Pacing and fueling are two incredibly important aspects to consider when training for any triathlon or endurance race. We’ll go over some average paces for each discipline and general estimates for calories burned so you can get an idea of how to best fuel your body for these hard efforts.
Keep in mind that these are average paces and calorie counts so they may not be accurate for you.
You’ll want to make sure you’re paying attention to what your body needs depending on the effort you’re exerting.
With all that said, let’s take a look at some average numbers so you can have an idea of what to expect on your own training journey.
The swimming portion of a triathlon can be the most nerve-wracking part for many athletes, especially those who have no background in swimming. Let’s go over some of the basics.
How many laps are 1,500 meters swim?
1,500 meters is 30 laps of an Olympic-size pool, which are 50 meters in length. This equates to roughly 0.93 miles and is referred to as a “swimmer’s mile” (Source).
To do a full mile, you’d need to swim 32.2 laps in a 50-meter pool, hence the need for the swimmer’s mile.
It can take an average beginner swimmer around 40 to 50 minutes to swim one mile. This timing will vary greatly depending on how experienced the swimmer is. For example, an intermediate swimmer can finish a mile in 30 to 35 minutes and advanced swimmers can complete a mile in as fast as 25 minutes or less (Source).
The more you train, the faster and more efficient you’ll be during the swimming portion of a triathlon. Just be sure you don’t neglect the portions of the event that you’re stronger at.
It takes an average of 80 minutes to swim 2.4 miles. This is the equivalent of 3,800 meters which would be 76 laps in an Olympic-size pool. That’s the distance you’ll swim if you choose to do a full Ironman triathlon.
It’s a very long time to be swimming non-stop, so you’ll want to prepare for such a massive feat of endurance, especially because it’s in open water. (Source)
How many calories do swimming a mile?
The average calories burned swimming for one mile is 531 calories. However, this is just an estimated average and will vary greatly depending on the swimmer, swim stroke, and general level of fitness. One can get a more accurate estimate if they use a fitness watch or monitor that will use the heart rate, age, and level of fitness to produce a number. (Source)
It’s important to know how many calories you’re burning because you’ll want to refuel during the race and stay healthy during your training. You won’t be able to take in fuel during the swim, so you can set yourself up for success by properly fueling before the race and having nutrition dialed in during the bike ride.
Average Triathlon Timing & Calories (Age Group Level): Swim
|Catagory||Distance||Time (Men)||Time (Women)||Calories Burned|
|Sprint||750m (.5 miles)||17min 34sec||18min 43sec||79-109|
|Olympic||1.5km (.93 miles)||29min 21sec||31min 54sec||246-340|
|Half Ironman||1.9km (1.2 miles)||39min 38sec||41min 20sec||364-504|
|Full Ironman||3.8km (2.4 miles)||1hr 15min||1hr 20min||757-1,048|
The cycling portion is the longest part of any triathlon race, so you’ll likely spend a lot of time on your bike. Regardless of which distance you ride, you’ll want to make sure you can maintain a consistent pace so you still have enough energy left for the run.
It can take beginner cyclists an average of 50 minutes to bike 10 miles. This can vary greatly depending on the rider, the weather, the bike, and how hilly the course is, but under an hour is a good average to aim for (Source).
You can burn anywhere from 200 to 700 calories in 30 minutes of biking. A variety of factors contribute to the wide range, including fitness level, bike route, and style of riding Most people training for a triathlon will be on the bike for much longer periods of time, both while training and during the race itself.
How much cycling is too much cycling?
You’ll know that you’re cycling too much if you start to experience symptoms of overtraining:
- Soreness that doesn’t ease over time
- Constantly tired
- Lack of appetite
- Difficulty sleeping
- Unwanted weight loss
The amount of cycling that will cause overtraining will be different for everyone, so it’s important to listen to your body for any cues that you’re pushing yourself too hard (Source).
While some soreness and fatigue are normal during intense periods of training, you don’t want to risk injury, illness, or burnout. Be sure you’re eating enough, getting enough sleep, and practicing good recovery techniques.
Average Triathlon Timing & Calories (Age Group Level): Bike
|Catagory||Distance||Time (Men)||Time (Women)||Calories|
|Sprint||20km (12.4 miles)||43min 46sec||49min 24sec||558-773|
|Olympic||40km (24.8 miles)||1hr 14min||1hr 24min||1,171-1,622|
|Half Ironman||90km (56 miles)||2hr 58min||3hr 15min||2,203-3,052|
|Full Ironman||180km (112 miles)||6hr 5min||6hr 40min||4,130-5,719|
It can take an average of 10 minutes to run a mile. Beginner runners may take around 12 to 15 minutes to run a mile while more experienced runners can average 9 or 10 minutes a mile (Source).
Elite runners can complete a mile in under 6 minutes.
The running section of the triathlon will usually be anywhere from a 5k (3.1 miles) to a full marathon (26.2 miles).
Generally speaking, running burns approximately 100 calories per mile so a 5k would burn around 300 calories. This will vary depending on how to fit the runner is, along with exertion, age, and weight. It’s important to practice fueling during long runs so your body can get used to the feeling of taking in nutrition while running. (Source).
This will be key to avoiding hitting a wall or bonking during a race or training run. You can experiment with different kinds of fuel, like energy gels and electrolyte drinks.
Average Triathlon Timing & Calories(Age Group Level): Run
|Catagory||Distance||Time (Men)||Time (Women)||Calories|
|Sprint||5km (3.1 miles)||26min 37sec||29min 40sec||309-427|
|Olympic||10km (6.2 miles)||55min 29sec||1hr 1min||610-845|
|Half Ironman||21.09km (13.1 miles)||2hr 8min||2hr 20min||1,275-1,767|
|Full Ironman||42.195km (26.2 miles)||4hr 40min||5hr 5min||2,576-3,568|
Also, find out more on triathlon distances & timing and check out our Triathlon Distances & Average Timings Analysis (Infographic); Pick Your Right Fight !
It’s important to take any data with a grain of salt – it’s interesting to see averages and can provide a good starting point.
At the end of the day, though, your body is unique and it’s important to pay attention to what you need. Proper fueling, rest, and recovery is key to succeeding at any endurance sport.
For more on this topic, check out our post How Many Calories Are Consumed In Triathlons; Why Is It Important? All Distances