Demystifying the Science of Triathlon Speed


FASTER takes a scientific look at triathlon to see what truly makes you faster—and busts the myths and doublespeak that waste your money and race times.

In stock


Triathlon is among the world’s most gear-intensive sports. The gear you select and how you use it can mean big results—or bigger disappointment.

FASTER takes a scientific look at triathlon to see what truly makes you faster—and busts the myths and doublespeak that waste your money and race times. In this fascinating exploration of the forces at play in the swim-bike-run sport, astronautical engineer and triathlete Jim Gourley shows where to find free speed, speed on a budget, and the gear upgrades that are worth it.

FASTER offers specific, science-based guidance on the fastest techniques and the most effective gear, answering questions like:

  • Which wetsuit is best for me?
  • What’s the best way to draft a swimmer?
  • Should I buy a lighter bike?
  • Deep dish or disc wheels?
  • Are lighter shoes faster?
  • Who’s right about running technique?

Gourley reviews published studies in peer-reviewed journals to show what scientists have learned about swim drafting, pacing the bike leg, race strategy for short and long-course racing, and the fastest ways to handle transitions.

FASTER will change how you think about your body, your gear, and the world around you. With science on your side, you’ll make the smart calls that will make you a better, faster triathlete.

Paperback with two-color interior. Infographics and and illustrations throughout.
6″ x 9″, 216 pp., $18.95, 9781937715021

Faster: Demystifying the Science of Triathlon Speed

Shipping Dimensions: 6.00in x 9.00in x 0.75in pp $18.95, Inventory 9781937715021, Shipping 1.00lbs


1 Physics and the Triathlete
The Triathlete’s Battle Against the Universe
Getting a Grip: The Importance of Friction
Feel the Flow: A triathlete’s introduction to aerodynamics

2 The Swim
Jumping in Head First: How the smart triathlete uses their brain on the swim
Everybody in the Water: The body and the medium
Catching a Clue: Is it better to cup your hands or keep them flat?
Fishtailing: The benefit of drafting other swimmers
Salty Dogs and Flash Freezes: Is there really such a thing as “fast” water?
Like a Sturgeon: Would I be faster if my suit had scales?

3 The Bike & Power
Going in Circles: How the smart triathlete crushes the bike with brainpower
Let’s Roll: The body and the medium
Knowing What’s Watt: The fundamentals of power on the bike

4 The Bike & Aerodynamics
A Weighty Matter: The (relative) benefit of lightening your load
Mass Effect: The ups and downs of being heavier on descents
Aero Head: The smart way to get fast
Heads Up: The finer points about aero helmets
Let’s Have the “Crosswind Talk”
Light at the End of the Tunnel: Comparing wind tunnel numbers
Where the Rubber Hits the Road: Can my choice of tires really make me faster?

5 The Run
Looking at the Run like Never Before: As a physicist
The Body & the Medium: The mechanics of running
From Kenyans to Clydesdales: The secrets of running economy
The Big Not-So-Easy: Heat dissipation versus athlete size
Don’t Stand So Close to Me: Can you really draft on the run?
A Discussion Worth Repeating: Running on hills
Hermes’ Sandals What’s to be gained from lighter shoes, shorts and shirts
The Road Less Traveled: How treadmills, trails and beaches affect your run

6 A Scientific Approach to Racing Strategy
Finding Your Happily-Ever-After: Looking at the race from start to finish
Dropping (your concept of) the Hammer: How to finish faster by going slower
It’s the Economy, Stupid: What the smart athlete knows about pacing an Ironman effort

About the Author

Preview book.

Faster is a fascinating look at triathlon that will indeed make you faster.” —

Faster answers questions you may long wanted to ask but were afraid to…Gourley weeds through an entire market of products so you don’t have to…The writing is clear, humorous and to the point. Faster will empower triathlete consumers while saving them time and money and helping their race results skyrocket.” — Triathlon Magazine Canada

“Getting faster doesn’t have to cost more time and money; it simply takes more smarts. Enter Jim Gourley. He actually is a rocket scientist, and he brings his astronautical know-how to triathlons. He explains and compares the effects of triathlon gear and techniques like aero wheels, wetsuits, shaved legs, and the “drag flag” of your race number. Yes, there’s science here. But if a triathlon doesn’t scare you, you shouldn’t be afraid of the basic physics in this book. As Gourley promises, “Free speed does exist. You just have to know where to find it.” — Experience Life magazine

“An easy-to-read, witty book that will save you time and money.” — Jordan Rapp, 5-time Ironman champion

“Any triathlete who is either racing for a front of the pack finish or just working to be the best they can be would enjoy this book immensely. Faster puts complicated science in terms that are easy to understand and then links it back to purchasing decisions.” —

“Like Gourley, I’m a technologist and engineer …[but] I don’t enjoying reading scientific and technical papers. I’m more of the ‘Speed for Dummies’ type—just give me the facts and bottom line. No fluff. No boring details. And Gourley’s book does just that. He breaks down all the concepts and make them easier to understand. Definitely worth a read and belongs to my book library.” — Minimalist Running

“A fun approach to myth busting and how physics affects us athletes…The cycling chapter brilliantly discusses the physics behind riding. You’ll learn a lot about the forces acting on you as you ride, making decisions based on real-world conditions, and what the true value of expensive upgrades may be.” —

You may also like…

  • Strength Training for Triathletes 96dpi 300x STT2

    Strength Training for Triathletes, 2nd Ed.

    Add to cart
  • Swim Speed Secrets by Sheila Taormina

    Swim Speed Secrets, 2nd Ed.

    Add to cart
  • Racing Weight RW2 96dpi 400x600 stroke

    Racing Weight, 2nd Ed.

    Add to cart
  • Fast-Track Triathlete by Matt Dixon FTT 400x500

    Fast-Track Triathlete

    Add to cart