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Triathlon Race Planning Guide | How To Plan Your Season

Triathlon Race Planning Guide | How To Plan Your Season


– It’s that time of year when
last season probably seems a distant memory, and
the thought of summer and being race fit is pretty unimaginable. Now, however, is the perfect
time to start planning for next season. Now, choosing races that
complement each other and will work well for your
season is a pretty big task and it takes some time and
thought, so it’s a good idea to put that time aside and
then work those dates out and work your training backwards
so you know where you need to start right now, and
it can be pretty daunting, but don’t worry, we’re here to guide you. It is time to get excited for next season. (upbeat music) In order to train, you
need a goal, so let’s start by finding an event
that gets you motivated and desperate to head out
the door and get fit again. Now, after last season, I
hope you took a little bit of time to reflect and looked
at what it was you enjoyed. Now, maybe you want to
up things from there. You might want to go longer,
you want to find a tougher race or maybe something that’s more scenic or go to a different location
which you could combine with a holiday or maybe flip
that around and you’ve decided you want to get some speed
back into your training and into your racing and
look for a shorter distance. You could even have your main
goal as something outside of triathlon, whether
that’s an ultramarathon or a big swim event. It really is going to be up
to you, but you’ve got to find something that gets you
excited, and remember to factor in other life commitments as well. Say a friend’s wedding, you
don’t want to double book a race with that, and you probably
don’t want to have a race just a week after your
family holiday, for example, and you might have problems
that you’re struggling to actually have enough
leave time left from work, but with that in mind, you
could even combine your race with a holiday. There are so many options
that are all going to be individual for you,
but taking the time out to really plan your season
and making sure you don’t have any disappointments and
have to cancel anything is certainly worth the time. (techno music) Once you’ve decided on that
key race or couple of races, the distance that it’s going to be, and when in the year it
falls, you could then work out the rest of your season
and any complementary events that you want to fit around it. Now here on GTN, we have
spoken about season structure in the past where you choose
that big race which we call the A race, and like I said,
it could be two of those, and then you might have a
few B races to help to work towards and complement it, and
then some other smaller races to fit around it which we call C races. Now, racing in itself
will help you to get fit ’cause naturally you’re going
to push yourself a bit harder than you would in training,
and that’s where the C races come in really handy
because you don’t need to taper for them. They’re just small events. They can even be individual
races, but they’ll help you to really find that top-end fitness, especially if you’ve
been working really hard in a long bulk of tough training. So B races are races that you choose to do in their own right, but
you have to make sure that they won’t detract
from the main goal. So it needs to be something
that obviously complements with that A race. So let’s say you’ve
chosen to do an Ironman, and you’re doing it in the
latter phase of the seasons. So maybe, say, August. Well, depending on where
your base fitness is now, you’ll need a bare minimum
of three months of training, but ideally a little bit
more so you can really build into it, and then to complement
that you could do, say, an Olympics distance
race or a half Ironman. Now, the advantage of a half Ironman, obviously it’s more similar
in its training style because it’s a longer
distance race, but that means you’ll need longer to recover after it. If you want to use an
Olympic race as your B race, then think of doing that
slightly earlier in the season so you can really do a good job of it and then you can start adding
more endurance later on as you build up towards the
Ironman, but on the flip side, there’s nothing to stop you
bringing a longer distance race earlier into the season,
say, doing a half Ironman or an Ironman in June, and then
planning another race later on in September, and that
could be maybe another Ironman or it could even be
something shorter and faster ’cause you’ll have that endurance base, you can then build the speed
on, but it really is key when you’re doing a big
race such as an Ironman that you make sure you
have enough recovery. You might feel fine to come
back and desperate to get back into racing, but if you don’t
give your body the chance to really recover from that,
you’ll find as you get closer to your second A race that
you won’t be able to find that top-end speed, and
by then it’ll be too late. So basically, with a few
months apart you can target two key races, or A races,
whatever you want to call them, and whether they’re the same
distance or maybe something that’s slightly different
as we talked about earlier, and if it helps you to
visualize then you could think of splitting your race season
into part A and part B, but making sure that
you’ve got the recovery and the plan in place. That really is important,
and then it’s back to that complementary race. So if you do want to
do different distances, I’d suggest either doing a
half Ironman and Ironman, putting them together, or doing
sprints and Olympic distance together, and then obviously
in the middle you could also do a half Ironman distance teamed with an Olympic distance race
which we’ve seen quite a few of the ITU pros doing
successfully this year. (upbeat music) That’s races sorted, so now
you need to build your training blocks around that and put them into place to complement those
goals, and like I said, hopefully you did take some
time out after the race season and looked at what went
well and what didn’t, so both in training and in
racing, and it could’ve been anything from maybe wanting
to work on your swim. It wasn’t quite where you
wanted it or the power on the bike was a little bit lacking. Maybe you weren’t happy
with your race weight or you’re struggling
with injuries on the run. Whatever it is, it’s
going to be very personal and there might be quite a few of them, but try to narrow it down to
just a maximum of two points, and then you can really focus in on them and put them into your
goals for this season. The preseason is a great time to address and start to work on these goals. Says it’s weight loss, well,
you want to start doing that now, not midway through
your race-specific training when you need the calories
to actually be able to train really hard. The same for weight training. It’s all going to take quite
a while to actually adapt and for your body to benefit from it, so the sooner you start that, the better, and then for swimming, well,
having a real breakdown of your stroke and getting some analysis, it’s best to do it now whilst
you’ve got a little bit more time, but obviously,
you want to carry on working through that throughout the
whole season, but the sooner you start to make these changes,
the more chance you have of getting them nailed by the
time it comes to race day. As for the type of training
that you need to structure in, we’ll start off by looking
at that first day race and then work backwards. So 12 weeks prior to that, you’re going to need that really
race-specific style of training and try and find a program
that you know suits you and will get your body
tuned, ready for race day, and then take back another
12 weeks ahead of that, and that’s your preseason
buildup and when you’re going to be doing that endurance work and really laying those foundations. So a lot of longer bits of
training and also strength work as well, but still remember
to keep in some faster stuff as that will keep you mentally stimulated, but also address all
aspects of your fitness, and anything that you do now
will really help later on. You won’t be able to catch
up on that valuable time that you put in. So strength and conditioning
becomes really important, and then the other aspect
you need to consider is the recovery, both from
training and from racing. So if it’s a big training
block or you’ve done a B race, you’ll need some recovery time
’cause that’s when your body actually adapts and gets stronger, and then if you’re looking
at actually recovering from an A race, if it’s,
say, an Ironman, you’ll need at least two months before you race again, and if you’re planning
another Ironman distance race in the season, then I’d recommend having at least three months in between. (upbeat music) Making a season plan is
great for your motivation for working out your
diary with your friends and your family, and ultimately for getting that best
performance on race day. All of this said though, do
keep an open mind when it comes to your season and be
prepared to adapt as you go ’cause you never know. You might take longer
to recover from a race or you might have some
illness that gets in the way or maybe you start performing
really well on the bike and decide you need to focus
a little bit more on your run, but once you’ve got the plan
in place, you know it’s there, you can fall back on it, and
you can just adapt as you go, but for me, I must say it’s
all about that motivation and talking of which, I
think I need to actually go and start to plan my season
and commit a little bit to paper, but hopefully
this has motivated you and you guys are now out
there planning your A, B, and maybe even C races. Well, let us know what
you’ve got in the diary and give us a thumbs up
like if you’ve enjoyed this. Hit the globe to subscribe,
and if you want some tips for strength and
conditioning for triathletes, it’s a great time of
year to get into that. You can find that video just down here, and if you want to know how
to structure a swim workout, we’ve got some tips
for you just over here.

8 comments on “Triathlon Race Planning Guide | How To Plan Your Season

  1. Training plans for races, if you are in decent shape, should typically start 3 months prior? I'm doing Olympic distance triathlon in August followed by marathon in October

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