Planning a Triathletes Racing Season

In the last few years, triathlon has become more and more popular. A lot of people join the sport for fun and are happy competing in a short course triathlon. Also, lots of people get fascinated by the challenge of completing an ironman, or any long course triathlon in general. No matter your goals - chances are, you're putting a lot of time into your training and achieving said goals. Chances also are, you're not (yet) paying for a coach and structure your training by your own experience. There's nothing wrong with that, but there are a few pitfalls to avoid. In this post, I'll try to cover the most important steps to consider when planning your own triathlon season.

Athletes profile

First of all - every athlete is individual. You can't create one training plan and expect it to return top-results for every triathlete. I'm trying to keep this post as generalized as possible, but you might have to adjust minor details to your personal needs. Start your planning by getting an overview of your physiological stats, outside factors and personal goals for the season.

To myself: I'm born in June 1996, so right now (11/2020) I'm 24 years old. I'm 183cm tall and weigh about 73kg. Racing weight should be somewhat aroung 68-70kg. My current body fat percentage is ~11% and I'd like to get it to sub 10 throughout the winter. I'm working full time, so the best time for any long sessions is on the weekend. Usually, I have a roadbike, TT and MTB available, optionally on a tacx neo 2 indoor trainer. There's a gym I can use close to my appartement, also a public pool (25m) and a lake for open water swimming (probably best from april-october, I'd recommend a wetsuit tough).

My main goal (A-Race) in 2021 is the IRONMAN 70.3 Kraichgau, Germany on June 6th. I have a preparation race coming up in early may, the IRONMAN 70.3 Venice-Jesolo. Regarding performance, I'm not really sure about my goals yet. These two will be my first middle-distance triathlons and the competition will be very hard, especially in kraichgau. Tough, I can definitely say that I'd like to finish kraichgau with a sub 1:30 halfmarathon and a sub 35 minute swim. My second high-priority race is the Berlin Marathon, where I'm planning to run a sub 3 and hopefully qualify for the boston marathon. I'm also signed up for the middle distance at the zugspitz ultratrail, a 64km trail race, which is just about two weeks after kraichgau. It will be for fun tough, nothing too competitive here.

That's it for now with planned races for the season so far, I might add a halfmarathon or two as preparation for Berlin or the IRONMAN races tough.

Planning the season

If you've written down your plans (seriously, that helps), it's time to get started with the actual planning. To be honest, I'm a bit late with that. Usually, november first is kind of the inofficial season start for triathletes. However, I just started my offseason and will have around two weeks left to recover. You might have to adjust accordingly.

A Triathletes training season is usually split into several parts:

  • Base (I-III)
  • Build (I, II)
  • Peak
  • Race
  • Recover
  • Offseason