What’s the Deal with A, B & C Races in Triathlon?

When planning out your race season triathletes usually schedule several races, each with a different level of priority. For example, “A,” B,” and “C” races.  “A” races are typically top priority while “B” or “C” races are usually preparatory races before your BIG race.

Below I’m going explain what this all means as well as the importance of prioritizing races for your upcoming season.

ALL Races are Important, BUT…

If you’re going to put the effort into getting in shape for a triathlon, you mind as well do more than one race over the course of the season. After all, it takes a level of commitment to get in shape, so why not extend the fun beyond only one race – so long as you’re not racing EVERY week, but that’s a topic for a different day.

I often hear people debating the importance of prioritizing races. And while I don’t really care what notation one uses to dictate more important races than others (i.e. A, B, C races), there are 2 main reasons why athletes should prioritize their races each season.

And really quick, just so we’re clear, I DO think each race IS important in itself and I also believe you should ALWAYS do your absolute best on race day.

You Cannot ALWAYS Be in Tip Top Shape

Ok, so the first and most important reason for prioritizing races is that you need to understand you will NOT be in your BEST shape ALL season long. Even the best professional triathletes in the world target only a couple of races where they expect to be at their absolute best.

This is not to say you can’t be in really good shape and have a great race when you’re not in peak condition, but an athlete can usually only hit “peak fitness” 1 – 2 times, maybe 3 times per year depending on the length of their season.

Again, it is very possible to have outstanding results, for let’s say your “B” race, but from a fitness standpoint, you are likely not yet in tip top shape. At the same time, please don’t make excuses when you have a bad race – no one wants to hear, “it was only my B race” and obviously remember, you should always be giving it your all each time you race.

Work the Kinks Out

The other reason for prioritizing races is because the slightly lesser important races are actually extremely beneficial in your overall preparation for your BIGGER race or races.

They provide a perfect opportunity to practice things like your transitions, pacing, race nutrition and other race tactics you hope will be flawless for your top race of the year.

These are the types of things that can never perfectly be replicated in a training environment. Additionally, part of racing well, is learning how to deal with unexpected things that happen on race day and controlling your emotions as you work your way through them.

So by allowing yourself to have 2 to 3 races before the one you really want to CRUSH, you give yourself an opportunity to work the kinks out and put yourself in the best position possible when it really matters.

At the end of the day, whether you subscribe to the idea of A, B, and C priority races, I hope now you understand the reasoning and value behind this.

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