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Response to Anonymous

October 21, 2011
I think anyone that takes on the challenge of a triathlon has some sort of competitive nature inside them. You may be selling yourself short if you feel you do not have this. Tackling a triathlon is a very daunting task no matter what length (sprint, Olympic, half, full) you are trying to complete.

Every person has different motivation. Whether it be to lose a few pounds, tone up, meet new people or give yourself the sense of accomplishment and join the elite fratnerity of triathletes. USA Triathlon posted that in 2010, 1.4 million unique people competed in a triathlon- that is a small percentage of the country so completing a race in and of itself is a feat. Committing to your first race could lead you down a path you never thought possible. Chrissie Wellington (Kona’s Iron woman- 4x champion)started her meteoric rise in the sport when she began running a few miles to lose weight.

I speak from my motivational point of view because I know what pushes and drives me to be the best I can be. 90 percent of the people competing in a triathlon probably have their own view of success which doesn’t include winning their age group. It may include running more than walking on the final leg, it may be cycling faster than their previous time or even swimming with their head in the water. Although the overall winners are amazing athletes, so is the last person crossing the finish line.

Now that the season is over for most triathletes, you can reflect on the race(s) you have done and what you would like to improve on.The great thing about this sport, is no one ever masters every portion of the race. I missed my bike rack twice in my last triathlon.

I would recommend writing down your goals for 2012. Once they are in writing they are tough to ignore. Post them on your fridge, or on your desk at work. They will help you reach whatever goal you set for yourself. If you want to lose 5 pounds- the goal posted on the fridge may help you from over indulging or snacking late at night. If your goal is to run for an entire 5k then seeing that vision may help you get up on that Saturday morning to go run when it is easier to sleep in. The great thing about these changes and living a more healthy lifestyle is it will give you more energy in all facets of life, create discipline, inspire others and lead to a happier you.

In response to, “What else can we use as a focus if not the person about to take us over in the race?”

I return to the 90 percent rule (this is a guestimation in my mind). This is the percentage of people in a race just trying to reach their personal goal not win the race. These are people competing against themselves and no one else on the course.

Also, remember in a wave start, these people all started at different times so you cannot gauge your performance based on someone passing you (easier said than done).

I know the sound of footsteps creeping up on you makes everyone tense and look back because in a triathlon overtaking someone that has previously passed you almost never happens. You have to remember that you cannot race someone else’s race- you have to stay committed to yours. Too many times I hear people say I started to swim too fast and got tired quickly or I tried to keep up with someone on the bike and it killed my run. Most athletes need to remember they need to stay within themselves to reach THEIR goals. Chris McCormack has stated, “that you don’t want to feel like you are racing until the final 1/2 of the running portion.” If you have anything left in the tank for the final portion of your race THEN you can turn it up another notch.

Instead focus on things that you can control (breathing, cadence, continuously moving forward, thinking about your goals-your time, your performance). When I am tired and I hear footsteps, my first inclination is to try and stay with that person, if I can’t I focus on markers in front on me (aid station, street signs, traffic lights) whatever it is to help dissipate the pain that I am enduring. One thing that always helps me forget about my surroundings (if only for a brief second) is waving to spectators (high fiving kids) thanking people for supporting us. You know what else this does? Makes people cheer for you and in turn gives you an extra shot of adrenaline and tap into reserves you may have not realized you had. You can also focus on your family, friends and how you are probably inspiring them just by competing in the race.

Also- remember not everything is going to go perfect on race day. There are so many variables (choppy water, waves, wind, flat tires, mechanical issues, cramps, heat etc) and any person on any given day can cope with these things better than another which may cause them to have the race of their life and set their own PR. You may be being caught by someone having one of these days and that is nothing to feel bad about.

Every triathlon race is its own story. You can race the same venue over and over and never experience the same conditions. That is the great thing about this sport. You are competing against yourself, against times that you set for yourself, and against your own limitations. Then the next race you will break through those barriers.

If interested, I would be more than happy to help you set goals and guidelines to help you reach a successfully 2012 and beyond. We may all compete in a race, but we enjoy the camaradarie of the sport more. I hope this response has helped and if you still have further questions, please repost. I wish you the best next year and beyond.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    October 28, 2011 2:30 am

    Thank you for the great motivational advice!

  2. October 28, 2011 2:11 pm

    You are very welcome! Please let me know if you have any other questions/comments. Train hard!

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