Howdy and welcome to Exclusive Sports Marketingís 2003 Coca Cola Classic Sprint Triathlon series. This year the series will include nine races across the State of Florida and one in the Bahamas. As always, there will be some hotly contested divisions for overall series awards and plenty of athletes looking to beat you, then greet you, at the finish line. In this article Iíll give you a few ideas to think about as we head into the racing season.
Racing in the Coca Cola Classic Triathlon Series is not a simple task. It involves a good bit of travel and sprint triathlons are not as easy as people like to think. Theyíre pretty tough, in fact. However, it is personally rewarding, a lot of fun, and we all enjoy seeing our friends and rivals on race day. We get to go to a number of different venues, and the crew from ESM always does their utmost to put on a great show and make sure everyone has a good time. A good time after the races are done, I mean, since having a good time in the race is strictly up to you.
This year the series breaks down into six single-points races and three double-points races. You donít need to be a mathematician to figure out that it will greatly benefit you to do well at the double-points, or ĎAí - very important, races. Ideally, you will also be able to perform consistently at the single-points, or ĎBí Ė pretty important but not as crucial, races. But how do you manage this? How can you perform well consistently while also Ďpeakingí for the three double-pointers?
Thatís where planning out your season comes into play.
First, letís establish a few basics. If you are doing the series for fun and health and donít particularly care how you place, more power to you! Triathlon complements an active lifestyle and the Coca Cola Classic Series is a great way to do some summer traveling, visit your friends, and enjoy a few triathlons.
Second, if you are a beginner, keep things in moderation. Donít try to train twenty hours a week and think that that will make up for the ten years youíve been sitting at a desk. Start slowly and build into an active lifestyle. Enjoy your first year of racing and training. Relish the fact that youíre getting into shape. You can be competitive, but donít let that competitive fire cloud your sight of the true goal Ė recreation and fun, baby!
Third, assuming you know how to swim, bike, and run, and are reasonably proficient in each sport, letís talk about how to you can manage your time and structure your training so as to maximize your performance throughout the season. While Iím going to use the Coca Cola Classic Series races as examples, you can certainly take these ideas and apply them to other races you may be focused on this season.
The Coca Cola series starts May 4 and ends October 11. Thereís five months in between. The double-points races are June 7, August 30, and October 11. That gives you 9 weeks between Davis Island and the Bahamas, and 6 weeks between Bahamas and the Club Med Championship. In other words, itís a long season!
To get you through the season, here is my super-secret recipe for a consistent summer of racing and a series podium finish in October:
- Start training now!
- Be consistent. Itís much better to do two sessions per sport per week for eight months than it is to very little for four months and then three sessions per sport per week for four months.
- Find a schedule you can handle and stick to it. Be realistic about your time constraints.
- Build your weeks towards short rests for your B races and longer tapers for your A races.
- Modified periodized training: Since you will be focusing on three ĎAí races in a span of five months, you can nail Davis Island as your first race, but will need to shorten/adjust the cycles (base, build, peak, taper) for the Bahamas (9 weeks) and Club Med (6 weeks). Between the Bahamas and Club Med I would suggest doing 4 weeks of base, 3 weeks of build, 1 peak, 1 taper. You can skip the base period when youíre gearing back up for Club Med.
- Rest: Since most of the B races are on Saturday, Ďrestí would mean do your last fast / hard session Wednesday, go easy Thursday, and very light or nothing on Friday. I will usually swim easy on Friday, race Saturday, get a long cool down, then do a long, easy ride on Sunday.
- Perform strength/core training consistently throughout the season (1-2 per week, skip a week here and there depending on where you are in your cycle).
- Take a mid-season break of 1-2 weeks of very light, easy exercise or nothing at all. I will take about 1 week off in late July as a recovery period. You will not lose your fitness taking a planned break in order to recover.
- Perform skills and drills training throughout the season in all sports (ie, running strides, swim catch-up, bike spin-ups).
- Do about 70-80% of your training in your aerobic zone to maintain your base fitness (either as easy sessions, skills sessions, or aerobic endurance, ie, long distance, sessions).
- Do 1 speed session (lactate threshold) per sport per week (in general, depending on where you are in the cycle).
- Do 1 brick per week (just running 10 minutes easy off the bike will help immensely).
- Take an easy or off day every 6-10 days.
- Train with coached groups or informal groups to share knowledge and build friendships.
- Donít overdo it! Öbut donít underdo it either.
- Always remember that this is a recreational sport and enjoy yourself.
The sport of triathlon involves challenging yourself to reach new athletic heights. You certainly should want you to do well, but you should also have some fun while youíre at it! The folks at ESM have the same idea, and they know how to schedule a race along with a good time for you and your family and friends.
So if you apply some of the ideas outlined in this article and come on out to the Coca Cola Classic Triathlon Series, youíre guaranteed to have a number of good times, in more ways than one.
See you at the races!
Marty Gaal - April 2003