Archive for July, 2011



This entry is really a further exploration of what components go into triathlon toughness and why that might matter.  I liked cadaver lab in university as much as the next guy, so I figured, why not dissect the triathlon champion’s brain and see what’s squirming around in there.

First, I’ll tell you why being triathlon tough matters.  That’s the easiest one.  Quite simply, your mental state will determine 100% of your actions, and your actions determine the result that you get.  Your goals are real.  They are real and they are important, for individual reasons, but we must first recognize the validity of our athletic pursuit.  If we don’t give our goal validity in our minds, then we will invariably short change ourselves due to the busyness of our lives and the formidable disciplines of succeeding in our chosen sport.

Without a goal that we commit to, and a strong sense of who we are as people acting out the habit of success, we are literally dead in the water (or the road, or on the bike).  We cannot succeed without it, instead we make conscious or unconscious excuses, which sport psychologists call tanking.  

Tanking is a sign of mental weakness.  It will steal your dreams.

Instead, an athlete should try to achieve what is called an Ideal Performance State or (I.P.S).  What is an IPS.?  Well that depends on the sport and a little bit about who you are as a person.  It can be very individual what mindset each athlete needs in order to achieve their best performance, but there are commonalities.

As a triathlon beginner, just think of ideal performance state as a mindset of really fun competetive challenge.  Here’s the basic reasoning for that …  it is the only thing that will work!

The only thing?  How could I say that?  Easy. Here’s why.  The thing that makes us go goofy when we pit ourselves against a challenge is called “competition stress,” and competition stress is closely related to fear.  Fear of what?  Sadly, it’s usually fear of failure.

The first way that an athlete learns to overcome the crippling weakness and exaustion brought on by fear, is by using anger, if you can believe that.  Anger drowns out fear allowing people to “dig deep,” get angry, and find new strength, but that strength is not sustainable.  When you dissect a champions brain, heart, and mind, you will not find anger.  Instead you will find a whole lotta really fun competetive challenge.

More about that later, along with the rest of the blueprint for a triathlon beginner to be competition tough.


**photo above by Tom Devard


Ever wonder if Triathletes are aliens?  

Of course you have, let us not play coy.  They are described as ultra intense, as triple A personality’s, with inhuman dedication, planet dominating levels of compete, and an other worldly level of grittiness.  Lets be serious, what would Will Smith (M.I.B) have to say about that?  …Yeah, I thought so…

So now that we agree that at least some triathletes are in fact aliens how can a mere mortal, a Triathlon Beginner learn how to compete with them?  Well that is a worthy discussion to have, isn’t it?  Let’s have it here.  It’s the heart of what this site is dedicated to.

Have you ever wanted to know everything about something?  Well, this is your chance.  This site is about giving you supreme insight into a world (that is in fact dominated by aliens) where any person with some heart, a set of lungs, a bike, a suit, some earplugs, a wetsuit, and maybe goggles, plus good shoes, and a packet of gel, oh yes, musn’t forget swim cap and water bottle… (can I stop yet??) … and a good bottle of sunscreen, along with some skivvies that don’t rub your crotch raw, can compete on equal terms (if your bike is over 8 grand) with any other Benny or Betty out there.

You see, Triathlon Beginners is a cyber world where all triathletes are equal, and where all people are equal (I might even start referring to them as peoquals), except for me of course who is far from equal because I happen to control this little cyber world… (imagine echoing peals of haunting laughter now) … 

There is so much that I will show you about — well, everything triathlon.  Specifically for today, I want to share how fun, and welcoming, and fulfilling, and body mending, participation in a triathlon can be, despite the AAA intense aliens that populate the upper echelons of the sport.  Fear not earthling, you shall be safe in this land of Tri … (did I really just say that?  My wife might just be right about how big a nerd I am … sniffle…).  

I want you to feel free to welcome all the other people (or peoquals) to this site, introduce yourself, and step into our triathlon beginner community.  I’d like to know what types of things are of interest to you, and how this website can help guide you on your pursuit of Tricomplishment.

Coming up, you will learn about me, your king (and of course your servant), my professional background in elite athlete performance (and how I intend to use this to help you), why my wife originally thought that I was cool, and absolutely everything there is to now about triathlon.  Remember that knowledge is power, power fuels success,  and success inspires positive action.  Lets move forward one leg at a time…

Oh, for all of you Cro-Magnon’s out there who are still clumsily scratching their protruding frontal lobes with one calloused knuckle, allow me to clarify … People + Equal = Peoquals.  Get it now?  Well, just keep scratching then, I’m sure that it will come to you.





There are a bunch of things that a triathlon beginner should know, don’t you think?  Some things a triathlete should know are simple, just practical insights (which really can make all the difference), but the other stuff that you should know is the really high level exercise science geek stuff.  

The practical stuff 






and the science geek stuff












We’ll cover both, but why would we bother with the geek stuff?  Here’s why, because if you’re going to do the work and put in the time anyways, don’t you want to make sure that the work is done right?  How important is it that your efforts follow a proven, verified pathway to getting maximum results?  Have you ever noticed that some top coaches and some top club’s athletes always seem to rise up and succeed, while other athletes in other clubs seem to be putting in the same hours with diminishing returns in comparison?  I have.  

So whats the difference?  I’ll tell you… the difference is in what the top people do and how they do it.

This works two ways.  When you think of your preparation and racing tasks, I want you to consider all of those positive effects of what you are doing.  But guess what, the only way that you can have time to do those awesome tasks, is if you’re not too busy spending your time (training hard) doing things that will do nothing or possibly even de-train (ie. Train you to be worse than before) you.

I’ll make a statement here that I think should be written in the clouds for all to see.  ”the best coaches don’t only know what their athletes should do, but what they should not do because it’s a waste of their precious time.”

Is your time precious?  Do you want your efforts to result in success?  Geeks, and also experienced people, can help with that.

Thats where I come in… Because I’m a geek (like the guy above).  And so help me, this geek will speak.  I’ll unpack that promise a little more in tommorow’s post.   For now, I want you to consider how advice from a sport scientist could help you, and together we can break down the various aspects of triathlon training and competition … Yes, all for you.  Give me feedback if you have the time…