffer with technical stuff.

I've just read this 3 times and I still don't understand it. Just like any nutritional advice it goes straight over my head Confused Confused
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coastal controller




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PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2006 5:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for all the analysis. The only point I would raise is that by taking an Oly time from around a IM time, you are taking someones Oly time under IM trg conditions. I am only 3 yrs into Tri, and the bike is my worst discipline, but last year my A race was IM, so the training for me was based mainly around distance to ensure that I finished competently. The Oly that I gave to you for stats was raced with no taper, of the back of a hard week to provide a 'good training session' just before my IM taper started. This training regime left me with 'one speed' - on the run as well, so this year's training will include more speed work. I would expect my Oly/IM times to be quite closely related.

Nethertheless, a great bit of analysis - your conclusion sums up exactly what I need to do for next season. Ta! Smile
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ajh67




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PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2006 6:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for that Adam - fits in pretty much with me for IMUK. It actually helps me understand my performance at IMUK a little better where my run was terrible (nutrition went wrong esp with the diet coke Mad ) but felt like I was fit enough for the time I was aiming for.
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Miles Behind




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PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2006 8:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good stuff. Would be interesting to do something similar with running, perhaps comparing 5k/10k with half or full marathon, to see if the conclusions are the same
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JD.




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PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2006 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

very interesting yg, can't believe i was pushing out a measly 78 watts on the bike!

i realised after a year of base (to make absolutely sure i got around my first race & IM) that i now need more speed work. less of the one speed thing for me this year.
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younggun




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PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2006 10:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

coastal controller wrote:
Thanks for all the analysis. The only point I would raise is that by taking an Oly time from around a IM time, you are taking someones Oly time under IM trg conditions. I am only 3 yrs into Tri, and the bike is my worst discipline, but last year my A race was IM, so the training for me was based mainly around distance to ensure that I finished competently. The Oly that I gave to you for stats was raced with no taper, of the back of a hard week to provide a 'good training session' just before my IM taper started. This training regime left me with 'one speed' - on the run as well, so this year's training will include more speed work. I would expect my Oly/IM times to be quite closely related.
Coastal, I'm not sure I'm disagreeing with you - but the arguement I'm making is that there's always a strong relationship regardless of how you train. Certainly with your purely endurance based training you lie in the band with everyone else. If you changed your training then I expect you'd still be in the band - just moving down the diagonal towards the quicker end.

John Douglas wrote:
very interesting yg, can't believe i was pushing out a measly 78 watts on the bike!
John, I wouldn't be surprised if you put out more than that it's a pretty crude estimate based on still air aero drag on the flat. You may be less aero than my estimate and if you are at the lower end of the watts scale then any hills or headwinds will raise it a lot...
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AndyS.




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PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2006 10:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Basing this on my own training then to tell me to improve my 25 mile time is telling me it's OK to ditch the LSD rides and do shorter sessions at a harder pace. Which is basically the usual advice on how to get faster; spend time above race pace, in this instance, 20% above IM race pace. So is it actually the effects of threshold training or the effects of training that zone slightly below it, your high aerobic zone? It's very useful to be able to set yourself a 25 mile time to achieve a target 112 time.
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hdavies




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PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2006 11:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have heard this theory somewhere before Confused


Thanks for taking the time to do that Adam.

This may be of some use:

Distance Power HR Av

10 Mile TT: 360 167
25 mile TT: 325 160
50 mile TT: 295 153
100 mile TT: 285 148
Half IM Bike: 282 153
Full IM BIke: 255 148

Dont know if that helps anyone but some of the stats are out of date as i dont ride with power on the current bike, but the HR stats are spot on
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Windmonkey




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PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2006 12:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very interesting YG,

would also useful to see what run splits where put in after the bikes, maybe that could give us a % of CP60 to use in a IM which would in theory give us the most efficient pacing stratergy to complete the bike run portion of the race in the fastest time.

Or am I talking Bo**ocks
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ray




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PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2006 12:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Confused Confused Confused Confused
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mattie




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PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2006 12:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks for that adam.v ineresting stuff
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duncan74




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PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2006 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Intersting, but up to a point. Not takign away from the analysis, but I think there is a bit of a jump to get to the conclusion that to improve IM times then we need to be increasing our LT speed. Doesn't the data equally as well suggest that to improve LT speed then you should do lots of 5, 6 hour times as people with fast Oly times generally have faster IM times too (ie spin it around). Confused

Otherwise then we see that there are very few people that manage to do exceptional IM without being able to pull out decent oly times.

Unfortunately IMHO there are just way too many variables here. Doing the analysis on 100 competitors from 1 IM race (ie find out their oly splits) would be very intereasting. Infact if it were possible to get the data for all those forumites that did IMUK then that would have a lot less variables in there (wrt course, weather, etc).

To me, if anything, then that anaylsys is probably best used to derive time comaprisons between courses. Ie that each course has a unique 'slope', and that we can use this to compare times between races.

But that's my take on the analysis, and is just offered for discussion.
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Rok




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PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2006 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AndyS. wrote:
Basing this on my own training then to tell me to improve my 25 mile time is telling me it's OK to ditch the LSD rides and do shorter sessions at a harder pace. Which is basically the usual advice on how to get faster; spend time above race pace, in this instance, 20% above IM race pace. So is it actually the effects of threshold training or the effects of training that zone slightly below it, your high aerobic zone? It's very useful to be able to set yourself a 25 mile time to achieve a target 112 time.


Ditching the LSD is not my take on this as endurance still needs to be established in an athlete, however once you have the endurance required the way forward is pace improvement. If you think about it this is what periodization is. First being able to do distance then build on doing it faster. Reverse proidization of doing the really long stuff nearer the event is also OK as it avoids early season burn out risk but you would still establish a good endurance base early in the season if you need too. Well seasoned athletes may need minimal LSD to be able to perform if endurance isa strngth of theirs.

Great work Adam.

I think if it was done for running you would only see similar correlation at the front of the field or with people further down who were able to run the whole IM marathon. Would be interesting.
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