Don’t you think you’re overdoing it? Do you really need to sign up for so many races? Are you sure you’re not going to hurt yourself?
Have you asked yourself these questions? Better yet, has your spouse or significant other asked you these questions? Did you brush them off? Did you ignore them? Did you conveniently not hear them?
It’s time to wake up. If you’re racing 3 to 4 times a month, be it running, cycling and triathlons or a mixture, you may be digging yourself in a hole. Your family may come to resent you, your pets may not recognize you anymore and you may have issues leading a “normal” life outside of the world of triathlon racing, training and recovering.
Some triathletes reserve this level of effort for their “A” race. That pinnacle of all events for that particular season that they had circled on their calendar since last season ended. However, some triathletes have issues distinguishing between an A race and anything else. Some athletes go 110% every race.
If you want to race every weekend of the season, it’s possible, but you have to be smart about it.
Recently I ran Rock the Parkway Half marathon where I considered it an A race. I wanted to PR and I did. The following weekend, I ran the Kansas Half Marathon. And this past weekend I ran the Trolley Run 4 mile race.
How did I get away with it having 2 kids and a wife at home and still be able to function at work during the week all the while maintaining a training schedule for my half Ironman in June? Simple. The Kansas Half and Trolley run were treated like a training day. I opted to run Rock the Parkway 110%, Kansas Half 77-80% and the Trolley run was a threshold run. Notice 3 races in 3 weekends, but only one at full race effort.
Hopefully when planning out your season, you’ve thought out the events and spaced them out to allow yourself to recover and your kids can recognize you after the season.
The moral of the story is not every race needs to be an A race. It’s about having a plan that works for your goals and your lifestyle. If you can manage going 110% for 12 weeks in a row without injury and people can still stand to be around you, then more power to you.
If you are replacing long training days with events and not incorporating proper training techniques, how will you improve? You’ll have a hard time letting your body absorb the load you have put on it. You may make incremental improvements when you could be getting exponential by knocking off a few events or, gasp, run one for fun.
I’ll be the first to admit that it’s hard to ignore the competitive side when in a race setting. You’re heart rate is a little higher, your adrenaline is ratcheted up and you think, “I feel good today. I bet I could PR, screw the plan!” I was able to back it off for Kansas Half marathon and it was still fun and I was able to mow the lawn, spread mulch, watch the kids, wash the dogs and pay the bills that day. If I can do it, so can you!
Ryan Falkenrath writes the blog falkeetriathlon.blogspot.com, married father of two young kids, owner of two dogs and trying to balance life, work and multisport. Ryan has participated in multisport events since 2001 from 5k's to Half Ironmans. Ryan is also the Kansas City Endurance Sports Examiner and you can read more of his triathlon thoughts HERE and he collects race reviews at www.Triathlon-Reviews.blogspot.com. Contact Ryan at: [email protected] or follow him on @TriJayhawkRyan.