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How to Prioritize Races and Build Your Season

As athletes, races are very important to us.  It's the whole we reason we train, and in an ideal world, we would roll up to every race able to perform at our maximum physical potential.  However, the reality is that the human body cannot maintain the optimal conditions required to perform at this peak for long - 6-8 weeks at most.  "Peaking", as we call it, requires an optimal balance of Fitness and Freshness, and these "stars align" for only a brief window.  Through the use of our Training Plans, you'll be able to plan your season so that the "stars align" on the day that your performance is most important to you.  

The first step of Building your season is Race Prioritization.  The terminology we use for this is A, B, and C races.  This article will explain how each of these race types will fit into your season.

A Race:

  • It is best to have one to two "A" races per year.  These will be races that you will perform at your absolute peak fitness and should be events that are the most important to you
  • If you have multiple A races, they should be either within 6 weeks of each other or at least 12 weeks apart in order to be in peak form for both (see "How to Adjust your Plan for Multiple A Races")
  • "A" races can have up to two week tapers leading up to them, allowing for a reduction in Training Stress and increase in Freshness, all while maintaining Fitness to create this elusive "Peak"
  • To plan your season, you will work backward from your target event.  Once you know that date, you can backstep 8 Weeks for Specialty,  8 Weeks for Build, and 12 Weeks for Base.

B Races:

  • While you will not be fully peaked for these races, these events will be excellent trials of your fitness and you can still be very competitive in these events.  Keep in mind that your competitors are restricted by the same human limitations as you are, so while you aren't in your absolute peak form, chances are that they aren’t either
  • While these races can be season objectives in their own right, they also allow you to try different Race Prep and Strategies to see what works for you and your body
  • These races are very important because they psychologically prepare you for racing, and help give you a confidence that you can carry into your "A" events
  • These races will employ shorter tapers or perhaps just a training decrease a few days prior.

C Races

  • These races are strictly for practice and experience.  The outcome of these races should carry little emotional value and as such you will simply "train through" them.  They are basically a hard workout.
  • These can include local Wednesday Night Series, local Race-Rides, or anytime where you can test your limits against competition
  • Keep in mind that structure is what makes you faster, not simply riding hard all the time.  Recovery is just as important.  A good time to do a "C" race is when your plan requires a pretty intense ride, and you can substitute in the "C" Race for the prescribed workout.
  • Aim to start doing a few "C" races as you near the end of the Base Phase
  • Since these are essentially training/workouts, no taper is involved but you should still schedule them the same way you’d schedule a hard workout, i.e., following an easy or off day...

Takeaway:  You can't perform at your peak physical fitness forever, so it is important to decide when you want to be your fastest and plan accordingly.  

 

Podcast Discussion:

[13:20] Podcast 134:  How to Prioritize your races

[25:10] Podcast 134:  A, B and C Race Definitions

 

Further education:

Peaking for Multiple "A" Races

Not Enough Time

Too Much Time!

Related Training Articles:

Peak on Race Day: 5 Questions to Plan Your Perfect Season

 

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