Go Triathlete

The Keys to Planning a Successful Triathlon Season

As the new year is upon us, it’s really time to start planning for races in 2012, and that also means prioritizing races into A,B, and C categories.  It’s great to start the season with an A race, maybe 2 if they are far apart, and thus a big goal that everything else you decide will feed into.


A-races are the events that you are the most important to you, perhaps a Boston Qualifier, World Championships Qualifier, etc. (or the Boston Marathon, or USAT World Championships!)  A-races get your full attention, meaning complete peak phase of training and taper.  Performance at A-races are your number one goal.  


B-races really set up the A-races, so they could be shorter distances (doing a 70.3 in prep for a full Ironman) or have a single focus in preparation for a multi-sport event (10k race in prep for an Olympic distance triathlon).   While results are important for B-races, they aren’t the most important aspect.  You may use these races to focus on nutrition, transitions, as well as getting clothing and gear dialed in.  You may focus on one element of a multi-sport event (i.e. go “easy” on swim/run and try to push the bike especially hard). Generally, you won’t taper as long or peak for a B-race, but instead, approach it as you would an important training day.


C-races should be fun and fit into a regular training regimen.   There won’t be a taper or recovery period per say, just a low pressure event like a 5k run, sprint triathlon, or cross race.  Results here are meaningless and the key aspect becomes enjoyment and maybe playing around with different equipment, nutrition strategies, or clothing choices where it won’t hurt that much if things aren’t perfect.  

Season Planning

All three types of races are important and should be planned early.  Once the event schedule is planned out, then you can work backward to starting date and organize the micro-cycles that will go into your training.  Make sure to factor in travel as well since it will interrupt the normal schedule.  Always easier to plan a run block or recovery week during a week-long business trip than to try to get a bunch or swimming and biking in on the road!  

All great athletes have a plan going into the season.  The better the plan is laid out and the more successful you are at staying within the framework of that plan, the better their chances of a successful season.  There are so many variables in racing are out of our control that it really helps to take charge of the elements of your season that you can control.  While you may not consider yourself a great athlete, it certainly doesn’t mean that you can’t borrow the easy elements of their training plans!  Best of luck drawing out your 2012 calendar…