Tri Coach Tuesday: Race More

by Billy Edwards

Over the past few years, I have noticed a trend to get hyper-focused on training specifically for one event. To a fault, coaches get hired with the intent or goal of a season ending event like an ironman, half ironman or national or regional championship. Travel time and expenses of the event coupled with the pressure to produce a result by the athlete and sometimes the coach become the focus. The end-state or goal becomes singularly a place or a qualification or a time.

The proverbial journey should outweigh the destination. As a coach and athlete, I have seen the pitfalls of this kind of thinking. There ends up being so much pressure to produce that if the one event does not have achievement, the season is seen as failure. Development of the athlete as a whole should be the focus; results are a nice bonus and achievable if the proper development occurs.

I would implore both coaches and athletes to look to the local race calendar as a supplement to not only the training and skill development but also to have fun along the way. Quite often an athlete and coach get worried about how an additional race can take-away from focused training. However, when scheduled properly, even a local Dash N’ Dine 5k or Stroke n’ Stride can be shuffled into the overall development equation. These kinds of gatherings to be with like-minded people are the best part of our sport.

Goals can be shifted to individual sport effort, pacing, and skill development. A weekend local triathlon does not need to be done on rented race wheels or at peak condition. The athlete and coach can establish individual sport and skill goals that work to develop the athlete as a whole.

-Did the athlete best navigate the swim course?
-Given racing inspires better bike position- is a current fit comfortable?
-Did the athlete stay aero through particularly technical section of course?
-Were run race flats comfortable (without socks)? Was bike nutrition found to be sufficient for a good run?

Note that none of these focuses involved time or place and can be at least qualitatively measured. Plus, they are important for future events and overall athlete development.

Now, that I have made these recommendations, go look at the 303 Race Calendar and sign up for an upcoming triathlon or even swim or aquathon event and get it incorporated into the fun development journey of our sport.

Billy Edwards lives in Niwot and coaches the Collegiate National Champions, US Naval Academy Triathlon Team. Billy focuses on having performance development in sport complement life. USAT Level II and Youth and Junior Elite Coach, USAC Level II @billythekidtri or or

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