Find out how to analyse your triathlon post-race data so you can train and race better in the future.
Finishing Time and Splits
The first thing we all do after a race is look at our race finishing time and splits. These can lead you to feel one of three ways:
- over the moon with happiness
- crushingly disappointed
- happy with one or two disciplines, and crushingly disappointed with the other(s).
However, taking your race times or race splits at face value is not an accurate method of analysis. Unless it is the same race that you have done before with the same conditions, you will never be comparing apples with apples. There are dozens of variables that can significantly affect your race splits.
Comparing Your Finishing Positions
There’s another way of analyzing your race performances. If you look at the results PDF for most triathlons, you’ll see how you ranked against other competitors by discipline. For example, your swim ranked 10th, your bike ranked 15th and your run split ranked you in 25th.
Comparing your finishing position for different disciplines is useful, because it shows where your strengths and weaknesses were on that given day in relation to everyone else.
However, it’s important to avoid jumping to conclusions from this information. There are two big reasons why.
- The level of competition varies massively between events.
- Your performances in each discipline are affected by your pacing in the previous discipline. You could have a fantastic swim and bike, but a relatively slow run. But that doesn’t mean you’re a bad runner. It might just mean you were over-tired because you swam and cycled too hard.
The Best Way to Analyze Post Triathlon Results
You will have performed your three fitness tests 8 weeks before your race and used this information to plan your pacing strategy for your race. You can now use it to evaluate your results. Check planned values against actual values within Training Peaks over different parts of the race. You will need to take into account the nature of the course and the variables that may have affected your performance (positively or negatively).
Analysis is by no means a perfect process because of the sheer number of variables involved. But using recent performance test data is always better than looking at race splits in isolation.
You may, after an initial disappointment with your race time or splits, come to realize that you actually performed well on the day. Using recent performance test scores, rather than assumptions will help you stay grounded in reality, giving you a far better idea of how you raced and how to improve in the future.
- There are lots of uncontrollable variables that can significantly affect your race results.
- Race splits can sometimes be misleading.
- Simple fitness tests can provide useful benchmark performance data.
- Your swim pace in a triathlon will have a knock-on effect on your bike performance.
- Your swim and bike pace in a triathlon will have a knock-on effect on your running performance.
- Your best performances aren't always reflected by your best splits. And vice versa.
- The level of your competitors will vary from one race to another. You cannot always compare against them.
Read Phil's Full Blog and watch his video interview with GTN on this topic:
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