You may have noticed things have been quiet around here over the last month. I would say that was intentional… but that would kinda be lying a bit. The month of July has been crazy for me, and that’s normal for my job (I’m a Youth Pastor… summer means we throw the schedule in the trash as soon as we make it and pack in as much as we can while school is out!) This past month we’ve had a Community Outreach Week, a trip to an amusement park, a week-long trip to Atlanta, GA (Go Braves!!) and various other things thrown in like planning for the start of the school year,  family coming to town, and even church softball.

With all that craziness, my triathlon focus went out the door. I was able to keep up my bike rides for the most part. Runs were cut short, and swimming… well… I only swam 3 times in the month of July.

That put me down the path of thinking about season planning. We all know when our busy time of year is. If you’re in retail, Black Friday to New Years is your time. If you are in Education, the start and end of the school year are your time. I’m not going to go through them all, but you know what your time is. Since you know it, you should also take a look at your triathlon (or individual sport) season and plan accordingly. Here are 4 ways you can help ease that tension between life and triathlon life by planning ahead.

1. Don’t plan a race during your busiest time

This one should be obvious. If you know you’re going to be busy in the summer, don’t plan a summer race. You need to give yourself that time to focus on work or family without the stress of a race hanging over your head.

Summer is an awesome time to race. In my area, June and July host a lot of races, but it’s just not possible for me to make it there and stay sane in the process. So I pick an A race in April/May and another in September/ October. Which brings me to my next point.

2. Split your season in two

Since my busy time is the summer, it makes sense for me to split my season in two. I’ve got the first part of the season from January to May where I build to my first race of the season. Duathlons normally are the name of the game here.

I then take a week or two (usually graduation time anyway) to reset and then jump right back in. I’ll usually meander a long and build ever so slightly on my fitness from the spring and then hit my busy month (July) where everything goes out the window. Then I get back on the horse and build to my September/October A race. With planning like that you don’t have to be afraid to take that downtime.

3. Don’t be afraid to take some down time

Down time is ok. It’s needed actually! You need to step back and reevaluate everything. Focus on work, family, social life, whatever it is. If you planned right, you won’t lose too much fitness for your next race because you gave yourself time to rebuild.

4. Give yourself room to rebuild

Even if you didn’t split your season neatly in half like I did, you still can allow yourself time to rebuild. A month and a half would be the minimum I would give myself to rebuild after taking a month or so off. If you just miss a week or two, you can get away with less. More than that and you need more time to rebuild.

That’s what I’ve got to work with, but September if your busy month. In that case you could look at a November/ December race. (Ironman Cozumel anyone??) Just look at the calendar and find what works for you. There is no one answer to everyone.

How do you build your season? Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments or on twitter and let’s keep the conversation going!