How many times over the years have you had to cancel races either months before the event or a few days because of all the various factors of “life” that just seem to happen at the worst times. The normal things such as, sickness, family/friend deaths, plane delays, financial/work issues, travel schedules, injuries, lack of motivation, etc. I would love to know the actual amount of money lost by athletes that is spent every year on race fees when a cancellation occurs – partial refund or no refund policies.
Its just part of the racing experience, stuff happens! Recently, I had to cancel my key race for the 2015 season after already being registered – RAAM bike race because of the news of a family members wedding (just happened to be planned in the middle of the event). The result becomes a re-tooling of the race calendar, which in many cases becomes the difficult part when looking at the year ahead.
The benefit today vs. 25 years ago is there is always the following year to participate in the event or another race. So many races now occur year after year and the race cancellations that were so prevalent years ago just don’t occur as often today. I remember before the Internet, when we all waited anxiously for the next Triathlete magazine to arrive with the calendar of events then trying to find one within a close proximity to the home city. Today, its’ so much easier to rebuild a race calendar when life takes priority over a race.
Something to consider as you look to filling your race calendar, build from a large list and keep a backup group. For many athletes who love to race, it’s not uncommon to race one time per month during the peak-racing season. The benefits of racing regularly can be substantial to get the “feel” of going hard in a competitive environment and making the athlete “race ready”. Start with a few races on your list for each month and then categorize them in terms of rankings, A, B, C and then classify the objective of the event. This will give you a large list of potential events so that you can easily slot a race into your schedule when life issues require cancellations.
5 Steps to Race Calendar Planning
- Examine best weekends per month in your calendar – use your IPhone, Outlook, etc. and block them off in your online calendar.
- Research time – go to the host of online race calendars specific to your sport and match up a list of events with locations and start adding a large list into your notes tool/Evernote or just include into your calendar.
- Select the events and rank A, B, C – type and key objective of the race.
- Examine the budget – total costs for the specific event including everything, travel, hotels, entry fees, food, etc.
- Add the events to the permanent calendar and sign up online so you commit.
By planning your race schedule with a backup plan of potential races will ease some of the stress of having to cancel a key race. Remember there is always another race!