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swim bike run

Test your fitness for Swim, Bike and Run

It is important to regularly test your fitness to monitor your improvements and also provide information about your strength & weaknesses so your training plan can be adapted.

The follow tests are great to do at the start of any training plan and serve as a baseline for your training zones/pace.


The measurement used in swim training is called Critical Swim Speed (CSS) which refers to the best pace at which you’d currently swim a 1500m time. Like most tests there is a calculation which means you do not have to swim the entire distance.

The Test

To test your current CSS pace you need to swim a 400m & 200m timed time trial in the same session with 5-10mins recovery/easy swimming between. Make sure you have a sufficient warm up and cool down within this session. 

Once you have your 2 times then enter it into the below calculator to give you your CSS pace. This pace can then be used to train at various lengths in the pool building your swim speed/endurance.

Training at your CSS speed will not make you the fastest sprint swimmer but it will improve your endurance performance which is crucial for any triathlete.


The best way to test your cycle fitness is with a power meter or smart turbo trainer. A power meter measures the effort applied to the pedals without having to factor in external conditions such as weather, gradient etc.

The most important figure that you need to know is your Functional Threshold Power (FTP) which is basically the highest power that a rider can sustain for 1 hour.

The test

15 min warm up

3 x 1min fast pedalling 100+ RPM to raise heart rate with 1min recover intervals

20min all out time trial effort (record this figure using the lap feature)

10min Cool down

Your FTP figure is calculated from dividing your 20min time trial effort by 0.95, once you have this figure then enter it in the below template to work out your zones.


It is possible to test your current running ability, set training zones and predict a variety of race times by using one simple method, the VDOT. This test simply involves doing a maximal 3km time trial then record your time and enter it into the below calculator

The test

15min easy run with 4 x 100m accelerating from easy to hard 

3km timed maximal effort

5min easy to cool down 


Now you have set your current fitness levels in all 3 disciplines it’s important to test every 8 weeks or so to monitor improvements. It is good practise to re-test in similar conditions so make sure external factors such as temperature and equipment are the same which will give you a true comparison.


James Walsgrove

My cycling career started in 2005 when I purchased my first road bike and I was immediately hooked. Since then I have completed numerous cycling challenges including Ironman, Lands’ End to John O Groats, Mt Ventoux (all 3 ascents), London to Paris, the BBAR challenge which included a 12hour TimeTrial and more recently the Mallorca 312.