Dave Scott is a well-known name in the triathlete community, and he lives right here in Colorado. He’s a six-time Ironman Triathlon champion, widely considered by many to be one of the most physically grueling sporting events in the world.
Here’s what Dave has to say about goals:
“If you set a goal for yourself and are able to achieve it, you have won your race. Your goal can be to come in first, to improve your performance, or just to finish the race. It’s up to you.”
Words like that from a bona fide champion can give you a remarkable insight into the mindset that allowed them to achieve greatness. Plus, Dave’s right: goals are immensely personal things, but in sporting we rarely treat them as such. “If I’m not in first place, I didn’t win,” is a notion most athletes can at least relate to—but what if we defined winning as simply achieving our goals?
This mindset would, perhaps ironically, likely result in more “first place wins” for many athletes, or at the very least a dramatic improvement in performance. It lays the groundwork for a positive feedback loop. The more (seemingly) small successes you enjoy, the easier it will be to attain your most difficult goals.
If fear of failure has prevented you from participating in a triathlon, or fear of “not being good enough,” or fear of looking silly, or fear of… well, anything at all, you’d be wise to listen to Dave and change the way you look at winning.
At a triathlon, you win just by showing up.
Participating in a Triathlon: The Best Thing to Ever Happen to You?
The benefits of training for and participating in a triathlon are insane. Like, change your life insane. The physical benefits might seem obvious, but when you start to account for the mental and emotional (and for some, even spiritual) benefits, you’ll realize that you almost have no choice but to “try a tri” this year.
Physically, triathlons offer body movement variability. In other words, cross-training for running, cycling, and swimming isn’t actually as tough on your body as training for a single sport, say running for example. Since stress is more evenly distributed throughout the body (e.g., on musculature and bones), cross-training usually results in fewer injuries, less pain, and a more balanced strength profile.
As with any challenging form of exercise, training for a triathlon will result in higher energy levels, lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of osteoporosis, and can even promote improved longevity.
Mentally and emotionally, perhaps the biggest benefit of participating in a triathlon will be the absolute surge of confidence it gives you. A lot of that is thanks to the stress management skills you’ll learn—after all, if you can complete a triathlon, there’s probably very little that will be capable of intimidating you in your day-to-day life.
We could go on and on about how awesome triathlons are for you, but you probably get the picture by now.
So how do you do go out and do it?
Fill in Your Training Gaps: For Most, it’s Swimming
While training running, cycling, and swimming are all equally important for triathlon preparation, it’s likely that you’re not as good at one skill as the other two. Fill in your gaps by training a little more on the skill you need to build.
For most people, that’s swimming, particularly during the cold months here in Colorado. It’s easy enough to jump on the treadmill or sweat it out on a stationary bike while there’s snow and ice outside, but unless you’ve made a point of visiting an indoor pool, that’s probably the area where you need the most training.
Swimming in a triathlon isn’t about who can go the fastest—it’s about who can remain the most calm and relaxed while focusing on smooth movements. Focus your training on technique and endurance, not speed.
If possible, swim with other people. A lot of the time swimming is a solo activity, whether that’s in a pool or outside with your wetsuit. At your first triathlon, all those other people splashing around near you can be disorienting, so getting used to it can be helpful.
Triathlon Training Nutrition & Diet ISN’T Complicated
Those “super athletes” who compete in triathlons all must have some kind of crazy and restrictive diet, right?
Well, no, not really. If you’re training to win an Ironman championship, maybe—but even then the nutrition you need to be battle-ready isn’t all that complicated. If you’ve been interested in nutrition for any length of time, you already know that a lot of it boils down to good old fashioned common sense.
Cut out junk food, go easy on the carbs, and drink healthy beverages like water and tea. That’s basically 80% of every “super athlete’s” nutritional plan. Make sure to eat plenty of meats (or alternative protein sources if you’re vegetarian or vegan), vegetables, nuts, and starchy fruit like bananas.
Before intense training or your first triathlon, eat a light breakfast around two or three hours before you show up. 3-4 scrambled eggs and a banana is light enough to not slosh around your stomach the entire time but packed with enough nutrition to give you the fuel you need.
Just Show Up
When you arrive at your first triathlon, you’re probably going to be worried about all kinds of different things. Don’t.
Don’t worry about how you look. Everyone looks a little funky when they’re determined to push their bodies to the limit.
Don’t worry about your gear not being top of the line. You can pick up that 2019 Cervélo or a high-end wetsuit later—we’ll still be here when you’re ready to upgrade.
Don’t worry about how far along anyone else in the triathlon is. They’re fighting their own battle; you’ve got your own to win.
Don’t worry about how long it takes you to finish.
Don’t worry about whether or not you can finish.
Just show up.
Learn More About Triathlon Training & Equipment at Rocky Mountain Multisport
Pumped up? We’re here to help.
After this, make sure to check out our How Do I Become A Triathlete? page and come visit us at the store. We’re located inside Runners Roost at the Square Shopping Center in Fort Collins. Our staff are some of the nicest folks you’ve ever met and yes, we participate in triathlons ourselves.
If you have any questions or just want to say hi, give us a ring at (970) 224-9114 or drop us a line.
Now get out there and kick 2019’s butt!