Planning Your Race Season
The first step is to prioritise your races as either 'A, B or C', depending on their importance:
These are the events where you want to perform at your best. Beginner and Intermediate athletes should usually schedule just one 'A' race, more advanced athletes may choose to include more.
'A' races are the focus of your training and preparation, the ones that you aim to be at peak fitness for.
You want to do well, but they are not the focus of your entire season. It helps if you’ve done some race practice sessions before these; however, you would not always expect to peak for 'B' races. You could add one, or max two, in the lead-up to your main event.
Low-key events that you do for fun or simply as training for your 'A' and 'B' races. You would not focus your training on these races. Use them sparingly so that you still have enough energy to train throughout the week.
Choosing the Right 'B/C' Race
The race distance should be relevant to your fitness, experience, training plan, and 'A' race. Your training plan is progressive, and your racing season should be too.
Choose your B/C races according to your past racing experience and goals, for example:
- A beginner IRONMAN 70.3 triathlete would benefit from including an Olympic race as a 'B' race. And before that, a 'C' Sprint race.
- An advanced IRONMAN 70.3 triathlete could choose to include an IRONMAN 70.3 as a 'warm-up' B race - and pace it according to fitness at the time.
To optimise benefits, choose a 'B' race that simulates similar elevation profiles for the bike and run, format (laps etc), climate and terrains (trail, tarmac, sea, lake etc).
Aim to give yourself the opportunity to practice in the same kit that you will need for your 'A' race.
- Check your training plan and that your fitness will be at the right level to complete the race.
- You may not be targeting this race for your best performance. However, you still need to be in good enough shape to complete without risk of over-reaching.
- Too big a challenge can leave you vulnerable to injury as well as prolonging recovery time which eats into focussed training.
You will be ready at the end of the Build Phase or start of the Peak phase to include an appropriate 'B' race. 'C' races can be undertaken earlier in your plan.
- Training Effect - racing at the right level can push your boundaries and challenge your thresholds.
- Fun - race relaxed and enjoy the social aspect.
- Confidence - feel mentally prepared as you approach your main event.
- Dress rehearsal - check your race kit in a racing scenario.
- Transition Practice - fine-tune your Triathlon or Duathlon transition skills.
- Pace Practice - practice your Triathlon, Duathlon, Running or Cycling pacing strategies.
- Nutrition Practice - learn what, how much and when to consume fuel and hydration in race situations - and practice how to carry it too.
- Choosing a 'B' race that is too challenging for your fitness can put you at risk of injury or leave you needing extended time out from planned training to recover.
- Too short a 'B' race may mean you miss key loading and training effect. Weigh up the pros and cons carefully.
- Progression, peak and taper - key to peak performance. Race too close to race day (in the last 2-3 weeks) can mean that your form is compromised for race day.
- Treat your 'B' race with respect, poor preparation can lead to a poor race. This might leave you demotivated and worried about your 'A' race.
Guidelines for Adjusting Your Training
For lower priority 'B/C' races, we don't normally recommend that you follow a full taper and recovery. It can be harder to re-join your plan after an extended period of reduced training.
Check here for tips on adjusting your scheduled training to include a reduced taper and recovery for your lower-priority races.
Do it right, and there is no doubt that including B/C races has many benefits. If, after you have read the advice and articles included here, you have any follow-up questions, please contact our coaching team.
Have a great season!
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