HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR TRIATHLON RACES

HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR TRIATHLON RACES

We all do triathlons for a good reason, and for most of us, taking part in races is a good opportunity to challenge yourself, to pace your training sessions and your triathlon season. For maximum enjoyment, your choice of races is key and involves several factors. So together, let's look at the elements that will help you to choose the right triathlon races!

1/ WHAT IS YOUR LEVEL?    

If you are just starting out in triathlon, you should focus on 1 or 2 key objectives this year. Start by setting your benchmarks, training in each of the three sports, and then work on transitions to get ready for your first race.

Intermediate triathletes will be more used to sequencing training sessions and races. Your body can absorb a higher training volume.You can therefore focus on 2 or 3 objectives over the course of the year and punctuate your preparation with shorter preparatory races. For example, one or two shorter triathlons, duathlons, trail runs, road races, cyclosportives or swim and runs to provide some variety.

 

My advice for successful organisation:

Everyone has a different capacity for race sequencing depending on their abilities and sporting experience. We will focus on beginner and intermediate levels. At the start of the season, we tend to take part in a few duathlons. I recommend planning one or two duathlons at the start of the season. This will give you objectives for working on your speed. You can then do an S format and set aside 8 weeks of specific preparation for this objective. If you stay with the S format, I think 3 triathlons is a good target. In parallel, you can also take part in a few runs or swim and runs. If you want to follow this up with a M format, you should ideally plan 2 months of recovery between the two races. This will allow you to recover and at the same time to prepare yourself specifically for this new objective.

 

2/ HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU HAVE FOR TRAINING?

In general, the longer the race format, the longer and more numerous the training sessions. Obviously a high-level triathlete specialising in short formats deals with large training volumes but in general, the longer the distances, the more time you need for preparation. You should therefore take all parameters into account when deciding the time you have available.It is up to you to check whether your family and professional life allow you to prepare for the desired format and the chosen period.

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3/ WHAT RACE FORMAT SHOULD YOU CHOOSE?

Clearly, your level determines the choice of format you should sign up to. Beginner athletes will prefer short XS and S formats. More advanced athletes, or athletes accustomed to longer exercise periods, can try the M format. Finally, intermediate triathletes can opt for L or XXL formats.

 

4/ WHAT ARE YOUR MOTIVATIONS?

You have to develop your training schedule in consideration of your short-, medium- and long-term motivations. Let's imagine that you were thinking of doing a L or XXL format in two years' time. You would have to organise the next two years accordingly and develop a schedule with a 2-year objective.

However, if your motivation is to complete your first triathlon, you would set your objective after a few months of practice to prepare yourself and meet this challenge!

 

5/ ARE YOU GOING SOLO OR IN A GROUP?

Triathlon is an individual sport but it's better in a group!

On the day of the race, you are on your own in an inner battle, but taking part in a race with friends or team-mates is important for several reasons. Firstly, there's the race preparation. It's easier to find training companions if several of you are preparing at the same time. Also, organising trips is easier and more sociable. Some trips can be long and it's also a good chance to share a few days of holiday with friends. Finally, sharing experiences after a race can be an important moment for race participants.

 

Finally, here are a few tips to help you make your choice:

 

 

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- Make sure you get a period of rest between each race to optimise your performance

Between short format races, you will soon be able to resume your training pace and move on to the next race.However you will need to rest properly between longer formats. If you are preparing an L-distance triathlon, you can do a M-distance triathlon a few weeks before your race. If you want to do two L formats in a row, you should leave at least a 2-month period between the two triathlons.

For an XXL format, you can do an L-distance up to 6 weeks beforehand. If you are doing two XXL triathlons in a row, make sure you do a maximum of two over the course of the year. Once again, everyone is different and has a different capacity in terms of sequences. Don't forget that it's important to manage your efforts throughout the season.

To optimise your performances, you have to work on each cycle, with general preparation cycles, more specific cycles, fine-tuning and rest stages between each objective.It is impossible to have high-performance all year round so you have to manage your fitness peaks.

 

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- Spend time at the start of the season organising and aligning your training sessions, work and personal life.

It is important to sit down and to plan your schedule. Considering the points mentioned above, you should list your constraints throughout the preparation period. It isn't a good idea to do a L format when you know that you will have a packed work schedule in the 2 months preceding it! Look at the calendar, write down the races that you are interested in, share them with your friends, decide and sign up. Registration to races is often done early in the season and some races are literally overrun with participants! When setting your objectives, make sure you set aside rest periods and maintain balance in your life! 

Finally, don't forget that you are responsible for choosing your own races and for putting everything in place in order to achieve your objectives. You may sometimes wonder why you have decided to embark on this adventure, but during those times, remember how important it was to you a few weeks or months ago. I like to remember that it isn't just about getting to the finish line, but also the journey that counts, so enjoy it throughout the year!

 

chrystele-aptonia-writer

Chrystèle

I've been doing triathlons for 10 years. After running a variety of different formats ranging from the XS to the XXL, I am now focusing on the L format. The two disciplines in which I feel most comfortable are the cycle and run legs with a certain partiality for the run leg.

I particularly enjoy the events involving elevation gains. I love the triathlon because it is a complete sport that combines many of the different values that I share.

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