“A” Race Selection

Sunday, February 5, 2017 by Coach Tommy

It’s early triathlon season.  You may have already planned your season or perhaps you’re just now getting around to planning your upcoming tri season.  You are probably considering your “A” race in addition to other lower priority races.  What factors or criteria should you consider when planning your “A” race?

First, let’s define what is an “A” race is.  An “A” race is a top priority race.  Your entire training program will focus on having you at Peak fitness for this “A” race.

What should you consider when deciding on an “A” race?

How many “A” races?:
I recommend athletes have only one or two “A” races during a triathlon season.  The main reason for this is that your training plan building up to an “A” race can take 20 weeks or more depending on the athlete’s starting fitness and the race distance.  In addition, you can only maintain peak fitness for a week or two.  For more on peak and taper, check out this article titled Peak and Taper.  After your “A” race you’ll need some time to recover from that “A” race effort.  If you add up the weeks, it becomes apparent that there aren’t enough weeks in the season to successfully have more than about 2 “A” races.  Of course, there are exceptions to this rule.

Select an “A” race that you can train for:
Does your local training terrain match the “A” race terrain?  Signing up for a mountainous race but you only have flat terrain to train on may not provide optimum training grounds.  Is the “A” race an early season race?  Early season races mean training through the winter when cold weather may prevent any outdoor training.  Do you have enough time to train?  If you have only 8 hours a week to train, signing up for an Ironman distance race probably isn’t the best idea.

Consider your family and friends:
Selecting an “A” race that is a “destination trip” may be a way to get your family and friends involved.  Plan to stay a few days after your “A” destination race and enjoy a vacation with your family.  This could be a nice Thank You to your family for supporting you during your training and racing.

Consider your tri club’s team races or friends’ races:
It’s always more fun to train with other athletes.  Your tri club’s races can also be your “A” races.  Or your tri friends’ “A” races can also be your “A” races.  Then you’ll have some athletes to swim, bike and run with during your journey to your “A” race.

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