Beginner Question: Tapering Between Sprint Triathlons

author : Amy Kuitse
comments : 0

Are these races too close together to give me any sort of recovery? Will I be spent and unhappy racing back to back weekends and then again two weeks after that?

Member Question

This is my first year of triathlon. I am currently just training and having a great time just trying to drop some weight. I have signed up for the Crabman Sprint in RI for July 26th. I also just noticed there is the Naval Station Newport Sprint Triathlon on August 2nd that I would love to sign up for. Finally there is the Wild Dog Tri on August 16th that I am considering too.


Are these races too close together to give me any sort of recovery? Will I be spent and unhappy racing back to back weekends and then again two weeks after that? I believe this is the first year of the Crabman and I have heard the Newport race is a really great and well run race. I am just worried I am being too ambitious and will pay dearly in the end. I look forward to your replies and thanks in advance.



WELCOME TO TRIATHLON!!! You will continue to have a great time and grow to enjoy the sport more each year. The races that you talk about are pretty close together, but I also think are manageable for you to do all three because of the distances. Another important aspect that will allow you to complete the three races, will be how you approach the recovery and training between each.

Before providing some training recommendations and a recovery week for you I would like to share why I think you can manage these three races and the benefits you will find from participating in them. With the first tri being so new you may find yourself “watching” as much as participating. There is so much going on that you will want to see how other people do things. For example, how people set-up transition, put on their wetsuit, different equipment, what they do for race day nutrition, etc. The first race is a big learning experience, as are others that follow, but the first one is, well let’s just’s the first one.  This is the one that gets the wheels rolling for all the races that follow. It is the start of your journey in triathlon.

With the first race and the next two to follow you will have a great opportunity to meet new people, learn from folks who have been in triathlon for years, meet “beginners” like yourself, and make connections with other triathletes who may become training partners and long time friends. These things are why I think it is “manageable” and worthwhile to make adjustments in your training plan to accommodate these 3 races that are within four weeks of each other. Making connections with other triathletes is one of the best ways we learn about the sport. It is the sharing of ideas, recommendations about different equipment, nutrition, etc. that helps us grow into the sport.

Growing does not mean having to be in the top 10 of your age group or being on the podium in races you participate in. It is about learning more about the sport, gaining more confidence in YOUR ability, meeting your goals, and continuing to “have a great time” like you have already mentioned. Growth in the sport should be what you want from it and relative to who you are. So, here are some recommendations below on how you can set-up a recovery week following the first race.

Sun: Race Day #1
Monday: Easy 500 yds swim – active recovery day
Tuesday: Easy 30’ bike
Wednesday: Easy 30’ run with 4 x 20” strides over the last 10’ of the run
Thursday: Swim 1000yds as 200 warm-up(w/u), 4 x 50 as 25 hard, 25 easy on 20” rest; 5 x 100 at race pace on 30” rest; 100 easy cool-down(c/d).
Bike: 45’ Include warm-up and 3 x 2’ at race pace effort, 3’ easy between.
Friday: Off
Saturday: Pre-race routine. I would recommend using the same one you used for the first race.
Sunday: Race #2

Following this second race you may feel more of a need for a day off and a few very easy days. Then at the end of the week ramping things up a bit for preparation for the last race on August 16th. Here are some recommendations for a week coming off of the second race.

Sunday: Race #2
Monday: Day Off
Tuesday: Swim easy 500yds
Wednesday: Easy 30’ ride
Thursday: Easy 30” run
Friday: Swim 1000 yds as 200 w/u, 4 x 50 hard, 4 x 100 at race pace, 200 c/d
Saturday: 60-75’ bike with 5 x (4’ hard-race pace, 6’ easy); run-off easy for 7’
Sunday: 45’ run with a 10 minute effort in the middle of the run slightly faster than race pace.

From here you will head into your taper for your 3rd race, which can be exactly what you used for your first race, wrapping up a great few weeks of racing, training and fun.

All the best and again...WELCOME TO TRIATHLON!!!!



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date: June 3, 2009

Amy Kuitse