Are You Almost There? How to Race with a Plan

Almost There Sign

Do you have 5 minutes to make your next set of races better? What some tips on planning your “A’ race?

You hear “You’re almost there!” every time you race. Sometimes, you aren’t quite there or you weren’t quite ready for the race even after you spent a significant amount of time and energy trying to reach your goal. You tell yourself it was the weather, fueling, a missed training, or lack of motivation. However, at some point, we may have to admit that we keep repeating the same mistakes. How about next time – Plan your Races.

Planning your race schedule for the year or season may seem like work when all we want to do is have fun and race with our friends. But ask yourself, when were you the proudest, when did you perform your best? Most likely when you peaked at the right time, trained right and picked the perfect race.

The race is perfect when :
1) It meets your life schedule
2) Is a meaningful and realistic challenge
3) Affordable in terms of finances and sacrifices

4) Well planned out

So how do we plan perfectly? Examine your life schedule. When can you commit the most time and quality training? When is it good for your family? Will waking up at 4:30 AM run you down at work? Will dark nights affect your long runs?

When you find that perfect time of year, determine how long you need to train. Be realistic and if you need more time then take more time. Do not choose a race date based on the cost or coolness of the medal. You are going to spend the money and you already have 10 medals in some dusty drawer so be logical.

Now that you have the timeframe, find two races. Your “A” race and a backup “A” race. Be prepared to make one of them your B race. You do not want to panic looking for some race that is long sold out when your first option cannot happen.

Ok, how will you get there? Do you need to just train? Or are there “B” and “C” races that will assist with skill improvement and even motivation? Both are fine reasons. If you are weak at T1 and T2 in Triathlon, practice and make sure you nail it during a budget local race. Not sure of your 5K pace? Plan a local small race.

Do you need to improve your pace discipline and form? Pick a race with similar conditions to your A race, considering average temperatures, and hills. Even if it is not the same distance. Learning how to pace and discipline yourself is key. These are great opportunities to support your local Tri and relaxed 5K’s. 3.1 miles is the same everywhere, and even if you only manage a 100% cotton t-shirt as your reward, use these events to gauge your progress.

Finally, what online tools do you need? Get yourself a cup of hot chocolate and your business calendar, school calendar, family calendar, almanac and plot these races. One tool that lets you search and plan your next races is Look through the database of local races and plan out your “A” and “B” races. One neat feature is you can add your own races to the online calendar and then see at a glance what you have coming up for the year. Share the list with your coach, significant other, and family. Replace the “Almost There” to “Nailed It!” with some soul searching and proper planning.