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  • Feb

    How to Plan a Triathlon Season

    by Evan Rudd, 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: xx@yy.zz
    William Randall
    5 years ago.
    Me and my team the Pink Flamingos are training for Atlantic City 70.3.
    Yuval gad
    5 years ago.
    the Santa Cruz superkid triathlon in October
    William Randall
    5 years ago.
    Me and the rest of the Pink Flamingos are training for Atlantic City 70.3 in Sept.
    5 years ago.
    I'm training for the 2016 Long Course World Championships in September in Oklahoma City.
    Meg Wolsiffer
    5 years ago.
    I'm training for my first Sprint Triathlon in Muncie this May!
    Caitlyn Madsen
    5 years ago.
    I am doing my first Olympic Tri at the Middle O' Mit Tri in Harrison, MI.
    Dane Lotspeich
    5 years ago.
    Santa Barbara Tri
    5 years ago.
    I am training for the NYC Tri this year. It holds the title for my worst race ever. Time for some retribution!
    Franklin Lewis
    5 years ago.
    I am training for Mont Tremblant 70.3, June 26, 2016. I am a neophyte and need all the help I can get. I learned to swim 4 years ago and continue strive to be more efficient.

    Love Swimoutlet!!!
    5 years ago.
    My A race will be the Lake Meridian Triathlon in Kent, WA. Keeping it local!
    Lori Gillespie
    5 years ago.
    Wilmington NC 70.3 October 22
    5 years ago.
    Columbia Triathlon - Columbia, MD!
    Cynthia Wells
    5 years ago.
    My A race will be my first sprint distance. I will be turning 60 this year andfor my birthday I plan to do the Islip, NY Sprint tri. My 50's were for marathons - 2 NYC finishes, my 60's are for Tri's and open water swimming.
    Russ B.
    5 years ago.
    5 years ago.
    First triathlon, TriOneOn - 500m swim, 10.5 mile bike and 5K run - not sure how I'll do or whether I'll like it but at least I'm going to TriOneOn :-)
    Lori Gillespie
    5 years ago.
    Wilmington, nc 70.3 October 22
    Nate Davis
    5 years ago.
    I have 2 "A" races this year. The Great Cheasapeake Bay Swim 4.5 Miler in June, and Ironman Maryland in October. My training is on track, and I'm incredibly excited for both!
    Ken Clark
    5 years ago.
    A Race is Pat Griskus Sprint Triathlon in Middlebury CT.
    Laura Robertson
    5 years ago.
    Sri Chin Moy 37th Self Trancendence Triathlon in Victoria BC. This is Canada's longest running triathlon. :)
    Zachary B.
    5 years ago.
    My "A" race is Ironman 70.3 in Syracuse. My first tri!
    5 years ago.
    Training for my first triathlon this summer! I'd love this suit to start training early! My A race will be the cranberry trifest in MA! So excited :)
    5 years ago.
    First sprint Tri in Lake Tahoe
    Heather Wuebker
    5 years ago.
    IM Muncie 70.3 July 9, 2016- my first half IM! Whoop Whoop!!
    Kate L
    5 years ago.
    I am training for the Richmond Sprint Tri in April... Just a couple of months away!
    Amanda Reed
    5 years ago.
    My husband and I are signed up for the Lake George Triathlon at the end of the summer.
    Displaying   201 - 225 of 249
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