Zen of Triathlon

April 14, 2011

Two weeks ago, I hosted two tri campers here in North Carolina for a week of beatings.   We had sooo much fun and I think they both left here fitter, more motivated, but more importantly, wiser.

For six days, they paid to suffer and to hear Stacey-isms in every workout.  Don’t you pity them!?   One of them even went home and posted some of my thoughts on his wall, to face his bit of inspiration every day.   Now that’s motivation.  Or somebody who really likes his coach.  Hahah.

So here I’ll share a few of these.  And I know you’ve heard them before, but act enlightened anyway.

1.   If Lance Armstrong says “every endurance athlete is running from something”  then why not ask yourself the same question.  What are you running from?  Why do you train and race?  Get inside your head and take a look around. ‘Cause I bet you’ll race even better once you know.

2.  Simple old adage:  Train heavy race light.   If you want to be fast on race day, then be heavy in training.  Ride your heavy wheels, wear your windbreaker, ride your heavy bike, use your powertap, whatever.   Then get to race day and strip it all away to race fast.  Make your aero and race gear special.  Who wears Prada to the grocery store anyway!?

3.  Speed is earned not purchased.   Newbie triathletes see all that money can buy and tend to go for it, high pricetags and all.  Like everything else in life, is it really so simple?  Do short cuts really work?  No. They don’t.   Most athletes would benefit from one or two more quality  workouts a week than wearing an aero helmet for a sprint triathlon.  The data is out there.  Go do the research.  Real training gives you real speed.

4.  Don’t be fooled by the package.  Triathletes are an intimidating bunch- six- packs, tatoos, buff bodies, tans, and vanity to boot.   They wear their race garb to races, talk big, intimidate. etc.  It’s easy to fall into this.  But some of the MOST talented athletes in the sport aren’t the prettiest or most cut.  They’ve got guts and talent and great skill in all three sports, as well as the head for the game.

In every Iron-distance race I’ve done, including Kona in ’08 I was beaten by somebody bigger than me.  And by big, I mean a few bagels ahead and then some!  Wow.  What an eye-opener! Strength and fitness prevail over thin in both training and racing.  Take a look around you and see who gets injured, performs well at races, and can withstand the stress of training.

5.  Package yourself.  Your secret weapon is avoiding the pitfalls of packaging.  There’s no need to be that self-important athlete with the expensive bike, the Ironman garb, the aero helmet in training, the race wheels for every day.   Just be the athlete you are and leave the shwag home.  You’ll be surprised how much easier it is to focus on your training.  Ever notice that  pros don’t have IM tatoos on wear race shirts unless fulfilling sponsor obligations?  Food for thought, eh?

So there you have a few Stacey-isms.  No need to concur with me but these are the thoughts that swim around in my head and that my athletes hear quite regularly.

Now back to training and racing;   Let’s make our dreams our reality.



Stacey is a former professional triathlete turned full-time elite coach. Certifications include USAT Level I and II. USA Cycling Elite Coach, Levels 1, 2, and 3. USA Track and Field Level I. TRX Instructor Certification.

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