The 5 Pillars of Planning a Perfect Race Season

Spring is here! Have a goal of competing in a race? Not sure how to decide on which one(s)? Whether it's your first race or your 50th, meeting with a coach can help you choose appropriate races to support your goals and working with a coach ensures you are training safely and effectively. 

Below are what I consider the 5 Pillars of building the perfect race season:

PRIORITIZE: Before you select races, it’s important to look at your personal calendar. Look ahead and consider your travel plans, work commitments and family commitments. You want to select races that work around those and don’t add too much additional stress to your life.

PICK: Now it’s time to pick your “A” race for the season. Your “A” race is the race that is most important to you. This race should excite you and maybe even make you slightly nervous about reaching your goal. This goal should be realistic for you given your current fitness level and the time you have to train for the event.

PLAN: After selecting your “A” race, it’s time to design your training plan. How long will it take and how do you structure a program to hit your goals at your “A” race? A coach can help you safely build endurance and fitness to be ready for race day.

PRACTICE: As you plan your season, you can look at supplemental “B” races that will help boost your fitness and support your training. “B” races also help you practice your race preparation and learn what works for fueling and equipment. It’s important that you take into consideration the intensity of the race and adjust that week of training accordingly. You don’t need a full taper, but it is good to reduce volume and/or intensity during the week leading into the race. Again, coaches can be instrumental in this process!

For additional racing practice, you can select some “C” races. These are races that you choose for fun, but it is still important to make sure they work within your program. “C” races are best at the beginning of a training cycle to boost excitement for training. As you near your “A” race, you should be more focused on race specific training.

PLAY: Every race season needs a recovery period. This is the time to allow yourself a physical and mental break from training. You can (and should!) be active, but try some new activities and make sure they are fun and energizing for you. It’s important that these activities are relatively low intensity to allow your body to fully recover from your intense training.

Enjoy the break from a schedule and embrace the time to PLAY! You’ll be refreshed and ready to start planning your next race season!

Courtney KutlerAbout Courtney Kutler: Courtney is a USA Triathlon Level 1 Coach and a QT2 Systems certified run and triathlon coach.  Contact her at if you are interested in coaching.