Q: There are so many races to choose from these days, and I want to do them all. Is there anything wrong with that? Won’t that just make me a better triathlete?
Unleashed Puppy, Yazoo City, La.
“Over-racing is the one of the biggest problems I see with beginners,” says Jennifer Fritzsching-Rulon, a top triathlon coach and kinesiologist in San Antonio, Texas. “They’re often Type A and just go all in, wanting to race every race they can, racing five, six or more times in a season.” The problem, says Fritzsching-Rulon, is that doing too much, too soon wears down the body. “At the end of the year they ask, ‘Why haven’t I improved?’ They simply overdid it in their first season.” Fritzsching-Rulon counsels her athletes to use “good-old periodization” and cut their racing schedules in half, allowing more time for adequate training and peaking. Joe Friel, triathlon coach and author of The Triathlete’s Training Bible, says that setting a clear and simple goal is a far superior approach than just running and gunning it. “If you don’t set a goal and make a plan, you won’t know where you want to go,” Friel says. “Then you’re lost. You’re not training—you’re just playing. Even if it ends up that the plan was wrong, you’ll still be far better off than the triathlete who didn’t set a goal. And you’ll have learned something.”