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  • Doug Morris

Learn 12 Triathlon Lessons Now With No Regrets Ever

Updated: Apr 10, 2018

Racing in triathlons in front of a few thousand spectators takes guts. Your race uniform choice may be enough to regret you ever decided to race in your first triathlon. Keep going though. Your personal benefits of the sport will pay dividends for life and result in no regrets.

You’re hanging your whole body out for the public to see, faults and all. You’re covered in sweat. Most people think you’re wearing a strange outfit instead of a funky race kit or maybe just a skin tight swimsuit. You think you’re incognito with sunglasses and a hat. But underneath this disguise you’re performing halfway naked in a sporting event that you paid upwards to $1,000 out of your own pocket to race in. You put your personal reputation out for everyone to see, judge, and comment on your race efforts. Hopefully you’ll savior the positive encouragements and ignore the other content to stay in a sport that requires tough skin and a lot of guts to compete in.

Learn 12 Triathlon Lessons Now With No Regrets Ever
  1. Be confident. If you think you can, you will. If you think you will fail, you will. What’s your choice? First triathlon, another Ironman race? Earn “AA” status? Confirmation of outcome reveals our choice. Embrace that confidence breeds confidence and courage to expand your comfort zone. Don’t get cocky. It’s a fatal flaw.

  2. Follow your journey. Destination unknown? Decide. You control that determination. A defined journey helps you know when you lost your way. Support your significant other’s efforts this season for your KQ’er efforts next year. Hawaiian family vacation the next season? Why not? However, local races are fun but if the journey plans include other races, then continue on your adventure. You’ll never regret a racecation of a lifetime.

  3. Talking about training does not add to your conditioning and worrying about races does not enhance your performance. Move beyond inertia with focus on defined learning objectives. Manage your time appropriately. Measure progress. Race. Then celebrate and talk. You’ll never regret you said something you wished you didn’t.

  4. Train with people faster than you for speed. Aspire to their capabilities. Don’t let them rock your confidence. Yes you’ll hurt. All of the others will hurt too. A decade or two of deferred regrets of not trying to do your best will hurt you more than the physical pain of not being dropped when you made the earlier effort.

  5. Train by yourself to enhance race hunger. Yes it’s lonely but this experience will prepare you for late in the race charges to the finish line. Don’t expand your energy on the negative thoughts that pop up during long workouts. You’ll never regret thinking positive in workouts and races. Be positive about yourself by yourself.

  6. Smaller races build confidence too and develop race skills better than training. Races expose gaps and provide feedback quicker than training. They’re also an opportunity to toughen up one's resiliency which remaps the brain resulting in reward and motivation. You’ll never regret your time investment of the knowledge you gain in any race.

  7. Manage your risks, not everyone else’s. Plan for race events scenarios to maximize recovery if something like a flat or fall occurs. If you don’t prepare for the unexpected, you’ll regret when the unexpected occurs. Don’t waste emotional energy worrying about them. Just be ready if a tire blow-out happens.

  8. Control your time. Manage to avoid time poverty. Schedule set time periods by priority and availability. Include rest, sleep, and fun slots. Your time controlled will minimize time regrets on any look back of your life.

  9. Say “no” to “yes” unless: 1.) you can meet your commitments, 2.) a request is aligned with your life’s journey, and 3.) doesn’t f***-up your existing commitments. Too many “yeses” lead to stress, lack of perceived capability in you from others, and potential depression. You’ll never regret your “no’s” if you achieve your “yeses” that led you along your journey.

  10. Embrace your endorphins. Exercise generates higher body image, self-esteem and boosts people’s confidence. You’ll never regret your investment in you to feel better about yourself.

  11. Ignore any thought of being your own worse critic. Seek continual improvement. Keep learning from others. Always be a tri-it-all instead of a know-it-all when opportunities arise for personal improvement. Don’t let temporary set-backs push you away from the sport. Leave them behind as you do with used gear in a transition. People who stop learning regret not knowing more about possibilities of improving their passions.

  12. Be your best, not perfect. Focus on the performance, not the failures or possible problems. There’s a reason why time is measured in triathlons because no one would ever score a perfect ten. Don’t train for perfection. You’re human. Economics dictate the law of diminishing returns. You control when your best is good enough. It’s before motivation wanes and always before you give up. You’ll never regret not taking that one step beyond to reach perfection.

At my 25th high school reunion I talked with a classmate who set out on a journey to run in a marathon in each of the 50 states. He had one state to reach his goal later in the year. His determination inspired me to set a goal to race in a triathlon in each of the 50 states and Washington D.C. For five years I stayed steady at only competing in 14 states. Finally my wife Chris said,

“It’s time to sign-up and race or you’ll be a bitter, miserable middle age man regretting a missed opportunity.”

Telling others about my planned journey was not the same as getting out there and competing in the races. Think of it this way, my lack of action put me in an undesirable position of violating one of the top reasons why change management projects are not successful. Or in my case, a journey of milestone races not completed. Instead of getting angry or getting even with her, I heeded her advice. She was as wise as a coach as a spouse.

Avoid regrets by doing now what you can, instead waiting until tomorrow to think of what you could’ve done yesterday. Establish relationships with great teammates. Find a mentor and a great coach to learn the sport from others earlier without regrets later.

In a showing of best manners, think of your life as always going (forward). You’ll never let yourself down by not responding to an invitation of life denoted as “RSVP, regrets only”.

Did any of you convince your fellow triathletes to change a regret to a recovery so they could continue enjoying the sport?

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