Prioritizing A Season
I was speaking with a fellow racer the other night after seeing her post some hesitation in the racing schedule she had set out for herself for the upcoming year. This is a struggle we all have, a new race pops up and we are eager to join. The summer (at least on the east coast) is literally full of great races. My schedule alone is packed this season.
Many have commented I have an exceedingly aggressive schedule for the upcoming year. It would be if I took every race as a peak. Instead, however I have prioritized my season and over the winter I looked at all my upcoming races and they fall into the ABC’s of planning a season.
What are the ABC’s of Planning A Race Season?
“A” Races – High Priority
These are the race(s) that you plan your season around. In reality most can only have one or two “A” races in a season. These races should be placed about 10 – 12 weeks apart. These are the races you specifically train for and mimic race conditions in training. For me I have two race that fall into this category. These are the races that you build in tapers for and then build a season around. When the race is over I build in a rest period to be able to then start to build towards the next peak again.
“B” Races – Medium Priority
“B” races are the ones you still want to do well at and go 100% but they aren’t the goal races for the year. For me I use them as great preps for my two goal “A” races for the year. I ease off training before these races but they aren’t the main focus of the season. It’s a great way to train under race conditions and mentally use them as a stepping point to the “A” race.
“C” Races – Low Priority
These are the fun runs and races you do just to be with friends. Throw the performance goals out the door and just enjoy it. Every race should be fun but these are the ones where PR’s and such should be left at home. For pacing I always have a watch with me but leave the heart rate monitor home for these. They keep me interested in the sport as well as hit the reset button on why I race to begin with. They also just give me a chance to be outside with friends. I don’t taper for these races.
It’s really helpful to put a race season into perspective like this. Last year I paid the price of not properly prioritizing my race season. If you aren’t careful a stacked season can lead to overtraining and burnout just around championship time. Once I looked at the season and adjusted expectations on myself it totally took the pressure off and allows me to have fun with what I do.
Especially going into race like next weekend in Tuxedo, NY. That is one of my “C” Races for the season. It’s my first Spartan Race of the season and I am psyched to be there and see so many friends and fans. For me the longer races are the ones I have my eye on this year. Watch out Ultra Beast, my A game will be around for that one.