How to Be Your Best as a Triathlete
Focus on the skills you are better at than your competition. Don’t ignore your other skills but don’t dwell on them to the point of distraction. If you earned a few blue ribbons and gold medals in swimming, track, or road races you should keep your advantage over competitors in your best disciplines. However, don’t let your strengths become weaknesses if relying on them too much.
Know that the best job description for a triathlete in a race is: “to swim, bike, and run quickly. These are core responsibilities. In addition, do anything within the rules to reach your race goals”.
Be ready to change during the race for conditions, clueless participants, broken down equipment, and or anything else so the unexpected becomes the expected.
Set interim goals to achieve early in a race to gain confidence for reaching your goals throughout the entire race.
Do everything as quickly as possible in a race. Seconds often mean the difference between on the podium or just a receiving a finisher’s medal, whether you get qualified for a championship race or not, or worse. Don’t wear sox in shorter races. Push your bike in bare feet to the mount line then step in your shoe already clicked into your pedal. Work your way through transitions like you breath: relaxed and mindlessly. Swim like a fish. Ride like the wind. Run like Hermes.
Let competitors eat with you. Just don’t let them eat your lunch. Be friendly, courteous, and kind. Learn about your competitors and learn from them. Think to adopt their best skills and where to capitalize on their weaknesses through your race tactics.
Stay current on triathloning by learning the newest trends and knowing the latest technology. Leave cutting edge to the pros but be a quick 2nd adopter before your competition.
Create your own unique internal rhythm and ignore those of others. Moving your fastest for the sake of top speed is not sustainable. Build the intensity as the race progresses. Enhance your rhythm to reach the intensity needed to reach your goals.
Choose your races carefully. You will never be able to compete in every race but choose the right race at the right time for what you are trained best for on race day. Go to the coast if you excel in open water swim courses. If you climb fast on the bike, then choose a race with significant elevation gains. If you race better in the heat and humidity, then consider a Malaysia Ironman triathlon as your qualifier to reach Kona.
Recognize the most important things are the people that support you when you are not swimming, biking, or running. Choose them with more insight and instincts than you would a new bike. Take care of them and they will take of you. Race results are always more fun to celebrate with the people you have the closest relationship with. These relationships and your memories will last longer than your equipment and your own race body.