It’s April-- The triathlon season is starting and it’s finally time for me to solidify my race schedule for the year. This has proven difficult in 2012, partly because of the dynamic needs of Olympic qualification, and partly because… no, that sums it up. Qualifying for the Olympics is much more difficult in triathlon than a time standard based sport like swimming. The process has me choosing races as I go in order to secure enough points and ensure that I’m on the start line at Olympic Trials in May. Even now my start is not guaranteed, so my race schedule is still more tentative than I would like it to be.
So to combat the uncertainty, I’ve assumed that everything will go right, and written a plan that will get me to Olympic Trials feeling my best, where I will qualify for the US Team and spend the summer preparing for London by racing World Cups in Europe and hardening my stomach to English Breakfast Tea. That’s Plan A.
Then, I came up with another schedule, where I’m focused on domestic races like the Lifetime Fitness Series, 5150, Rev3, Tri-California, and Ironman 70.3 Series. Not all of them, obviously, just the best races that each has to offer. This schedule in Plan A and Plan B is awesome! Plan B has me racing 15 times all over the US against the best non-drafting athletes around. If Plan A doesn’t happen (qualifying for the Olympics) then Plan B will keep me both busy and challenged.Here is my step-by-step guide to creating a race schedule for the season:
- Create a spreadsheet with all the possible races on it, sorted chronologically by weekend.
- Figure out how many races you are able and want to participate in. It’s nice to include your significant other on this step.
- Go through and choose the best race from every weekend with more than one race.
- Find the races you definitely want to do and highlight them.
- If any of the highlighted races require qualification, make sure the qualifying race is highlighted.
- If you have too many races, remove some that you don’t “need” to do. Start with the ones you didn’t highlight, then the ones on bad weekends (do you really want to race on your wife’s birthday?) then take off any race with a course that just doesn’t suit you.
- Continue removing races until you have only the number of races that you chose in step 2.
- Present this list to your family and ask for objections, then present to your coach.
- Last, be flexible. Plans change. Injuries happen, family stuff crops up. Racing should be part of a fun and active life, not an obstacle in it.
Hopefully this helps. Happy racing.