Racing is one of the biggest reasons we train so hard so we can perform our best. Sadly, the human body is not invulnerable. We can’t stay in peak physical condition all the time. Peaking needs the correct balance of physical fitness and being fresh -- two things that don’t always align.
Racing prioritization is important for both of these factors to be in your favor during important events. We can classify races as “A”, “B”, and “C” races.
“A” races are those races with the highest stakes. These are the races where your physical fitness should be at the absolute peak and you are well-rested also. Most people are capable of one or two “A” races a year. If you plan on two “A” races, these should be at least 6 weeks apart to keep your legs fresh. A two-week buffer should be included in the training plan for “A” races to reduce stress while maintaining physical fitness.
“B” races can also be called intermediate races. These races are usually a good test of your physical conditioning. You won’t be at peak form for “B” races, but you can experiment with different preparation routines and strategies to find out what suits you better. Even though these races are a cut below “A” races, they prepare you psychologically and provide you confidence when racing for higher stakes.
“C” races are strictly for practice and trying out different experiences. You shouldn’t be affected by “C” race results that much, but can use them as data to enhance your training programs. “C” races can serve as recovery, where you can relax a bit and let the game face slip. Or you can treat them as workouts with no buffer periods needed to prepare for. Try scheduling “C” races as you would schedule a hard workout.
Let’s say you have 16 weeks to train for your A race: a 70.3 where you want to set a new personal best. At around eight weeks into the program, you can schedule an Olympic distance race as your B race where you can test your fitness and race strategy. You can do a Sunday park run as a C race after a high cycling mileage Saturday.
When you understand how to prioritise races, you can enjoy the thrill of crossing the finish line without always treating every race as do-or-die. You’ll also become better able to peak at the right time for the right race.