The ABC of planning your triathlon race season

Heard the terms 'A' and 'B' races and unsure what they mean and the role they, along with 'C', races play in planning your triathlon season? Here we explain the differences between the three and how you use them to structure your season and peak at the right times

We explain the differences between your 'A', 'B' and C races

So you’ve taken the first step and signed up to your first triathlon. But how do you maintain motivation to train for the next few months? If your goal event is in August, for example, that’s a long time to keep at it, so to speak. But by integrating smaller races into your build-up, you’ll give yourself a series of morale-boosting short-term targets to aim for. Here, we introduce the A-to-C model and the three key types of goal to help you achieve a successful triathlon season.



The ‘A’ race is your priority event(s); this is the one that gets you excited and gives your year true meaning. For most of us, this will be in the second half of the season and involve a taper (where you reduce your training in the lead-up week). It’s also where you intend to peak from your training and B/C races.


‘B’ races are events that you’d like to do well in but don’t possess the importance of A.

You can also simply pencil in one. If your goal race is the Olympic-distance at The London Triathlon in August, for example, competing in the Blenheim Sprint come early June would be perfect. It’d stimulate those racing synapses, give you an idea of where your performance is, but not leave you physically and mentally battered for London.


Finally, the ‘C’ races. In the triathlon sense of the word, these are either done for ‘fun’, act as a progress report or a final short hit before your ‘A’ race. Here you can deviate from the multisport path, planning a series of single-sport events that’ll be less debilitating, time-consuming and, in all honesty, cheaper to enter. They’re also perfect if you’re focusing on a sole discipline for a training block.


How that A-C model plays out is purely individual. E.g., if an open-water sprint event’s your goal race, an outdoor swim to acclimatise to the specifics of swimming outside is a wise idea.

How to plan your triathlon season and build new season fitness