How to NOT Over Race in the Triathlon World

What is “Over Racing?” There are 52 weeks in a year. I will see triathletes or runners who are “racing” 45 weekends out of the year. This is “over racing.”

As a coach, I will look at my athletes’ priority races, which could be considered a “1st Triathlon, possibly an Olympic Triathlon, or even a Half Marathon, etc.” I will program their workouts specifically for these races. When they come to me with a TON of “races,” I ask them, “Do you want to prioritize a 5k with your friends or your Olympic Distance triathlon?” They get my point. Don’t get me wrong; there are times when I do ask that athletes knock out a 5k/10k run. It is a FANTASTIC baseline to get an athlete’s pacing.

Here is a great example of “over racing:”

  • Athlete A had a priority race, which was Ironman Texas in May.
  • Athlete A did a 70.3 Ironman 5 weeks out from Ironman. This is good. We can see where this athlete is at for nutrition, and heading into the next 5 weeks to their Ironman training.
  • Athlete A did a 13.1 Marathon a week BEFORE her 70.3 Ironman Triathlon.

What was the point of Athlete A doing a 13.1 Marathon? The recovery time for a half marathon run, along with trying to get ready for a 70.3 Ironman that next week, takes a HUGE toll on the body.

The body is an AMAZING tool, and the body knows when it needs rest, BUT a lot of athletes don’t know how to listen to their body. Athletes want to dig, drive, and try to get better, when in the long run they are hurting themselves.

So, how do athletes get better?

  1. Make your rest day a rest day
  2. Race when you are scheduled to race. If you need to get a “long” run in and you want to do a 13.1 Marathon to have an organized course, that is fine. Don’t RACE it! (Prioritize your calendar!)
  3. Focus on your “A” race of the season
  4. Hire a Coach and have them help you succeed! Plenty on TRI-FAQ!
  5. Listen to your body! The body knows what is up; listen to it!

See my interview in “Triathlete” magazine from February 2013 about “Over Racing.”

Triathlete San Antonio Coach