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Triathlon Coach Dawn Stevenson

Preparing for Triathlon Season: Let’s Get Physical

When it’s 10 degrees and snowing outside, triathlon season may feel far away, but now is the time to start thinking about races. The first thing to do before you even start physically preparing for triathlon season is to schedule your annual race plan.

If you’re doing more than one race, planning your season will help you prioritize workouts and events through the year. Choose 1-2 “A” races (your longest and/or most important race, such as a championship) and fill in “B” and “C” races considering your build for the A races. Add vacation, busy work periods, and estimates of hours each week you can train.

Now that you know the which and when of your triathlon season, here are good practices and routines to follow as you get closer to your first race:

Ramp Up Interval Training

Generally your training should get more race-specific the closer you get to the season, particularly “A” races. With the base you’ve built over the winter, you’ll now want to add in more speed work in all three disciplines to train your fast-twitch muscle fibers for race day.

Test Your Race-Day Speed

Do a fun trail race, a swim meet, or a solo time trial on the bike. You won’t be at peak fitness yet, but race scenarios can help you gauge your progress and help you set realistic goals for the season. If you train with power on the bike, now is the time for a Functional Threshold Power test!

Refine Your Diet

Off season is a time to indulge and get off of a schedule. Approaching your first race, though, focus on eating for performance: lots of produce, healthy fats, carbs around workouts vs. as midnight snacks, and appropriate portion sizes. Longer workouts will require eating during training, so stock up on nutrition now and test any new products (before race day!). lets you mix and match healthy bars, electrolyte blends, protein powders and snacks in a custom box. For easy athlete-oriented recipes, try a cookbook from The Feed Zone’s collection.

See Your Chiropractor

Ignoring lower back pain or favoring one side while running? Don’t start the season injured! Even a minor pain could cause issues as your training volume increases, so visit Capitol Rehab of Arlington now. Chiropractic isn’t just for your back and neck — an adjustment can correct a whole range of problem areas.

Join a Team or Train With a Group

A commitment to a group holds you accountable, keeps training fun, and connects you with people you can learn from. DC Triathlon and Team Z are always taking new members; there are smaller teams as well. Alternately, join a track group such as Capital Area Runners or a Masters swim team, many of which welcome a range of ability levels.

Consider Hiring a Coach

Personalized coaching is the best way to reach the next level in any sport. A coach can work with you to develop a custom training plan, address your limiters, and train and race smarter while avoiding injury. Whether you’re racing your first Olympic distance or Ironman triathlon, or trying to qualify for a championship event, do some research to find a coach who can guide you along the way.

Here’s to a strong 2016 season!

Learn more about the fundamentals of breaking into the triathlon scene.

Codeon Coaching in an Arlington-based team offering customized training plans and coaching services for triathletes and runners. Coach Dawn Stevenson, cofounder of Codeon Coaching, is a top tier Age Group triathlete, long-time swim instructor, and USAT Level I Certified Triathlon Coach who has raced numerous triathlons, including two Ironmans and seven 70.3s; more than 40 road and trail races; open water swims and endurance cycling events. Coach Dawn is on the board of the Ignite Endurance triathlon team. She specializes in coaching women, newer triathletes, and athletes looking to improve running speed over longer distances. Contact Coach Dawn Stevenson at

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