Levent Ozturk
A few weeks before racing, you should reduce the amount of time and distance you are training at and concentrate on speed. You can do this by doing shorter, more intense workouts. Races used as practice are also useful. Do some short cycling time trials or running races, especially if you're having trouble motivating yourself to train - they can be fun and a good workout at the same time. You should be doing some training in heart rate zones I and II to keep your endurance, but a good portion of your training will be in heart rate zone IV.

The idea of peaking is that you have the endurance base necessary to finish the race, now is the time to work on performance.

Depending on the distance of the race, you need to take a few easy days or more to allow your body to be fully recovered and refueled for the race. Everyone is different - some people need weeks of rest, others can train right up to the day of the race and still perform well. A good sign of how rested you are is your morning heart rate. If it's higher than normal or your legs feel heavy and sluggish, you probably should train lightly or not at all in order to be prepared for the race. A good rule of thumb for longer distance races such as marathons or Ironman triathlons is to reduce your training time with two weeks to go before the event to about 70%, and with one week to go reduce your training even further to about 30% of your normal time.

If you're racing every weekend, you really don't need to worry about adding much Intensity to your workouts during the Racing season. Races can be your hard workout - train lightly to keep active and to keep your endurance between races. If you're not racing much, you need to keep doing some hard workouts or race simulation to keep in race-shape.
As far as what to do during an actual race, experience is the best factor. Some helpful hints for a triathlon are listed below: After the race evaluate your performance. Did you meet your goal, whether it was to run a certain time, place overall, or just to finish? If you didn't, try not to be negative about it. Rather, ask yourself what can you do to improve next time and then work at it. Remember to keep a healthy perspective about triathlon and how it fits into your overall life.

This period follows the racing season and gives your body the time it needs to fully recover from the abuse it took from racing. You shouldn't become a couch potato, or you have to start from ground zero next year. Do easy training. Take time to try other sports. Lift weights to rebuild strength in muscles that you do not use swimming, biking, or running (e.g. your abdominals). Don't worry about losing some fitness, but try to keep off any unnecessary pounds.

This is also the time to evaluate your plan. Did you meet your goals? Were they too high or too low? Start planning for next year. If you were injured, look at your training log to find things you should avoid. (Did you do four days of running in a row when you had only been used to doing two?)

After recovering, you are ready to start the whole cycle over again, beginning with creating a new plan for the next season.
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