One thing I have realized over many years of competing as a professional triathlete is that while the sport may be fairly straight-forward and for the most part rewards pure fitness over ‘skill’, there is a need for occasional change to one’s program. Sure most of us follow a typical weekly routine, but I’ve found that what may have produced a result a few years back may not work now. What could have worked 8 months ago may not be as effective today. As our bodies are constantly changing, so must our training.
I’ve never quite understood it when people say they are “going to defend their title” upon returning to a race as the previous year’s winner. It seems more appropriate “I’m going with the goal of defending my title.” So when many asked me if I was ‘going to Ironman Texas to defend’, I guess I just saw it differently. The goal was, as with any race, go out and execute the absolute best of my ability; if that landed me on top, all the better. But I’ve often found it dangerous to become too focused on the top step of a podium, especially in an event such as Ironman, with so many variables that come into play. Becoming too fixated on a ‘title defense’ to me just seems misguided.
…or more eloquently stated by Theodore Roosevelt:
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”
One of the great things about the sport of triathlon is that we all have a strength and a weakness; and given that we train for three disciplines, there is always something to improve upon. No matter what level you get to, or how many races you have done, this continues to ring true. Yet I’ve also learned along the way that you have to play to your strengths. More than anything, accepting a weakness can be a mental battle; but as we all know, a large portion of what we do in life is driven by attitude and our mentality; which is dictated by our choosing. [..]