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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- I also want to have fun. For the January-February timeframe I might do a random local 5K or 10K – something off the cuff.
- 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:
- http://www.racepacket.com (tons of running races)
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!