Statistics can be boring or captivating, depending on what you need them for. Pádraig Harrington is known for his meticulous recording of his golf scores. He’ll keep track of not only the number of shots, but his fairways hit, green hit in regulation, putts per round, bunker saves, birdies, bogeys…you name it! In football Sky Sports and even managers now use the Prozone player stats to show us how many kilometres each player runs per game, the number of passes they make, the number of fouls they make, even the number of headers. It never ends.
In triathlons, I’ve started looking at times and splits more closely now as I try to see how I can improve in 2011. It’s easier now, as you race with a timing chip each race, so all your swim/bike/run/transition splits are available online after the race for you to dissect. For me, I know I’m a poor swimmer, average cyclist and good runner. So I start slow and then claw my way back up the rankings as the race develops. I love passing people out on the run and am disappointed if anyone passes me out on the run. But I know my weakness is swimming and that’s where I can improve most.
So I decided to summarise all my results from 2010. That’s 3 running races and 9 triathlons. Most were in Ireland over the summer, but I also raced in Chicago, Barcelona and Gran Canaria. So what did the results show? Take a look below and you’ll see my times, as well as pace per kilometre which helps compare races over different distances. The pace is colour coded, with red being slower and green faster.
My swim times show I can swim 1000m in about 20 minutes. That’s not very fast, compared to a lot of people (older and heavier) I see in the pool, so I’m definitely going to get this down to 17min per 1000m this year. I’m going to join a club, get some lessons and learn a proper technique.
My bike times show I can do 40km in about 1h10m – the overall average is skewed by TriAthy as I had a puncture there and spent 20mins trying to fix it! Again I think if I do more cycling I can get down to closer to 1h05m or even lower. With cycling you can really make a big improvement, since you spend the most time on the bike (over an hour).
My run times are good already, averaging 4:08m per kilometre. I was really happy with them this year. I nearly broke 1h30m for a half marathon in Connemara, so I’m aiming to do 1h25m this year. I’d also like to get below 40min for a 10km run in a triathlon. I’ve never joined an athletics club or done specific interval training, so feel this can make the difference. I like going for a 10km in Dublin over by Sandymount strand, or even better down the sandhills in Tramore.
So what were my best and worst race times in 2010?
Swim: I had a fast swim in TriAthy, but given that it’s billed as “Ireland’s fastest triathlon” that’s no surprise. It’s downstream in a river, so easier than in the sea or on a flat lake with no current pushing you along. I was surprised that Barcelona was so slow – I felt good in the Mediterranean but I think the current must have been against us as even the pros were slower than normal.
Bike: The bike ride in Chicago is amazing and really a unique experience. You’re racing with over 8,000 people along the shores of Lake Michigan, passing by some huge skyscrapers. The weather was hot, over 30⁰C, so it was tough but I felt good and enjoyed the cycle. TriAthy was the opposite – I got a puncture in my first race after about 8km and struggled to change the tube. Practice makes perfect, so I’m much quicker doing it now.
Run: I was so annoyed about the puncture ruining my race; I put everything into making up time on the run. It worked! This year I want to keep that pace up for 10km. On the other hand, Kenmare was the toughest run as it involved a 5km climb up a steep hill, which really broke people. Ok the flip side is 5km back down, but at that stage you’re wrecked. The run in Chicago was the toughest I’ve ever done in my life though. The weather was brutal for running, and I saw top athletes grinding to a walking pace. I was happy for 2km and then gradually hit a wall. I slowed a bit but kept pushing all the way. It took me over 30mins to stand after staggering into the recovery zone. Bags of ice, water and bananas can only do so much.