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Two Races in Three weeks

How to Recover and Stay Sharp Between Olympic Distance races.

One of the biggest dilemmas for an athlete who has a full race schedule is how to recover from one race yet still be as fresh and fast as possible for the next.  For arguments sake, we will use the example of two Olympic distance races that are two weeks apart.  This topic can be tricky because there are a lot of factors that will play in to each individual athlete’s recovery time.  Keeping some of these factors in mind, this article will demonstrate a comprehensive plan that will show you how to recover yet still stay sharp for your next event.

First of all, some of the factors that can affect recovery are an athlete’s age, generally the older you get the longer it will take you to recover.  The race conditions and terrain can affect recovery such as a hard course and/or inclement weather.  Your intensity and effort will also play a role.  The harder you race, the longer it may take you to recover.  Another influence on your recovery is making sure you intake the proper nutrition pre, during, and post race.  Becoming and staying dehydrated or not in taking appropriate nutrients post event can be a negative factor in your recovery from a race.  Lastly, how fit you are and your racing experience will affect your recovery.  Generally, when your body has adapted to racing it will recover faster.

Recovery doesn’t just consist of rest and putting your feet up.  Athletes should also be diligent about helping themselves to recover with adequate nutrition throughout their training.  Finding the right sports drink with the ideal combination of protein and carbs can make a big difference in your recovery from training and racing.  Conversely, eating appropriately before, after, and in between workouts is also essential.  Getting massages and taking ice baths after really hard efforts and/or races are excellent.  They may not feel good at the time but they will have a positive effect on your muscles.

With all of that in mind, below is a sample of a two week plan for an intermediate to advanced triathlete that is between two races in which they plan to race at the same intensity.  The two main things to focus on when looking at this schedule are firstly; to make sure your recovery workouts are just that, recovery.  It’s easy to get over excited during race season but you must bring the intensity down when it’s called for.  Your recovery is crucial to your success!  The other concern is to focus on the race like efforts.  This is where you can simulate racing again and such visualization is a great tool for preparing to race.  Make sure you get full recovery on the interval efforts.  These intervals are to remind your body what you expect from it and to maintain peak fitness, not necessarily build at this time.

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday



Ride a 30-60 min. easy spin on the bike to loosen up legs and prevent lactic acid buildup


For recovery.   Do a little bit of walking and stretching (active recovery)


45 min. recovery swim with drills to refocus on your technique


Ride 1:15 and include a few accelerations to test the legs (6 x 1 min. with 3 min. rest)

SWIM include some endurance sets at steady pace. Try 2 x 200 (30 sec.) 2 x 300 (30 sec.) 1 x 500 BRICK Aerobic base ride for about 2 hours with 2 x 15 min. steady sections in the middle.  The rest should be easy! Try to ride terrain of your next race. 20 min. Run off the bike as 10 min. tempo, 10 min. easy RUN

Aerobic base run for 1 hour all easy.


Recovery jog later in the day about 30 min.


Later in the day 45 min. include some accelerations (4-5 x 30 sec. with 2 min. rest)


later in the day, include some pacing sets to maintain speed. 4 x {2 x 50 (10 sec.) 100 (15 sec.)}



Key workout for next race.  Try a back to back brick effort. 2-3 sets of a 5km ride followed by a 1km run at race pace


Make sure to include a few higher intensity intervals with full recovery. 6 x 50 as 25 fast/25 easy, then 10 x 100 at race pace + with 30 sec. rest


Ride 1 hour with some super short race pace bursts.  6 x 30 sec. fast with 2 min. recovery.


of a short 15 min. open water swim, a 30 min. ride and a 20 min. run all with 4-5 short race pace efforts and full recovery in between


later in the day 30 min.

This schedule is designed to get you recovered from your first race but keep you sharp for your next one.  Bear in mind that every race can’t be your goal event and your coach may have to redesign a schedule like this if these are training races or potentially your “A” races.  The goal is to get adequate rest for the effort that was exerted yet train hard enough so your body doesn’t feel flat but in race ready condition for round two.  Good luck!

LifeSport triathlon coach Jessica Adam has been a coach in Victoria, Vancouver and now resides in the Toronto area. She loves to share her years of experience with beginner triathletes and also experienced triathletes that are trying new distances like ½ IM or IM for the first time. She coaches athletes online all across the country.

If you are interested in working with Jess, write Jess@LifeSportCoaching.com