Ironman Swim Pace Chart | SRC Gadgets

If you are planning to compete in an Ironman triathlon, you know that the swim is the first and arguably the most challenging part of the race. You have to swim 3.8 kilometers (2.4 miles) in open water, often with waves, currents, and hundreds of other swimmers. How can you prepare for such a daunting task?

One of the best ways to train for an Ironman swim is to use a pace chart.

A pace chart is a table that shows you how fast you need to swim at different distances to achieve your goal time. 

For example, if you want to finish the swim in one hour, you need to swim at a pace of 1:35 per 100 meters. A pace chart can help you monitor your progress, adjust your intensity, and plan your race strategy.

How to Use a Pace Chart

To use a pace chart, you need to know your current swim speed and your target swim time. You can measure your swim speed by doing a time trial in a pool or open water.

Ironman Swim Pace Chart

Swim as fast as you can for a set distance, such as 400 meters or 1,000 meters, and record your time. Divide your time by the distance to get your average pace per 100 meters.

Once you know your current pace, you can use a pace chart to find out how long it will take you to complete the Ironman swim at that speed. You can also use a pace chart to find out what pace you need to swim at to achieve your target time. 

How to Train with a Pace Chart

A pace chart can help you design your training sessions and improve your endurance and speed. Here are some tips on how to train with a pace chart:

  • Use the pace chart as a guide, not a rule. Your actual pace may vary depending on factors such as water conditions, fatigue, nutrition, hydration, and motivation. Don’t get discouraged if you can’t match the pace chart exactly. Focus on your effort and technique instead.
  • Mix up your distances and intensities. Don’t just swim at the same pace and distance every time. Vary your workouts by doing intervals, tempo swims, long swims, and recovery swims. This will help you develop different energy systems and prevent boredom and burnout.
  • Use a watch or a timer to track your splits. A split is the time it takes you to complete a certain distance or interval. For example, if you swim four sets of 400 meters with one minute rest in between, your splits are the times for each 400-meter set. Tracking your splits will help you measure your progress and adjust your pace accordingly.
  • Use tools such as buoys, paddles, fins, snorkels, and wetsuits to enhance your training. These tools can help you improve your buoyancy, power, efficiency, and comfort in the water. However, don’t rely on them too much. Make sure you also practice swimming without them, especially if they are not allowed in the race.
  • Simulate race conditions as much as possible. Try to swim in open water at least once a week, preferably in a similar environment as the race venue. Practice swimming in a group, sighting landmarks, drafting behind other swimmers, and exiting the water quickly. This will help you prepare for the challenges and excitement of race day.


An Ironman swim pace chart is an invaluable tool for training and completing the 3.8 km open water swim portion of an Ironman triathlon. 

Knowing your current swim pace and mapping out a plan to reach your target time using a pace chart allows you to train effectively, monitor your progress, and strategize for race day. 

Regularly tracking your pace in training, utilizing tools and techniques to enhance your swimming, and simulating race conditions will help you optimize your performance.

With dedication and smart preparation using a pace chart, you can tackle the demanding Ironman swim with confidence. 

Similar Posts