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Scheduling Triathlons with Other Races

I have always been active but I really just got into running about 6 months ago, when I decided I wanted to do a triathlon by my 30th birthday in June 2012. I completed my first race, a 5k obstacle/mud race in Oct '11, and have since done two 5K races.

I've started increasing distance and training toward my triathlon goal...the Iron Girl in Atlanta in May 2012. I get bored easily, so I decided that races along the way would be good for me to keep the momentum going. However, how much is too much? I have another obstacle race and a 10K scheduled in March, which will be right around when I plan on transitioning from my typical running/strength training routine to doing legit triathlon training.

I also wanted to do a half-marathon since I discovered that I actually like running more than expected, but the one I've chosen is 4 weeks prior to my Iron Girl. I have heard many people tell me they trained for both a half-marathon and sprint triathlon, so I feel like it's do-able if I do it right. I was hoping to do another shorter sprint triathlon on my 30th birthday weekend (since there happens to be one)...but it's only 3 weeks after the Iron Girl. Is that too soon? I just need advise on training or balancing my races so I don't get in over my head!

Stephanie from Georgia


Hi Stephanie,

Thank you for emailing your question to TriathaNewbie.com and we're very proud of you for taking in such a challenge for your 30th birthday!

This is a really tough question because the answer would be based on how you feel during the course of your training and competing. As you mentioned, it's important to have a balance between training, competing and recovery in order to stay healthy, so you have to be careful that you are training and scheduling your events correctly.

Let's break this down. Say you choose your Iron Girl race to be your focus; the 10k obstacle would be no problem because it falls fairly early during your training. The half marathon is what we would be concerned with. If you could restrain yourself and use it as a practice run, we think the race would be fine, but if you are out to break personal records, we suggest you skip it. Where it falls only three weeks before your focus race (Iron Girl), you would need to be recovering from the half instead of tapering for your Iron Girl, and that would not allow you to compete at peak performance for your focus race.

Once you've competed in your Iron Girl, you will need a recovery period. This is the variable because everyone needs a different amount of recovery time and it is based on how you physically feel - not mentally feel. Sometimes we are on a mental high from a race and it clouds our perception on how we physically feel. Yes, you can compete in the sprint triathlon, but you want to make sure you're feeling good enough. Be honest with yourself so you can avoid injury.

In a nutshell:

  • March - 10k obstacle (yes, as a training run)
  • April - Half Marathon (yes; only if used as a training run)
  • Taper (allow your muscles to rebuild for peak performance)
  • May - Iron Girl (focus race)
  • Recovery
  • May - Sprint Triathlon (yes; if you're feeling up for it)

Please let us know how all of your races go. We'd love to share your story with our readers.

Be well,

Staff, TriathaNewbie.com

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