Finding Your Triathlon DNA

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photo credit: Andrew Stawarz

Triathlon is an incredibly socially-motivated sport. The values and input of our peers play a significant role in terms of how we as triathletes train and race…almost to a fault. There’s nothing wrong with trying to keep up with Mr. or Mrs. Jones, but if you are going to be a successful triathlete, you’ll need to find your own path.

Look at it this way: if your training partner showed up at your workplace and started talking about how he works and what has made him successful, you’d probably tell him to get lost. But put that same conversation on a bike, and focus the topic on your next race…and you soak the words up like gospel.

A large part of your triathlon journey is about constructing your own unique story. Like any good writer, this story will be flavored by who you know, and the context within which you live. But at the same time, everything needs to have your own unique spin on it.

Here are some things to consider as you continue your triathlon evolution:

  • Becoming confident at re-mixing the lessons learned from other folks is equally important as experimenting with what you consider to be immutable.
  • Your hunger to learn should be as strong as your desire to train.
  • Nothing “works” until you have actually done it yourself in training or racing, preferably in training first!
  • What sounds too good to be true, probably is.
  • The longer you play the triathlon game, the better you’ll become. Seek gains, but not at the expense of long-term progress.
  • Successful racing and successful training are two entirely different things; mastering both is incredibly difficult.
  • Encourage and facilitate changes in your fitness…don’t force it.
  • If everything you are doing isn’t working, then you need to try something else.

What other big picture pieces of advice would you offer to a new long-course triathlete? Please post them in the comments below!


Coach P

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