Preparing for the Triathlon Season

This post was written for the Capitol Rehab February 2016 newsletter. Read more about Capitol Rehab and how to schedule an appointment with a chiropractor or massage therapist at their website.

When it’s 10 degrees and snowing outside, triathlon season may feel far away, but it’s time to start thinking about races! Here are some things to consider as you get closer to your first race:

  1. Prepare an annual plan. If you’re doing more than one race, planning your season will help you prioritize workouts and events through the year. Choose 1-2 “A” races (your longest and/or most important race, such as a championship) and fill in “B” and “C” races considering your build for the A races. Add vacation, busy work periods, and estimates of hours each week you can train.
  2. Ramp up interval training. Generally your training should get more race-specific the closer you get to the season, particularly A races. With the base you’ve built over the winter, you’ll now want to add in more speed work in all three disciplines to train your fast-twitch muscle fibers for race day.
  3. Test your race day speed. Do a fun trail race, a swim meet, or a solo time trial on the bike. You won’t be at peak fitness yet, but race scenarios can help you gauge your progress and help you set realistic goals for the season. If you train with power on the bike, now is the time for a Functional Threshold Power test!
  4. Refine your diet. Off season is a time to indulge and get off of a schedule. Approaching your first race, though, focus on eating for performance: lots of produce, healthy fats, carbs around workouts vs. as midnight snacks, and appropriate portion sizes. Longer workouts will require eating during training, so stock up on nutrition now and test any new products (before race day!). TheFeed.com lets you mix and match healthy bars, electrolyte blends, protein powders and snacks in a custom box. For easy athlete-oriented recipes, try a cookbook from The Feed Zone’s collection.
  5. See your chiropractor. Ignoring lower back pain or favoring one side while running? Don’t start the season injured! Even a minor pain could cause issues as your training volume increases, so visit Capitol Rehab now. Chiropractic isn’t just for your back and neck—an adjustment can correct a whole range of problem areas.
  6. Join a team or train with a group. A commitment to a group holds you accountable, keeps training fun, and connects you with people you can learn from. DC Triathlon and Team Z are always taking new members; there are smaller teams as well. Alternately, join a track group such as Capital Area Runners or Potomac Runners, or a Masters swim team, many of which welcome a range of ability levels.
  7. Consider hiring a coach. Personalized coaching is the best way to reach the next level in any sport. A coach can work with you to develop a custom training plan, address your limiters, and train and race smarter while avoiding injury. Whether you’re racing your first Olympic distance or Ironman triathlon, or trying qualify for a championship event, do some research to find a coach who can guide you along the way.

Here’s to a strong 2016 season!


About Dawn

Dawn is a top tier Age Group triathlete, long-time swim instructor, and soon to be a USAT Level I Certified Triathlon Coach. Dawn has raced 16 triathlons, including four half Ironmans; more than 35 road and trail races; open water swims and endurance ride events. She is a member of Ignite Endurance.

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