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2011/02/08 - Newsletter

Planning your season

Getting Started for 2011

Welcome again to the tri-strides newsletter.
Are you ready for the next season? Checking the race calendars and trying to figure out which race to race? Here are my thoughts.

The first thing you need to know is how much time you spent training last year. This knowledge will help you to plan your training season for this year. If you plan for an Ironman race you probably already are signed up and need to plan your season around it. Otherwise you are free to sign up to any race you like.
Next you need to analyse last year's season. What went well, what went better or worse than expected. Did you progress in your racing or regress. If there was a regress, why do you think it happened? Not all regress is bad; imagine, that your bike time increased in your favorite international distance race, but then your run was smooth and swift - you reaching the finish with not a lot energy to spare but happily. Then you could assume that in the previous years you pounded too much away during the bike leg and had nothing left for the run.
Most race results list your rank for each leg of the triathlon. Are your results each in the same ballpark, or would you find something like 220th in the swim, 235th in the bike but 390th in the run? If that were the case you would want to focus more on run training.
As a guideline: work on your strengths as much as on your weaknesses.
Did you have long transition times? More brick workouts could help for the next season.
Another way to evluate your racing is to compare to other athletes. USATriathlon ranks athletes who are members and participating in more than two races per year. You can access the rankings on their web site. is another useful site - you do not get direct rankings but you can follow your own results in comparison to those of fellow athletes doing the same races. A coach can help you in this evaluation process by comparing your last year's training with last year's performances.

As soon as you have determined your areas to work on and the time you want to spend training, select an A-race - a race which is your season's goal. Then you fill in your plan with B- and C- races, B being the ones you want to compete in, but which aren't your main goals, C being the ones you use as organised training sessions.

For this year, when I am training for Ironman Coeur d'Alene, I have scheduled a handful of races before that. The Ironman race is end June, so it would be ideal to have a half iron race around the beginning of May. Unfortunately do neither my schedule nor Chicago's climate invite to do such triathlon races. The way I will deal with this is to schedule regular running races, starting with a Winter-5k, a Winter-10k, an 8k, a half Marathon and a 10Mile race, all footraces. These races should bring me up to speed, especially because running is my weak point. Then I plan on two Sprint triathlons, one in May, one in June, to re-practice fast transitions in race conditions. I'd have preferred an international or half distance race but did not find a fitting one.

After Coeur d'Alene I'll definitely need some rest, so I will not schedule any long race into the next four weeks. So I can re-start training and racing for an August race, but that is not planned yet. This is just one example on how to plan and what to consider. In one of the prior newsletter I pointed out how to find a training plan to fit to your racing schedule.

Enjoy this process. Planning races for the year is a fun business, I think. It is interesting to explore the different race sites, maybe even planning a family vacation together with a race. And then, once you are signed up it is quite a motivation for training - to think about the upcoming race.

Stay tuned for the next issue of this bi-weekly to monthly newsletter.

Greetings from your coach's desk
Dr. Sylvia Zinser
USAT Certified triathlon coach, USA Cycling Certified coach