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20 Tips to Celebrating 20 years of Triathlon

Celebrating 20 years in triathlon isn’t just about finishing the race in a certain time; it’s all about learning invaluable lessons that help you grow as an athlete. Join me as I share 20 of the most important lessons I’ve learned from two decades of commitment and dedication that have helped me stay passionate in such a demanding sport. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a curious newbie, I hope these lessons will empower you to create your own journey.

So You Want To Give It A Tri?

1. Find Your Why

Whether a newbie or veteran; it’s always good to know why you are training for and completing a triathlon. Knowing ‘Your Why’ fuels the motivation throughout the journey.

2. Use All Available Resources (Print and Online)

Since starting in the sport in 2004 I have seen so many resources between print and online ones; with everything you need to know to get started in the sport. Even as a veteran in the sport I still look at resources available to help me grow as the sport keeps on evolving.

3. Support Local Race Companies

Since my start in the sport; I love supporting local race companies. Racing local is one way to build a community within the sport as well as find race venues and courses that you want to keep coming back to.

4. Take Advantage Early Race Registration Too Help Save On Entry Fees

As a way to keep the sport inexpensive it’s always good to take advantage of registering for races as soon they open up. If you are able to plan for races in advance it’s good to get registered right away. 

5. Organize Your Race Schedule

Once you’re signed up for races; I ALWAYS mark the email confirmation as urgent. Even better, I write the race down in my planner so I don’t forget when the race is. I’ve almost missed packet pickup for a few triathlons in the early years because I never wrote down when the race was.

6. Organize Your Training

No matter what type of training plans I’ve used; I’ve found it helpful to have my plans written down somewhere. Since 2017; when I was coached for the first time in a long time, I used one of my binders to write down my training plans each week.

7. Find A Supportive Community (In Person or Virtual)

It’s the BEST to have a community that surrounds you with guidance and encouragement; whether virtually or in-person. Having a supportive community has been a key part to my longevity. Being part of Team B*REAL since 2021 has allowed me to have support and to support my team-mates.

8. Support Local Swim, Cycle and Run Shops

There are so many online shops and stores to buy gear from these days. Find local swim, cycle and run shops to support; they’ll always appreciate your business to keep them afloat. Your  local shops also act as another good resource for everything “swim-bike-run”.

Preparing To Race: Athlete In Training?

9. Create Obtainable Goals

This holds true to training and racing alike. Create goals that you’d like to see happen as you get ready to race. Many of my coaches have me create goals involving numbers as well as those that don’t involve numbers.

10. Embrace The Journey

ALWAYS embrace the journey. There will be many highs and a lot of lows as you go through the training process but enjoy every moment of it. I like to tell triathletes that you only experience your first triathlon once; so you better embrace it.

11. Don’t Get Upset Over A Missed Workout Or Training Session

It’s totally okay to miss a workout; especially when you’re under the weather or your body just feels off. Sometimes it’s hard to make up a missed workout but in the long run; your body will thank you for it. 

12. Find Other Athletes To Train With

It’s always more fun training with others; whether in person or even virtually. Training with others always fuels my fire and keeps me motivated even when we’re doing different workouts.

13. Incorporate Brick Workouts Into Your Training

If one person told me back in 2004 to go for a short run after a bike ride leading up to my first sprint triathlon; my body would have thanked me on race day. At the tail end of the off-season and every weekend throughout the race season; I love doing the bike to run brick workouts which helps my body know what’s coming on race day.

14. Know How You Want To Layout Your Transition Area

It’s good to know how you want your bike and run gear laid out before the race; which can be a lifesaver race day morning. The space you have to lay out your gear is quite small in transition but you can fit a lot in one space. Only put what you need so your buddies on the same rack have enough room for their gear.

15. Make Your Training FUN And Enjoyable

Most triathletes are doing this for fun; so make the training fun and enjoyable because you’re paying to do this. A tradition for me always calls for a FUN birthday workout; for example when I turned 39 I swam 39x50s at my local outdoor pool.

16. Volunteer At Local Races

This is always a good way for the newbies to see the flow of how race weekend goes. For newbies and veterans alike it’s a good way to give back to the sport and you’ll learn something you didn’t know before.

From Race Week to the Finish Line

17. Don’t Obsess Over Race Day Forecast

You can only control certain things and the weather isn’t one of them. It’s okay to look at forecasts leading up to race weekend to be prepared but obsessing over a long range forecast just makes most athletes more nervous.

18. Enjoy The Entire Race Weekend Experience

I absolutely LOVE race weekend. I like to savor every moment from picking up my race packet the day before to crossing the finish line with that huge smile on my face on race day. 

19. Thank The Race Company Crew As Well As The Volunteers

This is why every athlete is able to race. The race company crew puts countless hours of work into making sure athletes are safe and the volunteers are out there to make it enjoyable. I always thank everyone who is doing their part so I can enjoy my race experience.

20. Document The Race Experience (Words And/Or Pictures)

This is why I started my Triathlete4Life blog back in October 2007; to document my journey to my first full IRONMAN which took place in June 2008. It’s fun to look back on previous experiences and see how I’ve evolved as an athlete and how the sport has evolved.

Marci has been a competitive swimmer for 32 years and is thrilled that she has been able to share the sport with her twin sister Julie. She joined Team B*REAL in 2021 and a consistent source of inspiration and support to her teammates. Outside of swimming, cycling and running; she is an avid Washington Capitals Hockey fan, is always reading a good teen fiction novel and you can find her dancing around and singing along to her favorite Spice Girls songs.

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