What Are My Goals for Next Year?
This is an incredibly important question to ask yourself, as it should set the tone for your entire upcoming race season. If your goal is to make the leap from sprint to Olympic or Olympic to 70.3, that obviously has a significant bearing on your new training plan. Likewise, if you were happy with your bike and run but not the swim, there is one answer for how to spend the next few months of base training.
What Races Am I Going to Do?
There are triathletes who book their races just in time based on schedules, weather and other factors, but that often limits you to races that don't fill up and can make your training schedule hard to map. Most of you will be much better off if you identify some A-races now and circle those dates on the calendar. Being committed to a race helps you work backward on the schedule and makes a training plan almost write itself.
Once you've answered these questions, you're ready to sketch out your training plan. Remember, your training plan is not just about the intense period leading up to the races, but should also include how you want to spend the winter as well as your base building period.
Work in segments of speed work, tapering around races and easy weeks. It's also a good opportunity to look at your work, school or vacation schedule to be sure your training plan can co-exist with other things happening in your life. While you don't have to be overly rigid about it, being intentional about your training year-round will produce better results, help you achieve your goals, and help keep you healthy and injury-free.
Search for your A race.