Planning Your Race Calendar
Planning your race calendar at the end of each season is quite commonplace for athletes. You may reflect on last season’s achievements, look for improvements, challenging events or a change in direction. Whatever you decide, consider including several preparation or training races to help you prepare for the goal race. In triathlon, we call this your B or C races to prepare for your A race.
Training Races or C Races
Training races are likely to be local fun runs, cycling races, open water swims, swim meets etc. They are included in a calendar as fun, but competitive training sessions. These can be used to practice a race plan, nutrition or to experience a race day scenario or competitive environment and practice mental preparation and coping techniques.
Preparation Races or B Races
Preparation races should assist you in preparing for your goal race. For example, doing a half marathon in isolation before doing a half distance triathlon. These are races where you will not be fully rested or tapered. Given your specific preparation for the A race, you may still race well and even PB.
Some athletes prefer to only do 1-2 preparation races before a goal or A race. Usually this is for financial or logistical/time management reasons. Be strategic when selecting these races as you may only have 1-2 opportunities to practice everything before your goal race. Consider whether the race will truly provide an opportunity to practice your race plan, nutrition or simulate your goal race conditions.
Busy Racing Calendar
Other athletes will want to race every weekend. Be mindful of overall training volume and injury management when planning a busy race calendar. Athletes who race a lot are also exposed to numerous different scenarios which may crop up in a race. Things like nutrition/hydration errors, flat tyre, extreme weather conditions and varying race tactics. This is to the athletes benefit if managed correctly. With more experience comes more confidence in your ability to cope with issues on race day. Just be mindful that you will not be tapered for every single race and therefore may not be at your best.
- Select preparation or training races to help with your goal race
- Consider racing more often to increase exposure to racing situations
- Remember the purpose of the race and mentally prepare accordingly