Spring race season is on the horizon! Do you have goals of racing a new distance, a new event, or setting a personal best? With so many options year-round and world-wide, it can become overwhelming to plan the perfect race season. Now is a great time to meet with your coach to help you choose appropriate races to support your goals, and develop a program to help you achieve those goals.
Below are some basic guidelines (the 5 P’s) to planning your race season.
PRIORITIZE. Before you select races, it’s important to look at your personal calendar. Look ahead and consider your travel plans, work commitments and family commitments. You want to select races that work around those and don’t add too much additional stress to your life.
PICK. Now it’s time to pick your “A” race for the season. Your “A” race is the race that is most important to you. This race should excite you and maybe even make you slightly nervous about reaching your goal. Make sure this goal is realistic for you given your current fitness level and the time you have to train for the event.
PLAN. After selecting your “A” race, your coach can work with you to design your training plan. How long will it take and how is the program structured to hit your goals at your “A” race? Your coach can help you safely build endurance and fitness to be ready to execute your best on race day.
PRACTICE. As you plan your season, you can look at supplemental “B” races that will help boost your fitness and support your training. “B” races also help you practice your race preparation and learn what works for fueling and equipment. It’s important that you take into consideration the intensity of the race and adjust that week of training accordingly. You don’t need a full taper, but it is good to reduce volume and/or intensity during the week leading into the race. Again, coaches can be instrumental in this process!
For additional racing practice, you can select some “C” races. These are races that you choose for fun, but it is still important to make sure they work within your program. “C” races are best at the beginning of a training cycle to boost excitement for training. As you near your “A” race, you should be more focused on race specific training.
PLAY. Every race season needs a recovery period. This is the time to allow yourself a physical and mental break from training. You can (and should!) be active, but try some new activities and make sure they are fun and energizing for you. It’s important that these activities are relatively low intensity to allow your body to fully recover from your intense training. Enjoy the break from a schedule and embrace the time to PLAY! You’ll be refreshed and ready to start planning your next race season!