Racing versus Training for Best Performance!

Race – Training Balance

As an athlete ‘competing’ versus ‘training’ is a fine balance – get it wrong and your main races will be a disaster, get it right and you’ll be celebrating!, I see it with the guys I coach, some want to race all the time and others are very focussed on just one or two event during the season. There’s good and bad in both….

example 1 – This Athlete will race every other weekend chasing a pb’s, qualification to a age group GB team or simply trying win their category in a race!

The pro’s – You’re practising race nutrition, race mentality and will get some good results (and lots of race t-shirts!)

The con’s – You’ll miss a lot of days training due to recovery, tapering before each event, eventually your base fitness will drop and the risk of burn out and injury will be high.. and you’ll spend a lot of money!

example 2 – This Athlete will race once or twice a year, pinning their hopes on one great performance

The pro’s – You’ll build a great base level of fitness,!

The con’s – The constant training can become boring and you’ll loose focus, you may struggle with race day nerves!

This is just a quick snap shot of two athletes and there’s many more pro’s & cons.. lets focus on how to map out your race calendar!


Get a plan:-

Practice race mentality, this means controlling your adrenaline, nervous and fine tuning your nutrition.. but you don’t need to race every weekend! over a race season April to September, I’d pick 2 main races where I want to be in peak condition, then 3 to 4 races where I want to perform well at certain aspects of the event and 4-5 races where I’d class it as race/training. My 2 main races (A) with be 8-10 weeks apart, my (B) races will be 4-5 weeks before my ‘A’ races, and my ‘C’ races will scattered over the season

‘C’ races – local, 10ks & 1/2 marathons, cycling time-trails, pool sprint tri’s.. With these events I’d ride or run to the event, then hit the individal race hard!, testing my run legs, cycling power etc., then ride or run home. There’s no pressure here but I do get to practice a small part of race nutrition and race mentality, find out my race pace. I wouldn’t take rest days before these events.. my training would be the same upto and after the event

‘B’ race – regional events, for me it would be a 1/2 Ironman, standard distance duathlon or triathlon that is possible a British Champs or high profile event, something where I know the level of the competitors is high!, at these events I do get a bit nervous, I practice something new e.g. different energy drinks/gels on the bike leg, tweak my taper week, push harder on the bike or run flat out just to test the body (it doesn’t matter if I blow up/bonk/hit the wall etc.. what matters is how I deal with it), The week of these races I’d do a mini taper., less mileage, less strength.. keep to shorter sessions with a few speed intervals added

‘A’ races – Full distance Ironman Events, for this race to be a success I need my fitness, nutrition and mentality to be in top shape! everything I’ve learn’t from my ‘C’ and ‘B’ races comes together..the nerves and excitement do kick in a few days before so it’s important to relax my mind and be confident in the months of preparation I’ve committed myself to,. I’m not gonna get any fitter or faster with 10-7 days to go, but I can put my mindset into a positive place! This is a disciplined taper week/s and I’ll stick to a tried and tested pre-race nutrition and race nutrition

Dean, Real Fitness Triathlon Coach,, 07766 164 919








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