How many races to do in a calendar year

Posted on 15 December 2010

Well for many of us, it’s the time of the year to plan out the 2011 race/travel schedule.  Personally, it’s always a challenge to determine the right number and types of endurance races in the given calendar year.   
I tend to focus on a couple key races each year and then have several others that will be used in preparation for not only the key races but to get the body and mind into race mode.  

I remember 25 years ago when many of the pro triathletes were racing not only every weekend but many times back to back days with the Bud Light Tri Series. They would race 20-25 times over the season.  I have noticed over the years that many athletes do not race as often (yes more endorsement dollars for the pro’s thus it was not the “eat what you kill” mentality of the 1980’s when triathlons were in their infancy.)  I guess we are all getting “soft”  very similar to starting baseball pitchers today who very rarely pitch more than 6 innings or so (the pitch count is monitored so intensely) versus the workhorses of years ago that would pitch  the full 9 innings.

Of course there is no perfect number of races to participate in the calendar year.  Keep in mind, how long it will take your body and mind to recover (potential of injuries) and what benefits will you receive (or not) by adding an additional event.   One simple strategy is to rate the Race as either an “A”, “B” or “C” race.   Focus on 1 or two key “A” races the then fill in the gaps with other less important races.  Also, expenses, locations,  and time commitment will all be factors in determining the best mix of racing to your schedule.

I am still amazed many times when I see athletes competing in so many races in a given year that are are ultra distance events.   One thing you can count on for sure when you race a lot is mental fatigue and without adequate recovery you will not be setting many PR’s!

Plan your racing strategy accordingly to ensure you are at your best for your key races!

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