Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Lessons from My Triathlon

This weekend I participated in The Music City Triathlon. This was my second time to complete this race, and my third triathlon overall. I have at least one more that I and racing this year and possibly a second. Last year's Music City triathlon was my first and so I went into it not really knowing what to expect. I knew the events and the distances, but I didn't really know how I would react, how my body would react, or even how well I would do. This year, however, I had a plan going in as well as a goal. I accomplished my goal and completed the race 10 minutes faster than I did last year! As I have thought back through the race several things have come to mind that I think I can apply, not only to triathlons and other races that I compete in, but in life in general.

It all begins with preparation - I trained a lot for this race. I don't know that I trained more this year than I did last year, but I think I was more consistent over the previous 12 months. The results are that I am in better overall fitness, therefore faster on race day.

Have a strategy going in - I had a goal that I wanted to accomplish in the race and a plan on how I was going to attempt to get it done. I thought about the things I believed it would take to accomplish my goal and worked to implement the strategy.

Don't be afraid to make adjustments on the fly - My plan going into the race was to use the run/walk method for the run portion: running 4 minutes and walking 1 minute. As I started the run I felt strong but immediately came to a steep hill. After a few cycles of the run/walk, however, I felt pretty good and knew that if I was going to keep up my time I would have to run more. I was able to run more than I planned and this helped me achieve my goal.

Encouragement along the way is HUGE - This may be the biggest part for me. I am pretty sure Allison has either competed in or been a spectator at every race I've done with the exception of one when she was pregnant. She and Cooper get up early and fight traffic only to see a few glimpses of me along the way and to see me at the finish line. This, however, is great motivation for me. To see them smiling on the side of the road, cheering, and yelling my name is such a great feeling. Every time I see them I get a burst of energy that keeps my feet moving.

I have completed several races other than the three triathlons. I don't think, however, that I've ever really come away with things that I learned from the race or at least I never took the time to think about it. From now on, after a race I will definitely try to sit down and think through some of the things that I learned and can possibly use going forward in other races or in life generally.

Have you ever competed in a triathlon or other endurance race of some type? If so, what did you learn in the process?

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