Seasonal Triathlon Race Planning
Hopefully you’ve begun training, or started to look into what training will best help you reach your goal. If not, don’t worry, but do start moving forward with your goal before your motivation flags.
Make the Commitment
If you haven’t signed up for your chosen race, do it. Today. Go online, pay the money, put it in your diary, tell all of your friends. Now that it is set in stone, let’s look at your race season.
First of all, will your goal race be your only race of the season? This may be the case, especially if your aim is to complete the race without a performance-related goal (though you may find yourself signing up for more after your first race!) If you are currently planning just the one race, start counting backwards from your race day. With shorter race distances (sprint or super sprint), you’ll need at least 8-12 weeks of triathlon-dedicated training to help you to comfortably finish the event.
Find yourself a good training plan that works for you (see our Training Plan Tips for ideas on where to start) and get out that diary again. Mark your first official training day in your diary and start scheduling your training days and times (yes, what they say is true – if you treat exercise like any other appointment and make time for it in the calendar, it is much more likely to happen).
This should be an aspect of most training plans that you find, but some things to consider: As a completer triathlete, your training aim should be building up your endurance prior to race day. You should build your mileage no more than approximately 10% per week to avoid injury (especially running).
If your training plan starts well above where you’ve been, consider building a base level of fitness prior to starting the plan. Also, most plans allow for a recovery week every fourth week, meaning a decrease in mileage that week. This is important and actually helps you to get stronger – take advantage!
If you’re interested in being a bit more competitive this season, even with yourself, consider adding more races. Your goal race will still be the most important, your “A” race, but building in some strategic “B” and even “C” races, will both help your season and increase your triathlon fun.
Consider “B” races to be practice races for your “A” race. Practice what you’ll wear, eat and/or drink, pacing, smooth transitions. These races will help you to determine what works well for you and help you to get used to managing race day nerves. Because you will be giving race-level effort to your “B” race(s), be sure to schedule them several weeks away from your “A” race, taper* prior to the race, and don’t schedule too many!
Your “C” races are just for fun and that should be the goal. They are about getting out there and enjoying yourself, and might not even be triathlon. Consider a cycle sportif, a fun run, or an open water swim at a relaxed lake venue. Be sure that “C” races are not scheduled during important peaks in your training, where you are specifically building towards that big “A” race goal.
Once you’ve planned your race calendar, it is time for the real fun of triathlon to begin!
Coach Kristin x
*Taper= decreasing your training volume prior to race day. Specific amounts of decrease and length of taper will be based on your race distance.