Nov. 4, 2016

As race season quickly comes to a close 
you might be already thinking about how you want to approach 2017.  It’s time to look at the year(s) past and set some goals forward.  Part of this process is designing your race season.  There is really no right or wrong in planning a race schedule as long as you are smart about your racing strategies.  It’s important to decide if you want to train for great fitness and compete in several events throughout year, or on the other hand, you might have a busy schedule that doesn’t allow much time off and you have to pick onesy-twosy races to chase down PRs.  Whichever type of athlete you are, make a few rough drafts of your tentative plan, talk it over with your coach and family, and decided how you will make your race season a success.

After off-season 
Take a little time to get back into the groove of training and build your base.  The worst thing you can do is to go out too hard or put in too much time too soon, allowing the chance for injury or burnout mid-season.  Run in your local 5k or 10k Turkey Trot as a good way of giving yourself a baseline.  Not only will this be fun, but also you’ll have less of an expectation of yourself knowing this is just a test.  Then throughout the off-season, you can try a few short run races, or improve your mountain bike or cross-cycling skills.  The important thing is to stay fit and reintroduce the fundamentals of your sport at this time.

Decide which type of racer you want to be 
For the upcoming season, do you want to qualify for Kona or Boston?  Do you want to participate in several races and earn AWA status?  Do you want to race well, but prioritize your non-athletic life better?  Do you want to complete your first Ironman?  I always like to write out a long list of races throughout the year and submit them to my coach. Then over a few emails or phone calls together we can decide which races we will hit as the key races, which ones I will be sort of rested for, and which ones I shouldn’t expect much from.  After a few attempts you will hopefully have a solid schedule and be ready to set some goals.

Choose a race for your season “kick-off”
Play to this like you want to put in a lot of effort, break out of the winter funk and dust off cobwebs.  Start sharpening your skills through early spring for a strong finish.  If training for long distance races, you might want to throw in some Olympic or Sprint races here and there to mentally and physically tune your body up for the key race.  These will help you practice transitions, fine tune some of those racing fibers, and get you excited about the big day.

Peak for your key races
By dividing your training into the right cycles you will feel fresh and loose at the necessary peaks of training.  All races need appropriate recovery time, so work this into the week(s) following each race.  With appropriate recovery periods you’ll be ready to hit the key sessions in training once again come the latter half of the year.  

Factor in life balance 
If you are a tax agent, you might want to consider that March through April might not be the best time of the year to get the most out of training.  If your son is a high school football player, then early September though October might be a tough time to get in a lot of peak workouts.  Consider what your busy life has to offer you and work your race schedule around it.  How much time is realistically allowed in your daily and weekly schedule to train?  Over-scheduling yourself can lead to big race disasters and disappointments, so feel free to be choosy.

Race planning can be fun and exciting
If you haven’t chosen goals, races, or a coach for the 2017 season yet, now is the time. Check out our coach profiles and decide who might be a great match for you. 






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