Triathlon training has seasons just like any other sport. Sports such as football, basketball, and baseball have a fixed series of months that their sport plays games and then there is an end of season championship. Triathlon does the same thing. Since triathlon is an individual sport there are multiple different events to enter and multiple different types of championships. The same is true for all of these, they all have seasons.
Offseason or Out-of-Season
The first season is the offseason or some call the out season. This is the time to work on specific skills in your triathlon training. It is a time to increase rest and possible cross-train with other sports. You can also enjoy more family time and leisure time. The offseason is a great time to get stronger through strength training that you do not have time for during the season. You can also shop around for better equipment. The offseason is not meant to just take off from triathlon and to sit on the couch, however. You do not want to lose all of your gains from any previous seasons.
Base Building Season
The base building season comes in several weeks before you are ready to race. This is a time to train specifically in your running, swimming, and biking areas. You will want to spend much of your workout time in your zone 2 or zone 3 heart rate zones. This is a time to build your 'aerobic engine' for the season coming up. I have heard it said that building your aerobic engine is like upgrading your car from a hatchback to a Lamborghini. You will need a larger aerobic base to compete in the longer triathlon races.
This particular season can be a bit monotonous and boring. You may not feel much in terms of gains in your performance. You rarely test yourself during this season to see how well you will do in future races. The key is to have a disciplined mindset that what you do during this base building season will translate into incredible gains during the season.
Once you discover which race/races you are going to compete in first you can determine your competitive season. The length of training plans vary based upon the distance of the race you are competing in. Training plans could be 6 to 20 weeks in length. Whichever training plan you choose will determine when you start training for a specific race. This will also be your competitive season start. Unlike some of the other sports, triathlon is an individual sport and has races in all 12 months of the year depending on your location. So, your season will be an individual season.
The competitive season of training is usually a mixture of high-intensity training sessions that are shorter and long training sessions that are of lower intensity. This particular season will produce the most dramatic gains in your physical fitness. You will discover that this particular season can be very difficult and it will be of paramount importance that you get enough rest and eat a good diet during this season.
Obviously, there will be a period of time during any given year that will be your racing season. You might have one race or 10 races or more. There is typically an abundance of races that you can participate in throughout your area. The time in between races is usually not enough for a full competitive season plan, so the racing season is filled with pieces of the competitive plan. You will want to determine which race or races during a season that you are targeting to do your best in. This is your 'A' race. You may have other races along the way but the 'A' is will be your primary target. Racing season is fun and filled with action. After all, the racing season is the fruit of all your other seasons together.
Each season is unique in triathlon training. Enjoy them all for their unique style.