Break out the calendar and get ready for an exciting 2016 season.
There is a time of year for training and a time for playing. Ideally, you’ll soon be wrapping up an adventurous and rejuvenating play season during which you shunned written training schedules, and your workouts were deemed successful based on sheer fun versus time spent at lactate threshold.
Training season is almost here, soon to be followed by racing, so now is a great time to get out your calendar and make a proactive plan for several rewarding months of triathlon fun.
Choosing your races
Begin by selecting one or two “A” races, which require a full taper, peak and recovery period—up to a full month in total. Register and commit the money, then write them in ink on your calendar. I suggest prioritizing a date that allows enough lead-up time with good weather in order to be well prepared with minimal anxiety. Also, be sure there are no major work projects or family obligations in the month or two leading up to an “A” race.
Add in two to four “B” races, which may be shorter, less expensive or closer to home. Plan on a shorter taper leading to the race (as little as a few days), but be sure to recover from the race thoroughly before resuming full intensity training.
A “C” race may be done in place of a scheduled hard workout, and therefore will not have any taper at all, aka “training through” the race. C races can often provide an even better training stimulus than a solo workout given the competitive environment, so sprinkle in as many of these as you like and can afford. Expand your C race schedule by including single-sport events like 5Ks, swim meets or bike races (hill climbs or time trials are best for triathletes). If cycling is your weakness, use your train-through races as an opportunity to test your bike fitness. Set ambitious goals for your bike portion and treat the run as an easy training day.
Plan a week-long break: If your race schedule permits, try to break up your season into two halves separated by a week of play time. You’ll approach the second half with a refreshed body and mind, and likely nail the training necessary for a peak performance at your final A race.