• Doug Morris

10 Triathlete Drop-out Temptations. And How to Purge Them From Your Mind!

Updated: May 3, 2018

Are you tempted not to race in next month’s triathlon?


Push out the decision. Procrastinate.

Don’t allow temptations to derail you from showing up at the starting line of your next race.

Maybe these issues keep you up at night or worse, preoccupy your mind during the day:


  1. Inconsistent workouts.

  2. Too much pain going on your body.

  3. You want to race but life keeps getting in the way.

  4. Your family doesn’t relate to what you want to achieve as a triathlete.

  5. Getting race fit is harder than you expected.

  6. The weather sucks.

  7. You experience more surprising barriers than surprising breakthroughs.

  8. Your workout partners became ex-workout partners.

  9. You’re not as fast, strong, lean, and determined as you want to be. And you don’t know how to close the gaps between your goals and your current reality.

  10. Commitment pressures between work, family, and fun RIGHT NOW eclipsed the delayed gratification of completing a race.



Keep reading to learn about how to overcome these temptations in order to cross the finish line at your race next month rather than next season.

  1. Schedule workouts on your calendar. There’s an app for that.

  2. The human body is resilient but not immune to injury. If in doubt, get it checked out. Don’t ignore your pain.

  3. Designate a slice of your time pie for your tri. Your pie equals the same size of everyone else’s pie in the 4th dimension. It’s 24 hours. It’s a finite amount of time. How you slice your pie is up to you.

  4. Talk with all family members to solicit input and for engagement. You must reciprocate with genuine interest in their interests as well. The alternative options of changing sports or families is not emotionally or economically an optimal outcome.

  5. Re-set expectations if getting fit is mentally more difficult than desired. If the issue is physical, then focus on your strengths of swim, bike, or run. If you’re experiencing time poverty, then sort your respective priorities, rate appropriately, and reserve training times.

  6. Dress for success in current weather conditions.

  7. Expect the unexpected. Be flexible. Keep positive.

  8. You will be racing by yourself. Training by yourself will strengthen your race tenacity.

  9. If not physically ready to race early in the season, and who is?, do the race to learn new mental tactics. Ask others how they get race ready early in the season. Ask your coach too.

  10. Maximize daily fun activities and routines to reduce stress. This allows you to pursue long-term goals that deliver happiness and greater satisfaction in your life’s efforts. Sacrifices are unavoidable, unfilled goals are frustrating, and achieving happiness requires the discipline to avoid drop-out temptations.


Racing in cold weather, rain or windy conditions turned out to always be easier than never racing. One race day morning welcomed me with a full body shiver when outdoor temps plunged to 41°F (3 °C). A thick mist hovered over the water revealing only 100 meters of water to the first buoy on a 1.2 mile swim leg.

Foggy Triathlon Swim Start

I froze wearing full sweats plus a winter hat and gloves during the walk to the transition. After checking on the bike and getting numbered, I returned to the hotel room to get warm. As expected pre-race doubts surfaced, which then turned into jitters. I raced though. I always raced. At this point, I realized not to compete would be meaningless. The pain of not starting, not competing and not completing any race would be more painful than never showing up.


I knew and desired the great feeling earned after competing in a race. The race results of time and place were the objective metrics but the subjective mental rushes were key for pain and pleasure. A strange partnership of accomplishment. First of never wanting to do a race again due to too much pain and time commitment. Followed by never wanting the celebration and excitement of the current race to end. That included the enjoyment of camaraderie afterwards with fellow competitors, teammates, friends, and family. Mix in some tears of joy, smiles of satisfaction, and fulfillment despite a limping gait. Then you buy race merchandise to prove to everyone back home you did the race. And finally before you leave take an opportunity to enjoy the tourist stuff at any of the great race destinations. The next morning hangover feeling was easily erased from memory with its queasiness supplanted by memories of a post-race celebration and well-earned results.

I was already eyeing an open race registration to get the next party started for yet another delayed gratification of the next, greatest race ever.

Evaluate whether you’re reluctant to compete due to cold feet, cold shoulders, cold sores, or cold weather. Accept you've committed yourself to race in this triathlon. If you commit, complete your responsibility. Chose these three appropriate tactics to reach the starting line: Relax. Race. Rejoice.


Did you ever regret backing away from a race commitment or any other commitment? Did you ever walk away from someone who didn’t live up to a commitment given to you? What approach did you use to side step a temptation so you didn’t drop out of a commitment?



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Doug Morris

Coach of Exceptional Outcomes

Palm Trees Ahead, LLC

Tel: 1.630.457.7889

dougmorris@palmtreesahead.com

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