10/29/16

Planning your 2017 race season


Cheers to your 2016 season!
If you haven't started already, it's time to start thinking about your 2017 year of racing.

When it comes to season planning, there are typically two types of athletes who fail with season planning.

Athlete 1 - signs up for races without any thought as to the season as a whole. A race is open, looks "fun", wants redemption from racing it in the past or knows other athletes who are racing the same event are all typical responses as to how athletes plan their races. There's little thought as to the logistics and timing of these races and many times.

Athlete 2 - So overwhelmed, doesn't like to plan or commit and just waits to register when the timing is right (typically, races close and the athlete has to find other options). 

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With so many races to choose from and so much unpredictability in life, you may be overwhelmed with the thought of having to register for races, book hotels/flights and ask time off work, so far in advance.
We understand that your mind and body may be exhausted from your last season of racing and that it may be difficult to think about your 2017 goals right now, let alone planning your racing schedule, but as a performance-driven athlete, careful consideration of your races will allow you to not only peak appropriately for your key races but you will find yourself developing as the season progresses. 

A common mistake is for athletes to only train for one race at a time. Example, Half IM in May  - Starting on January 1st, I am training for Ironman ______ for the next 5 months. Ironman in August - from January 1st until August, I will be training only for my Ironman.
In order to ensure smooth development throughout your season, your focus can not be on one race. Sure, you may want to excel at that race or it may be a high priority race but this thinking does not foster long lasting performance gains. Generally, athletes get too fit too fast and can not maintain that fitness throughout the season. Or the opposite, they try to train too hard for too long and get burnt out or injured and can't peak appropriately.

Many athletes have a tendency to become hyper focused on training and racing and ultimately, every race on the schedule becomes a key priority race (with too much pressure to be very fit for every race). The athlete races too hard, too often and the athlete is unable to properly recover from each race and maintain consistency in training. Consequently, when the athlete needs to really commit to peak training for the real key race of the season, the body is exhausted.

Or the opposite happens – an athlete doesn’t race enough and too much pressure is placed on the one or two races on the schedule (ex. Ironman in September and only 1 or 2 races prior) and sadly, the athlete lacks the necessary mental and physical skills that are needed to perform well on race day because great racing is built on prior racing experience.

A haphazard approach to selecting races (start too early/late, finish too early) combined with an “all-in” training attitude can often leave you needing an extended off-season, and you may struggle to transfer your accumulated fitness from one season to the next.

In my next few blogs, I will help you properly plan your 2017 season of racing/training. 

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Here's a look at my tentative season of racing (and a few other events):

March 19th - Great Clermont Olympic triathlon (concluding our 4-day Trimarni all-level Clermont, FL training camp)

April 9th - IM Haines City 70.3 (Haines City, FL)

May 6th - IM St. George 70.3 (St. George, Utah) - Key Race

May 21st - Mountains to Main Street Half IM (Greenville, SC)

May 26-28th - Trimarni skills camp (Greenville)

June 22-26th - Trimarni endurance training camp (Greenville, SC)

August 6th - Lake Logan Half IM (Canton, NC) - Key Race

August - Purple Patch Fitness East Coast camp (Greenville, SC)

August 30-Sept 3rd - Trimarni advanced training camp (Greenville, SC)

September 9th - IM 70.3 World Championship (pending qualification at IM St George) - Key Race

October - Hincapie Gran Fondo (80-mile cycling event)

Even though my early season half, St. George 70.3, is a key race where I hope to qualify for IM 70.3 WC in September, I am not expecting myself to be in peak racing shape. While I will be strong and fit, I will not detour my entire summer of development simply to ensure that I am in my very best race shape in May. It is important that I go through all my developmental stages of training in November - May to help me maintain great resilience throughout the entire summer of training and racing.
Also, as I have mentioned in past blogs, after 3 consecutive years of IM racing (6 Ironmans), I will be taking an intentional break from IM racing to focus on the half IM distance so that I can race more and fine-tune my skills and advance my fitness. This is all with the intention that in 2018, I will return to IM racing with better skills, resilience, strength and fitness. Speed is all relative but I do hope to get "faster" this season.