Not every race can be epic. Sometimes it is nice to throw on a number and test your mettle. There are various reasons to compete in a “throw away” race (a.k.a. a “C” Race) you don’t necessarily care about. Here are a couple.
THE MIND GAME
Even the most experienced athletes get the yips sometime. Making your race day routine a habit – from breakfast to prerace warm up – will ease some of the nervousness when the day comes for your marquee race.
If you’re short-distance runner, it’s not too hard to check your development by competing at the full distance of your race since you will likely be recovered 48 hours later. However, if your “A” race is a marathon or Olympic-distance tri, the idea of doing your race before your race could be too hard on your body. Instead, find a shorter repeatable distance to complete at. For triathletes this could include a 10k run or a 20-40k cycling timetrial. This type of “C” race could be repeated throughout the season to check for improvement.
You can average 1:10/100 in the pool? Great. What can you do when it’s full contact swimming and there are no lane lines? And you can average 22 mph on the bike? Sweet. How many 90 degree turns riding four abreast does that pace include? You get the idea.
Putting all your new toys to the test!
Go out fast then settle in. No, hold back then kick it in. Wait, I mean crush the middle third. Every body operates differently. In the laboratory of your home gym it always works out. On course? Not always. If you screw up a C Race because of a strategic error you can laugh at it afterwards. If you screw up you A Race because of a strategic error you’ll relive the race for the entire next off season.
Every year my athletes ask me if they can do a Team Ortho event because they giveaway the coolest schwag or Tough Mudder because their spouse challenged them or some small town charity race because they grew up there. As long as the race is safe, why not? Allegedly we are supposed to enjoy what we do with our spare time.