TRIplans Adding Multiple Races to the plan
Planning Multiple Races
You have a rough idea of which races you would like to do and you have decided that a TRIplan might be the best way to help you achieve your goals.
There are millions of different combinations out there that you or any athlete could conceive, it could be as simple as one sprint triathlon and another sprint triathlon 12 weeks later or it could be back to back long distance races or a middle distance race then a standard distance race 5 weeks later and then another middle distance race 2 weeks after that. So rather than attacking an innumerable amount of combinations I will start with some recommended combinations.
Build Races ('B' Races)
The most useful combinations are having races as stepping stones to a longer race so sprint to standard, standard to middle and middle to long. In each of these instances a race at the end of the Build period is the ideal time. It can even form another final test session to see where you are at and ensure you purchase the right level of Competition Phase to complete your TRIplan.
Cycles of Training
The plans work on cycle of 4 weeks, 3 weeks of training and one week easier. It therefore goes that for a training race it is better placed at the end of a third week to allow adaptation and recovery in the fourth week. However this may lead to a slight underperformance as you would effectively be training through the race with no taper. I have seen many athletes surprise themselves in these situations. Often because their fatigue leads them to pace appropriately and takes some of the aggression and ego out of their race.
It is important to remember that both testing sessions and preparation races are important parts of your training as well. They are dress rehearsals so that you are ready to go and well practiced when it gets round to your 'A' Race for the year.
If you want to perform at your peak, say for a qualifying race this would be better placed at the end of a fourth week, however you would have to allow for active recovery from the race and reduce intensity and duration where necessary in the following first week of the four week cycle.
Post race planning and recovery
In terms of recovery a rule of thumb that I have found to be surprisingly accurate and useful over my years of racing and coaching is to take one easier active recovery day for every mile run during the triathlon. So rounding this up to account for a bit of transition running and the cycling that means four days for sprint, seven for standard, fourteen for middle and twenty seven for long. This also has an impact on how frequently you can race and also how frequently you can race effectively. Recovery will obviously vary higher and lower depending on how well trained you are to complete your chosen race. Those with more training may find they can recover quicker.
Keep up the frequency of training to promote recovery, but remove the intensity from sessions during these active recovery days. Sprint and standard events will differ in their recovery from middle and long you will likely be able to maintain volume at a lower intensity if you are able to sleep sufficiently with sprint and standard. However for middle and long distance events remove running entirely for the first one and two weeks respectively, instead try walking, aqua jogging or even using a cross/elliptical trainer.
Long distance recovery
For long distance athletes it is important to remember you have asked an immense amount of your body and it is literally in a state of shock and is depleted in many ways. Focus on very short, extremely light sessions simply to promote recovery and also to ensure a healthy mental mindset it can quite often be a big come down after the event so a little active recovery helps. Walk then swim then cycle in that order.
For all but the most experienced long distance athlete it is simply best to take a complete break post race and switch off from training or any sense of a plan. Keep active walking and swimming to promote recovery and give yourself at least a month before you start putting any thought back towards training. Take time to reflect upon the experience, bask in your own glory, replenish your body and build a little motivation back up for your next conquest.
It is also worth thinking about single discipline races such as Cycling Time Trials, Open Water Swim Races or Run races. A Park Run can easily become your VDOT test if you dislike the track. Often these races can also replace threshold efforts later on in the Build and Competition phases and will be useful in terms of psychological preparation for the effort on race day. Remember there is nothing to stop you editing or moving some sessions based on how you feel on the day and everything else that is going on in your life.
For any further advice please see our other articles within the Advice and Tips page of the website. Should you have any further questions you may wish to consider speaking to one of our team of expert coaches through a