How to Plan a Triathlon Season
by Evan Rudd, SwimOutlet.com Triathlon Team
If you’re thinking about jumping into a triathlon this year, a little planning will go a long way toward making sure you’re rested and ready to tackle a multi-sport event. Whether your goal is simply to finish your first triathlon or claim a spot on the podium, tailoring your training to peak at your target race is critical.
Pick Your Races
Most triathletes will peak for one or two races a year, meaning they will enter the race fully rested after months of hard training for a specific course. For example, if the course features an abundance of hills, it would be wise to practice running and biking on hills more often than flat roads and trails. These peak races are also called “A” races and are the most important events on your calendar. Your training plan should be focused on these events and most triathletes will schedule their A race four to 12 months away. It’s helpful to work backwards once you’ve picked your A race to make ensure you show up on race day in the best shape possible.
You can use additional events as “B” races that will help simulate race conditions. The difference between an A race and B race is the amount of rest you take before the event. For example, you want to enter an A race fully rested in order to turn in your best performance. You may “train through” a B race, thinking about it more as a hard workout than an actual race. Even with this mindset, it’s still important to take time to recover from hard efforts.
Periodization Training Method
The periodization method of training involves specific types of training to meet a desired goal. This is a very broad definition, but this method is designed to build your body’s ability to handle specific loads that increase over time. Equally important to the stress you put on your body is the amount of rest you take to recover. The amount and type of rest you need will depend on your level of fitness and intensity of your training plan. You may need several rest days a week if you’re just starting out, or one rest day a month if you have a strong athletic background. Wherever you’re starting, it is imperative to incorporate planned rest into your training plan. Think about each week and month as its own training block. You need to plan rest days within your week and rest weeks within each month. This will help you avoid the plateau effect, which occurs when you do the same training load for an extended period without much variation.
A taper is a period of rest before an event designed to help you perform at your absolute best. As a general rule, the longer the race the longer the taper. Some Ironman athletes begin their taper three weeks before their race, decreasing training volume significantly each week. For an Olympic or sprint distance triathlon, you may only need a day or two of rest before your race. Tapering is also an important part of your mental preparation because it allows you to reflect on all the hard work you’ve done simply to get to the start line of your race. This positive reflection can yield huge payoffs and will increase your confidence allowing you to fully enjoy your race. This is especially important when considering that the true winner is not the person who crosses the line first, but the person who has the most fun!
Win an Orca 3.8 Wetsuit!
To enter for a chance to win an Orca 3.8 Wetsuit, simply tell us what "A" race you are training for this year in the comments below and you'll be entered. One entry per person. Must be received by 11:59pm on February 29. One winner selected at random.Email Address Invalid. Please enter an email address in the format: email@example.comMark
5 years ago.Atlantic City in September 70.3Jackalope
5 years ago.Texasman Triathlon @Lake Ray Roberts, 3rd weekend in May... it would be nice to have a wetsuit.Roberta
5 years ago.Skylands TriJonas Berenkowski
5 years ago.The Sunrise Side Triathlon on Saturday September 10 in Tawas, MI.Jennifer Golden
5 years ago.Great White North 1/2 Ironman in Julyjack
5 years ago.attempting ironman 70.3 california oceanside wish me luck!John
5 years ago.going for ironman 70.3 california oceanside .Leon
5 years ago.I am training for the ironman 70.3 california oceanside . my first one ever...this suit would help out a lot I think.Ciril H
5 years ago.Taking the plunge and trying the "tri" thing out this year. Doing a couple of sprints and then the olympic distance at the Cranberry Trifest as my "A" race in August. Wish me luck!Kylee
5 years ago.Psyched to do my first tri in 2016! Starting with a sprint in July to help me get me ready for my "A" race in August: The Cranberry Trifest olympic distance in Lakeville, MA.Sarah Rosenberry
5 years ago.I am training for my very first triathlon! I have entered the Sodus Point Triathlon in August. I started getting back in the pool in December and went from having a full-on panic attack (apparently being in the water after a loooong hiatus was traumatic) to swimming twice a week and training with a local triathlete group. I just purchased my first bike (thank you, Craigslist) and am looking forward to hitting the road when the weather turns warmer. I am terrified, yet excited to be tackling this new challenge!tolo
5 years ago.Training for olympic distance at either Best in the West or Columbia River.DBeveridge
5 years ago.I've got 2 sprints, 2 olympics, 3 open water splash n dashes, a half Ironman in Flagstaff, and finally, the real deal, Ironman Az Tempe in November. Lovin it!Leah
5 years ago.Sharon mini tri- first time!Wesley
5 years ago.Key West,i swim in the Ocean at Ft Zach BeachWesley
5 years ago.Key West,i swim almost everyday in the Ocean at Ft.Zachary BeachTim C.
5 years ago.My first Olympic distance: Wasaga Beach Triathlon!Jason Z
5 years ago.SavageMan 100.0 in McHenry MD! Complete consecutive sprint and olympic distances followed by a half on sunday. The terrain is very hilly which makes for a challenging weekend. Get your name on a brick in the road if you ride up the Westernport Wall (30%) without falling.Steven
5 years ago.Ironman Mont TremblantLarry hughes
5 years ago.1/2 ironman ChattanoogaMike Schreiber
5 years ago.Boulder Ironman on 8/7 - first full ironmanColette
5 years ago.Vineman 70.3Katie
5 years ago.I am training for a recertification for Water front lifeguardAdam
5 years ago.Fall island lake tri sprint distanceKayla
5 years ago.Just a local oneAdd a Comment
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