As the places begin to thaw out (or at least start to contemplate the end of winter), race season is heating things up in the triathlon world. Early season races like Oceanside 70.3, St. George 70.3, St. Anthony’s in Florida, and many others are a great way to bust off the rust of winter and get back to racing. Many however shirk early season races thinking that they are not fit enough to compete, but this is a huge mistake.
For one, early season races are a great way to measure fitness. Even though you may not be in the best of shape especially after training inside most of the winter, doing a race early on in the year will allow you to gauge how your training has been going and what you need to focus on in the coming weeks before your A race of the year. If you emerge from the swim completely winded then maybe you should spend some more time in the pool. Or if you finish the bike with nothing left for the run then maybe a you should work on endurance with more long bike rides or doing pace work. A really fast run shows that you may have had more to give on the bike.
Early season races are also a great way to boost motivation. By signing up now for a race that maybe only a month away, you feel extra motivated to get all your workouts done in their entirety. I notice around this time of year that many folks begin to cut workouts (usually the cool down of the swim) short thinking that they “have plenty of time till their race.” Having a race coming up eliminates that comfort zone and makes you train extra hard to get ready for it.
For these races, it’s particularly helpful to set a plan then stick with it. For example: “I will bike at 270 watts for the whole race then hold 7 min/miles.” Or “I will focus on nailing nutrition on the bike then negative splitting the run.” Even if you do not want to do a full triathlon, signing up for an aquavelo (just the swim and bike) can still be motivating and helpful in finding weak spots to train in the weeks after.
Coach Chris and Kev