Planning your triathlon events when it’s just for fun

Lining up at the start of the Sandman Triathlon

As someone who happily plods round their triathlons, I hesitate to call my competitions “races”. Let’s face it, the only person I’m racing is myself (and possibly the handful of others vying for last place).

So I prefer to call them “events”. And I love them. For me, events are my reward for putting in all that training. The atmosphere, excitement and the buzz. I’d happily do one every weekend if only the body and budget would allow.

Planning my events for the year is usually one of my highlights. I’ll spend hours researching. Checking bike routes, reading reviews, debating how many I can cram into the summer months.

There is plenty of advice out there for triathletes planning their season. This usually involves working towards an “A” race and using others as training events to build up to the big day. Most tend to caution against entering too many races to avoid burnout and over training.


So how many events should you do over a season as a recreational triathlete?

However many you want (or can afford)!

If you’re doing triathlon for fun and you love events, why wouldn’t you do as many as you can?

That said, I will add a few caveats…….

This approach is fine if you’re happy to just get round. Pushing hard every weekend over the whole summer is going to take its toll on your mind and body. If you’re the type of person who can’t resist going for a PB every time then it may not be for you.

Consider the distances you are tackling. The longer the races, the more taper time and recovery you will need. Don’t skimp on this – it’s vital.

If you do have a race you particularly want to do well in, then treating this as your A race and taking a more conventional approach will give you better results. Especially if you are moving up to a longer distance.

Get to know your own body and the stress it can (or can’t) take.

Coming out of the triathlon swim

In 2019 Tail End Trier Jacky did 9 sprint triathlons, two 10k runs, a duathlon and three aquathlons! She says “I’m not quite sure why I ended up doing so many, I guess I realised how much fun it was to take part and enjoyed the atmosphere and excitement of a race. Also part of it may have been giving myself a challenge and seeing the benefits of increased fitness. I didn’t have a particular plan or schedule of what races to do, I just ended up finding some local races and some that fitted in with our calendar. In fact three of the pool sprint triathlons ended up being on consecutive weekends in September!”

I have to admit that schedule would wear me out. I generally aim for around 5 triathlons a year (mix of standard and sprint distance). Usually spaced as one per month from April to September with one month off for a rest (and a holiday). I might throw in a couple of other low key events such as a 10k run, aquathlon or swim.

So we are all different. Be proud to call yourself a triathlete whether you do one triathlon a year or ten. The only thing that matters is that you have fun.

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