Great question! As I stated in the Kick Off Meeting, I am not a fan of ‘training through’ races. No one wants to head to the starting line worn down, increase their risk for injury and end up not having a great race. That said, you have to remember that overarching goal and how this training plan was written….to have you ready to race a Half Ironman!
This training plan is not a tailored training plan incorporating other races. Thus, like injury/illness, etc, this is your responsibility to adjust appropriately (or have some have done and work individually with me to customize it for you). We talked about that if you ‘miss’ a priority workout (long bike in particular), you must adjust accordingly before and/or after to account for missing it. Therefore you need to look forward and adjust so you are not missing a priority long ride and then jumping to a distance that is too significant. This greatly increases your risk of injury. However you must make sure that you are not doing more than 3 weeks of build weeks in a row (ie 3 longer rides on back to back weekends) before a recovery week (or taper for a race, etc).
If your training plan calls for a progressively longer ride, then you either need to adjust or do your long ride. These are the priority workouts in order to have you ready for your Half Ironman. Thus if you can’t move your long ride that you continually progress safely for the next 3 weekends, then the long ride must take priority. You can still ‘race’ but don’t push your hardest. Pick a mid zone 3 HR (HIM targets) and try to execute on them in a shorter course race. It’s excellent practice that takes skill. So you can still use the race setting to your advantage (and still being able to participate) without ‘racing’ it.
In addition, I create the training plans so there is some flexibility here. For example, if you are missing a 3:45 long ride, look ahead as the next build cycle might ask for a 3:45 ride. If so, then you can race knowing that you still are covering this distance in an upcoming workout.
While I always recommend a tune up race before your goal race, this training plan is not designed for it (given that everyone is on a different schedule for a different goal race and interested in a different tune up race. It would be impossible to account for these tune up races). So if you want to race, be sure that your HIM training comes first. If you can adjust to account for your tune up race, race! If you cannot, then get in your long ride on Saturday and then participate in the race on Sunday but practice proper pacing, gain OWS practice, etc. You can always gain a ton of good experience from a race setting without redlining it the whole way 🙂
Look forward to seeing some of you this coming weekend at Peasantman. I am leading the run performance and nutrition clinics.