What it took to qualify for Ironman 70.3 worlds

In the past I have looked for information on Ironman 70.3 worlds qualification and have not found something super exact. So now that I have achieved it, I thought I could share some details.

I was 7th in the 35-39 age group in Marbella. There were 6 slots but got the spot because of the roll down. Still, I was 6 seconds away from being 6th, so I think the information is still relevant.

I weight 62kg, and had an AI estimated FTP of 268W on March 12th, so 4.32W/kg. It is a bit old but immediately after “taking the test”, I had 2 weeks of no cycling training because of a stomach bug. Still I decided to do the build to the race using this FTP. The workouts became easier as the block went on.

My running threshold is 3:52 '/km, based off a 20 minutes test. However, I did this test using the Asics Nimbus, which is kind of a slow shoe, and I did the race wearing the Nike Alphafly.

My CSS pace is about 1:48’/100m.

I did 34:45 (1:50’/km) for the swim (50 out of 135). Maintained an IF of 0.87 (222 average, 232 NP), for 2:40 in the bike (4 out of 135). And maintained an IF of 0.98 (3:57’/km) for 1:23:45 (4 out of 135).

Marbella is a very hilly course with about 1400m of climbing so it favours a light person like me, and reduces the relative importance of the swim, by making the bike longer. I live at about 700m altitude and the race was at sea level. In addition, the FTP was calculated based on training on the aero position while in the race I was out of aero for the most part, thus giving me more power I assume, and the ability to maintain such a high IF, and still run well off it.

If you are a better swimmer than me, then you can probably be slower on the bike and on the run.

My profile in trainerroad is public, so if you are a subscriber you can look at the race files, including the run, and also at the the training I did. You will not find anything epic, only consistent training.

In the covid era, during which I only cycled, with weeks of up to 20 hours of only trainerroad workouts, I had an FTP of 282.

Also, best bike split grossly overestimated the amount it would take me to complete the course, which discouraged me from even trying. So do not get discouraged if the same thing happens to you.


Well done!

And good numbers. :+1:

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@ncarbayo can you comment on your run threshold? It seems like something might be off if you ran at 98% of threshold for 1:20 after 3hrs of pretty intense exercise.

Cool post, really interesting to see this stuff.

You are right. I forgot to add that. I will add it to the post. While I did the run test with the Asics Nimbus, which are sort of a comfortable shoe for heavy runners, I run using the Nike Alphafly on which I am significantly faster.

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My best tip for grabbing a slot for any WC for us adult onset swimmers is “Go to an event where the swim gets cancelled”. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye::stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye::stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I qualified for 2017 70.3 WC in Chattanooga by winning my AG in Racine. Just before the race, a huge storm blew in, delaying the start. We actually went and had breakfast while they tried to decide what to do (which killed the chances for one of my buddies :scream:).

Anyway, once they got going the swim was cancelled and they shortened the bike leg to 31 miles. As a strong cyclist, this kinda sucked since it was basically a runner’s race now. I decided that 31 miles wasn’t too much farther than a 40K, so I pegged it from the start…full TT effort. Starting almost last (TT style starts based on race numbers), I was passing hundreds of riders in extremely windy and gusty conditions…probabky still the scariest bike competition I have ever participated in (having raced on the road and crits for 20+ years prior).

Get off the bike and head out on the run…IIRC, I was averaging 7:20’s / mile? I just focused on holding that pace for the first lap and then went mile by mile after that…“OK, one more mile and you can slow down a bit”. I finally started to fade a bit in the last 1.5 miles, but not too bad. Had built up enough of a lead on the bike that I still won my AG comfortably (even though I was only Top 3 on the run, I think).

I did, however, back that up with a 70.3 PR later that year in Muncie. Had a crap swim (39 min, I think?) but a great bike (2:20ish) and a very good run. Was running a similar pace to Racine, but faded on the second half of the run. Ended up in 5th and could have grabbed a slot had I not already earned one.


I tried that and still didn’t get in, so I came up with a new strategy: outlive everyone, hopefully get in the 90+ AG.


That’s a solid performance and nice write up. The .87 IF for a half distance event is pretty high for age groupers, part may be due to the hilly course. Still that’s hard to run off. And you are apparently a very strong runner!

Have fun at worlds :slight_smile: