Most triathletes, and probably you, have an "A" race in mind for this season. It's THE race. The one you're looking to go farther or faster than ever or to finish on the podium or qualify for an even bigger race next season, etc.
One of the most important components of my "build" leading to my "A" race is...racing. Races are just that - races. They're fun, fast and a great time to socialize with friends while you test yourself against the clock or distance.
But, races are more than that. A LOT more. Races are the best workout you'll do that week or maybe over a two or three week period. It's kind of funny. Someone just says, "On your mark. Get set. GO!," or, "Three, two, one, GO!" and suddenly you're pushing harder that you'd ever push on your own. Thus, it's the best workout you can do. Full recovery must, of course, take place to see the gains you want to see, but racing will make you sharper than anything else.
I've got just under six weeks until USAT National Championships here in Omaha. I'm racing four of those weekends. I can be in good shape, race shape or top-end shape. The way I get to top form/speed is through racing. It's the best workout I do!!