My Fenix 3’s Ironman 70.3 initiation – a match made in heaven


My Fenix 3 and I had to wait 3 months to do an Ironman event together. The day dawned with great excitement on Sunday, 2nd of August with the inaugural Ironman 70.3 Durban. I was especially interested in the running dynamics data. As a self-coached triathlete, I was curious to find out what my watch would tell me regarding my running form on race day.

True to my paranoid self, I locked the Fenix 3’s buttons for the 1.9 Km swim as we ran into the sea. After a somewhat dismal 36 minutes swim, I ran onto the beach and into T1 to get my bike. My favourite bike fields, namely time, distance, average speed and current speed kept me well on target for the 90 Km ride. I set my 5 Km lap alert to show me average speed, so I would know whether I’m on target for a 35.5 Km/h average speed. I finished the 90 Km ride with an average of 36.5 Km/h, way above my 35,5 Km/h target. On screen 2 my average heart rate was 136, also very much within a comfort zone.

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Due to the staggered swim start, we had no idea what our true positions were on the run. All we could do to secure a good position, and a possible podium finish, was to go as hard as possible. For simplicity, I use the same fields as on the bike: time, distance, average pace and current pace. I aimed for a 4:42 minutes/Km run, which would secure me a 1 hour 39 minutes finish time for the run. It crept up to 4:45 and the Ironman timing mats gave me a 1:39:59 run time. Sub 1:40 it was, albeit with 1 second! 4 hours and 54 minutes later I was elated to finish in 3rd place in my age category, with a precious Ironman 70.3 trophy to show for it. Much happiness!

But what did my Fenix 3 tell me? My run heart rate average was 155 beats per minute. I would have liked it to be higher. 160 would have been great. Did I take it too easy? After all, I felt surprisingly good after the race. Maybe I should have pushed harder on the run. I sprinted the last 300 metres with way too much energy left. My ground contact time was 260 milliseconds. Quite slow. Does it point to a lack of speed work and strength training also? Just maybe. Most obvious is the clear graphical drop in the vertical oscillation. It might be in line with endurance induced fatigue, but it also points to a drop in stride strength and form.

My Fenix 3 could not be faulted as a triathlon watch, and the data points to a lack of strength work and speed training, amongst other things. It was a good day, but things can always get better. I have the best technology and data to point me in the right direction. The will to pursue it? That is up to me. Upwards and onwards. Till the next race!