A, B, & C Races

I wanted to write a blog about the different type of races that you compete in on a given year. For those of you who have a racing season you know full well you can’t be at your highest level for all of them. It takes months of training, a few weeks to taper, and everything to work on race day. You can’t go and repeat that week after week.

Most pro triathletes are lucky to be able to compete at their highest level more than 2-3 races a year. That doesn’t mean they can’t win outside of those races but they are training and preparing all season to get to Kona. But for them to get to Kona they need enough points (assuming they didn’t win Kona (winners just need to finish a 140.6 to validate) ) so they still need to peak another two times or so.

I believe their are three types of races that exist out there. You have your A races, B races, and C races.

C races aren’t really talked about and most of you probably never heard the term. Well that’s because I have made it up. I define C races two ways. It’s basically your recover run or if you are pacing someone at least :45-1:30 per mile slower than your race pace. We have probably all done those recover run races where it’s most likely local, you had a hard training week, and/or your body just doesn’t want to race. You force yourself out there because you paid for that race, it’s for a charity you want to support, and you have friends running it.

The second part of the C race is you are pacing someone. These types of races you are more excited for because you know it’s an easy day for you and you are pacing someone you want to help support. At one point in time you were probably at their level and want to give back. I recommend anyone who has this opportunity to take advantage it.

B races are what we spend the majority of our time competing in. In my opinion these help to setup your A races. what makes these different than A races is normally you don’t taper for this race. You will have a normal training week and go into this race trying to do well but don’t plan/expect to PR (personal record).

A races are what the race season is all about. You spend months getting to this point, you tweak your training schedule, you work on your nutrition, & you are totally amped up for this race. Your weight is right where you probably want it for this race. You have done the proper taper and are feeling very refreshed if not sluggish coming into race day.

How do I decide my race schedule?

First what are your goals? What is your ‘A’ Race going to be? The key to the race schedule/season is pinpointing your ‘A’ race(s). You will fill that in first.  Next you want to find a few key (‘B’) races that will help set up these ‘A’ races.

For me I have an Excel Spreadsheet. You can see below that six are in bold. In my spreadsheet I have it color coded in Red. Those six are my ‘A’ Races. I try and have a few races that setup my ‘A’ races. For Ironman Chattanooga I was able to do that. For Ironman Texas I wasn’t because I would have needed go south to do a 1/2 Ironman.

Please note: I believe in large chunks of training blocks without racing to get me into better shape, improve my long distance, and to learn how to train on tired legs. This to me is key to getting better. I do this in the winter and over the summer.

The definition I use for ‘Training Blocks’ is training say 20 out of 21 days. Most training schedules have you doing 3-4 weeks of upping mileage/time then a cut back week. I buy into this as well.

Remember it is possible to have a planned B race but have an ‘A’ time. Some days even when you are not tapering or recovering from another race you have an amazing race. My PR 1/2 marathon time came one week after the Hartford Marathon in 2012.

The Excel Spreadsheet I have has several tabs and they represent years. I copy the current year, move to the next year, and make tweaks. I always have a few that are my favorite that I always do. You will see a few crossed out as well. Those are races that I planned on and/or signed-up for but decided not to do them. This happens for a number of reason’s. In June I was pretty burnt out from my rough time in Texas. I was nursing a bit of an injury but the real reason I didn’t do them was because I was mentally spent. Sometimes getting away for a few weeks (I still trained a little) really help’s you to find yourself and rejuvenate your training.

Any questions let me know. Thanks…


2014 Race Schedule
Date Race Distance Cost Time Notes:
2/23/2014 Hyannis 1/2 Marathon 13.1 $60.00 2:21 Signed up 12/16ish
3/9/2014 Ocean 1/2 13.1 $55 1.42 Ran with Bridget
4/6/2014 Whittensville 1/2 13.1 $50 1:35 Signed up 12/24
5/17/2014 IM Texas 140.6 $625 16:03 Signed up 11/3/13
5/31/2014 Rev 3 1/2 Iron 70.3 $250 Signed up 12/15/13
6/20/2014 Sutton Tri Sprint $     45.00
6/22/2014 Fairfield 1/2 13.1 $50 Signed up 1/31/14
8/17/2014 Timberman 1/2 Ironman 70.3 $   190.00 5:41 Signed up 11/15/13
9/1/2014 Labor Day New Haven Road Race 12.4 $45 1.31.07 Signed up on 3/1/14
9/12/2014 Reach the Beach $   100.00 Signed up 11/15/13
9/28/2014 Ironman Chattanooga 140.6 12:17.2
10/5/2014 Smuttynose 13.1 1:33:39
10/11/2014 Hartford 1/2 Marathon 13.1 2:24:44
10/18/2014 5 K Douglas, MA 3.1 20:57
10/26/2014 Loco Marathon 26.2 $     80.00 3:30
11/2/2014 Full Marathon Relay 26.2
11/9/2014 Seacoast 1/2 13.1
12/14/2014 Dallas Marathon 26.2 Signed up 10/31


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1 Response to A, B, & C Races

  1. Ray Insalaco says:

    There is such a thing as a C race. Those are the races that you just want to do because you enjoy them. They are not used to advance your training.

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