As a coach, this is the time of year I have athletes coming to me to help them plan out their seasons. Some athletes have already chosen and registered for a goal race. Others know they want to step up to a longer distance but aren’t sure what would be a suitable first race. Others are looking to qualify for world championships. So how do you go about picking races?
Many athletes will end up registering for races that their friends or training partners are doing. Especially if these athletes are members of a triathlon club. I see this all the time with the Toronto Triathlon Club. I think this is great as it really fosters the feeling of community, as well as providing training and traveling partners. If you don’t have this sort of network, or choose to do your own thing, here are a few things you should consider when picking your goal race.
Terrain: If you live the Prairies, then picking a race like Mont Tremblant or Muskoka might not be the best choice if you’re not used to climbing. Yes, it’s possible to train for this sort of terrain inside on a trainer but, I know I would find that to be really boring. And for me, boring = a loss of motivation to train.
Ocean, Lake or River: If you’re a confident swimmer, then any body of water will probably be fine. If you’re less confident then a river swim might be a better option. My first and second 70.3 swims were in rivers and that really helped alleviate stress about being “far away” from shore in case something happened. Think about what’s available to you to train in and go from there.
Flying or Driving: How far you’re willing to go to race will either limit your possibilities or make the possibilities endless. Flying to a race will present a whole different set of variables that you probably won’t have to deal with if you’re driving. Driving to a race allows you to bring extra of pretty much everything whereas with flying, you are a bit more limited in what you can bring with you. If you are an athlete that likes to control as much as possible heading into a race, then driving may be a better option for you.
Goals: If you are looking to snag a qualifying spot for either Kona or the 70.3 World Champs then you’re going to want to be more strategic about picking your goal race. If Kona is your goal then find a race that plays to your strengths as an athlete and then hope that you’re the fastest in your AG on the day. 70.3 WC spots are a little easier to come by as the destination changes every year. When the WC came to Tremblant in 2014, I raced Luxembourg 70.3 and they were pretty much giving away spots. The guys we were sitting with at the awards said that most Europeans won’t travel to do the 70.3 WC, they only really care about Kona. I know at Lake Placid 70.3 the spot in my AG rolled down to 20thfor the WC in South Africa. So the bottom line, if you’re trying to qualify for a World Championship, pick a race that plays to your strengths and go crush it.
~ Coach PK