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Like A Pro: Laying Out your Racing Year

The triathlon season can be long, especially in warm weather states where you can pretty much race 12 months a year.  Laying out your season with a clear plan is key to achieving success at the target races on your calendar.  It’s important to have goals for the early part of the season that’ll help accelerate your fitness without compromising your summer and fall – when many of the marque events are held.  Professional triathletes have a much higher pressure to perform across all the races they enter, and it’s even more important that they are able to stay injury free, focused, and fit through the last finish line.  To gain a little perspective on how one pro lays out his season in terms of both training and racing, I reached out to Jim Lubinski, a Los Angeles based triathlete and all around bone-crusher.

Jim "Lube" Lubinski

Jim says:
I like to race a lot early in the season.  There is no way to really replicate the effort in a race – so you’ve got to just to out and do it.  It’s a good way to build early season fitness.   As the season progresses, I dial back the racing and focus more on high quality efforts, prepping for the my bigger races near the end of the season.  I am a big believer in periodization.  An athlete can’t go hard 12 months a year – you’ve got to build in periods of recovery, strength, etc. and racing a lot really takes its toll.  In the early season this is fine because I am building fitness and gaining race experience.  Later in the season is when results really matter, and when  I want to be primed and fresh for my target races.  The way I do that is by scaling back on the number of overall races, increasing the quality of my training while reducing the volume, and making sure I get plenty of rest so I’m going into each training session or competition fresh.
My training early in the season is all about building base and increasing strength.  As the season progresses, I cycle through power/tempo/speed phases while always maintaining some base and strength work.  Recovery weeks are important, not only to get the most out of my body, but to keep my mind fresh, too.  It’s a long haul and I’ve got to stay injury free and mentally focused.  During the season I usually use the weeks post-race as recovery weeks.  My body is spent from the race and my mind will usually need a break from the high-volume training prior to the race.
Jim Lubinski is a professional triathlete and elite runner living in Los Angeles, CA.  Jim is a USAT certified coach, and has been training athletes since 2009.  Prior to becoming a professional triathlete, Jim played professional ice hockey (so don’t mess with him).  For more about Jim, and to stay up to date on his training and racing, visit JimLubinski.com.  You can email him at Jim@JimLubinski.com.

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