At about this time of the year it's time to start thinking about how many, what and when you want to race. You don't need to plan out every race of the entire season. However, as training becomes more race specific, it's a good idea to give your coach an indication on where you're headed in terms of what races you are targeting. And it's a good idea for you to have some specific races and future glories in mind to help pull yourself through those hard training sessions! How often you race is largely up to the individual. Some triathletes like to race lots, some like to focus on one important event. Finances and family factor into the decision making as well.
Simple as A, B, C.
There are a couple of guidelines that can help to construct a successful season and keep you motivated. Rate the importance of your races as "A", "B" or "C". I like to think 1 to 3 "A" races are optimal in a season. In the Northern Hemisphere there tends to be a glut of races around May and June and then again around September. Picking an "A" race for each mini-season can work really well from a training perspective. It allows you a long build up period using targeted preparation races ("B" races), then you can take a mid-season break before building up to the next "A" race. "C" races can be single sport races to keep you motivated in the off-season or triathlons purely for fun during the season.
For more ideas on race season planning click here. One of the most comprehensive U.S. triathlon calendars is www.trifind.com but you can Google triathlon and running calendars for more. Go inspire yourself!