• Doug Morris

Haydon's Handy (Triathlon) Alibi Checklist*

Updated: Sep 7, 2018

This list is intended to simplify the problem of selecting the proper alibi to suit the occasion.


While some triathletes are so bad they don’t need an excuse, there comes a time in the developing career of almost every triathlete when he or she will feel the need for an explanation to account for an unusually disappointing performance.


At such times this handy alibi checklist may prove helpful. Fill in the empty circles for your applicable alibis. For those hardy souls who desire to pioneer in the discovery of new alibis there are a few blank spaces which may be used for write-ins.


o Ate too much.

o I was weak from lack of nourishment.

o Not enough time to warmup.

o Warmed up too much.

o Not enough training.

o Over-trained.

o Not enough sleep.

o I was groggy from too much sleep.

o Needed more gels.

o Too many gels.

Needed more electrolytes.

o Needed more caffeine.

o Too excited from too much caffeine.

o Needed vitamin A-B-C-D-E-F-G-H-I-J-K.

(circle the needed vitamin).

o Not enough weight training.

o Muscle bound from too much weight training.

o I’m building up slowly for the next Ironman.

o I reached my peak too soon.

o Saving myself for ______________________________.

(Name of event, SIGO, etc.)

o Started my kick too soon.

o Started my kick too late.

o No kick.

o Worried about work.

o Worried about finances.

o SIGO unfriendly last night.

o SIGO too friendly last night.

o I choked up when I saw that _____________________ was racing.

o Too much competition.

o Not enough competition.

o I didn’t use my head.

o I thought too much.

o I swam over the slower swimmer and thought I was disqualified.

o I was blocking for the rider drafting behind me and thought I was disqualified.

o I cut off the runner at the turnaround timing mat and thought I was disqualified.

o I’m a stronger rider in the wind and there was no wind today.

o I don’t do well in the wind and the flags were blowing straight today.

o I only brought a disc wheel and I couldn’t use it today because of the wind.

o I didn’t bring my disc wheel because it was supposed to be windy.

o I ‘m a mountain goat on the hills and this was a flat course.

o I can’t sustain the wattage on the hills like the climbers in the race.

o I swim better in a non-legal wetsuit race.

o I can’t swim without a wetsuit.

o I didn’t hear the starting horn and never recovered to catch the others.

o The starting horn scared the crap out of me so I panicked at the swim start and never recovered.

o Weather was too warm.

o Weather was too cold.

o My tri-suit was too tight.

o My tri-suit was too loose.

o My bike had equipment failure.

o My running shoes broke a shoe string.

o My wetsuit zipper didn’t zip.

o I developed blisters.

o I got shin splints.

o Forgot to cut my toenails and it rubbed off mid-way on the run.

o Forgot to cut my fingernails and I ripped a big hole in the wetsuit before the race even started.

o These foreign made shoes aren’t as good as domestically sourced shoes.

o I felt inferior without foreign-made shoes.

o I felt inferior.

o I really am inferior.

o Shoes too big for my feet.

o Shoes too small for my feet.

o Cramp in leg.

o Cramp in ___________________________.

(fill-in location of cramp)

o Forgot my bike shoes.

o Forgot my running shoes.

o Forgot my sandals to walk to the swim start.

o Got cold feet.

o I thought I was having a heart attack.

o Blinded by the sun reflection off the water.

o Could not see the turn buoy due to fog on the water.

o Could not see due to darkness at the swim start.

o Could not see due to darkness near the end of the run leg.

o The airlines lost my bike case on the flight in.

o The airlines lost my race gear on the flight in.

o I got lost in: fog, darkness, countryside, parking lot, or ____________.

(choose at least one from above)

o Showed up at the right race on the wrong weekend.

o Showed up at the wrong race on the right weekend.

o Too many races.

o No enough races.

o I thought there was another lap to go on the swim.

o I thought there was another lap to go on the bike.

o I thought there was another lap to go on the run.

o I did too many laps.

o Someone let the air out of my tires in transition.

o I couldn’t find my bike in transition after the swim.

o I couldn’t find where to rack my bike after the ride.

o I didn’t bring a spare tire on my bike to change a flat.

o The race director never received my race entry.

o I didn’t like the awards so I didn’t try to finish first.

o I can’t swim from the front.

o I can’t swim when I’m behind.

o I can’t swim.

o I got stuck in the middle of the swim pack and couldn’t get out.

o I can’t run well when I’m ahead.

o I can’t run well when I’m behind.

o I can’t run.

o The different color buoy markers confused me as to when to go straight and when to turn.

o Someone knocked off my goggles.

o My goggles fogged up.

o My goggle strap broke.

o I forgot to bring my goggles.

o I forgot we needed a bike helmet at this race.

o Everyone else drafted but me.

o The officials pulled me over with a drafting penalty just as I entered the drafting zone.

o I left my race wheels at home.

o Too many people were depending on me.

o No one cared how I did anyway.

o If I’d know the swim/bike/run was short I would have raced harder.

(choose at least one from above)

o The swim/bike/run was long which is why I ran out of gas at the end.

(choose at least one from above)

o I should have raced with my road bike due to the course geography and road conditions.

o I should have raced with my tri bike due to the course geography and road conditions.

o I’m better at off-road triathlons.

o I really can’t race competitively at off-road triathlons.

o Too much pressure due to this being a qualifier.

o Not enough pressure since this race didn’t qualify for anything else.

o I don’t like racing.

o I don’t like training.

o I only like to train for exercise.

o I don’t like organized events.

o The event was too disorganized.

o This was not a sanctioned event.

o The race was not an ITU event.

o The race was not an Ironman event.

o I only race for fun and winning spoils everything.

o I’ll show you what I can do on Monday in practice.

o I just didn’t feel like swimming today.

o I just didn’t feel like biking today.

o I just didn’t feel like running today.

o I felt great in warm-ups and that’s always a bad sign.

o I couldn’t get excited about the race.

o I was overanxious.

o My mind was too tense.

o I heard there was no food after the race.

o I heard they were charging for beer after the race.

o My coach is an American and he doesn’t understand foreign races.

o My coach is a foreigner and he doesn’t under American athletes.

o My coach is a ___________________.

o My coach treats me just like he treats everyone else and I don’t like it.

o My coach is always bothering me with special attention.

o The swim was canceled.

o The race was delayed.

o I didn’t like the contents of the swag bag.

o I didn’t like the small size of the Race Expo.

o The Race Expo was too big and intimidating.

o I can’t stand too much success.

o I have no place to put an award if I won one.

o I have no place to put another award so didn’t race hard to win another one.

o My psychiatrist says I’m determined to be a failure.

o My back/leg/hip/shoulder/SIGO/other was killing me.

(choose at least one from above)

o My contact lenses popped out. Some days it doesn’t pay to get up.

o There was no use in winning because of the dope testing.

o I can’t let go about how I need to live up to my last race’s performance.

o I can’t let the last race failure out of my mind.

o My parents tell me we’re all winners but that’s just not what the RD announced at the awards ceremony.

o I’m looking forward to the next race already.

o I’m looking forward to next season already.

o ___________________________________________________________

o ___________________________________________________________

o ___________________________________________________________


* Coach Ted Haydon of the University of Chicago Track Club and two-time assistant coach for the USA Olympic Track & Field team created an alibi checklist in 1972 specifically for track and field athletes. This is updated in his honor for triathletes. Learn more about Coach Haydon here: https://www.si.com/vault/1975/09/22/616696/this-coach-is-first-class

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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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