Finalizing the list and checking it thirty billion times

It’s not even the end of the race year yet – and I’m already putting on the finishing touches for next year.

One of the sucky things (actually, really the only sucky thing) about triathlons is how early the races sellout.  Of course, everyone knows that the major North America Ironman races sell out within hours of opening – and a year in advance too.  But what many folks don’t realize is that many of the more popular regional races also sell out within hours or days of opening.  Thus the necessity of figuring out the major chunks of the schedule for next year.  A number of races begin to open now through December.

I started almost two months ago – mostly in my head first.  And then over the last month I’ve cracked open my massive Excel sheet with all sorts of races from the past three years in it.  In that I add interesting races whenever I hear about them, and then come this time of year I can start to narrow down the list.


(You can see my multiple duplicates for both this past year and next year, I use grey to indicate races crossed off the list, and I have a priority system.  The sheet goes on for quite a ways.  Also note, I’ve changed up some stuff on the upper half, so it’s in flux still.)

So what’s going into my race pickens for next year?

  1. Most important – what are my “A” races for next year?  For me, that’s crystal clear: Ironman Canada (Aug 30) and Ironman 70.3 Rhode Island (Mid-July).  But what are my goals?  How does that influence races leading up to it?  Well…my goals are also pretty clear: Kona and Clearwater.  I came sooooo close this year to Clearwater (one cookie tossing incident away), so I really want to go for that.  And Kona is still up there and if I can lock down my run (aka: intake nutrition) – I think that’s a definite possibility.
  2. What are other major races I want to do?  For me, that’s the Boston Marathon.  While I haven’t quite qualified yet – that’s two weeks from now – I’m feeling fairly confident that baring injury or kamikaze squirrels I’ll be able to hit the 3:10:59 qualifying time.  However, I plan to enjoy the Boston Marathon experience – and not worry about trying to set a PR there.  That decision therefore allows me to concentrate more evenly on cycling/swimming/running in what would otherwise be another marathon build phase.
  3. With those two major items out of the way it comes down to picking races for the rest of the year in between the other items.  I want build races – so some form of Oly distance (or maybe even an easy 70.3) in early June.  And then leading up to Boston I want a half-marathon or similar distance – again – build events.
  4. I also want to have fun.  For the January-February timeframe I might do a random local 5K or 10K – something off the cuff.
  5. Post-Ironman Canada it’s a tricky schedule.  I’m going to have to potentially double-book stuff.  For example, I want to do the Nation’s Tri again – which is Sept 14th.  Obviously if I do well enough at IMC I’m going to need to skip Nation’s.  Same goes for some races in Oct/November that I want to do.  The key is I have multiple plans depending on race results.

Here’s a few difference resources I’ve been using though to look-up races.  Note that some races haven’t announced/published when the race is next year, so I often use the 2008 schedule to get an approximate date (and flag it as such in my sheet).

Here’s some DC-Metro/Virginia/Maryland Companies with lots of events:

One other way I find events is reading peoples race reports.  Places like the DCTri Forums, and the TriFuel forums are great for that.  It also helps as they offer the athletes view – separated from the typical  marketing sites the races put up.

Oh, one last thing.  I use Outlook reminders to put in my calendar when a race options for registration.  For example, I had a reminder on Monday morning for the Philly Tri – and I have a reminder in December for the Nation’s Tri.  Both being races that expect to sell out quickly.  Good luck!


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  1. That is a crazy list. I havn’t even given a single moment’s thought to next year’s schedule (mostly because I can’t because I don’t know where I’ll be living or what days I’ll be working).

    Good luck with your extensive organazing and scheduling!

  2. Wow. That is Crazy Awesome! You will be on fire next year! You are so on top of things I wish I was that organized.

  3. I’m glad that here in Iowa, no one sells out that quickly! Some races you have to commit a month or two in advance, but many of them you can register day of…

  4. Great post I just was going to ask what are your plans for next season. I am just on recovery mode but I was giving a thought about it because everything sells out really quick

  5. Yet another reason why I love our Vineman race here in NorCal – you can sign up just a few weeks ahead of time!

    You’ve definitely got a Boston qualifier in you this month. Race smart and have fun.

  6. Ah, the life of a high achiever! You are going to have an incredible 2009.

  7. Um, to Donald…which Vineman are you talking about? The 70.3 fills up pretty fast. Maybe you’re talking about the one a couple weeks later? And, where do you live? I’m a Santa Rosan!

    ANYWAY, back to responding to your POST, Rainmaker…;)

    I always knew you were organized, efficient and pretty on top of things…but this just grounds on obsessive? j/k. 😉 I love to tease. It’s whatever floats your boat, and I admire your organization. But anyway, I hate that sell-out factor, it bugs the crap out of me. That’s why I decided most of the races I do next year will be more local stuff that i can sign up for 2 months beforehand.


    YES YOU CAN!!!


  8. Mmmmmm, so boxy.
    I love the anal rententive XLS-ness of it all.

    Good luck at Boston and I expect you’ll qualify for Kona next year.

  9. You should totally do a blog post on the inner workings of that Excel Spreadsheet!


  10. Dude that is rather insane. But then I did try to set up my Army Unit’s training weekends around my best guesstimates of when races would occur.

  11. You would like Clearwater! I had a blast racing there last year and I got a HUGE PR as well.

    You need to make sure that you have time to rebuild and work back up to be race ready again in October or November.

    You are a good planner so I am sure you will have no problem organizing it all.

  12. I have on retainer….several snipers who can…if you just say the ready when you try to qualify for boston…ready to do their duty and take out ANY squirrel that even for a second, thinks about messing with you….

    just say the word

  13. Kim

    Hey thanks for the links, I’ve found a couple of races to check out!

  14. Montgomery County Road Runners Club has great random 5 and 10Ks to do… which are also dirt cheap to enter 🙂