Planning your triathlon season
By Andy Gardner, Dec 15 2016 09:53PM
This is a great time of the year to sit down and plan your season. This first weekly blog post covers some thoughts and ideas on planning your tri season.
First of all think about what your goals are for the next season. Make sure you set goals that stretch you, but are achievable. Your goals should also be ones that you can control – e.g. don’t set a goal of winning the national championships – you can’t control who enters that race nor how well they race.
Look at what went well last season and identify why – keep on doing those things! Also, examine what didn’t go so well - what can you do differently this year to improve on those things? These changes should start to form your training objectives for the coming season. Remember – you will race how you train, and if you keep training the same you will keep racing the same.
Prioritize the races you will do. Your “A” Priority races are the ones that you are really aiming to achieve your goals in. These are the races that all your training is leading towards and are the races that you will aim to peak for. Ideally you should only have 2 or possibly 3 “A” Priority races a season, this is due to the time it takes to recover from and then re-build for an “A” race. Your “B” Priority races will be those that are important to you and that you want to do well in and that you may do a small taper for. You may aim for up to six “B” Priority races a year. Your “C” priority races will be used as training races, gaining experience etc. You wouldn’t typically look to peak (or taper) for these races, nor expect stunning performances.
Try to phase your training as described below, working back from your first “A” priority race. Typically the Base1, Base 2.... Build 1 etc. training cycles are 4 weeks in duration with the last week being a recovery week. The base or general preparation period is where intensity is (comparatively) low and volume increases to be highest during the Base 3 period. The whole Base phase is approximately 12 weeks, made up of three 4 week blocks. Next comes Build phase, two 4 week blocks - 8 weeks in total. Following the Build phase is the Peak Phase of about 2 weeks and then the Race or Competition phase which can last up to 3 weeks. As you work through the training plan after the base period, the volume of training decreases but intensity increases. As you progress your training it gets more and more specific to the race you are targeting, typically including brick and race pace specific sessions.
Group sessions are great for motivation and camaraderie so plan your training to include club and/or group sessions. As you get towards more specific training make sure you are doing the training you need to do and not somebody else’s – don’t get sucked into a testosterone packed effort if you are supposed to going long and steady!
Finally, plan your training around what you enjoy – it makes things seem so much easier!