With tri, it’s all on you, no excuses.

I love this sport because it is such an individual sport. Win or lose, you’re accountable.

While I could write about the virtues of teamwork and collective effort, you could also say that in team sports you can blame others for your team’s loss. Or others can take credit for the entire team’s win.

But with triathlon, it’s all on you, no excuses.

After all, nobody could be pushed to do 16, 24, or 48 weeks of training if they didn’t want to. Those are quite remarkable efforts, and if you didn’t want to do it, you wouldn’t have.

Even many of us who do want to complete a training cycle fail.

So if you trained to your peak over such a long period you deserve congratulations. You did it all of your own volition.

I doubt you were relying on your husband, wife, or a friend to wake you up each morning for that long swim, bike, or run.

You had to have the inner drive to do it yourself.

So you are self-reliant and don’t need to depend on anybody.

On the other hand, if the burden is so heavy, you may want to pass off some of your duties off to another person.

Now, if you have a supportive and reliable family member, roommate, or very close friend, that’s great, and that’s covered in tip #5 where I suggest you put together a crew.

But there are certain things I would never unload on others. These include:

  • Race registration
  • Travel bookings (flights, hotels, rental cars, etc)
  • Bike maintenance
  • Packing for a race
  • Equipment selection and purchases
  • Di2 charging, or charging of anything else
  • Tire pumping
  • Nutrition selection

You get the point. These things are all too critical.

You know when you get to the airport and they ask you if you packed your bags yourself? That’s the right idea, because if you let somebody else pack your bag how can you be sure they brought your Garmin or your running shoes or any other critical item?

I’m pretty paranoid that I’ll forget something, so I protect my bags. I don’t let my wife or kids touch them when I’m packing, or even in transit.

No bag-sharing for me, either. I can’t risk anything getting misplaced.

And this hyper-protective mode continues even when I get to the hotel. There, I create my own space. Usually it’s a table next to the bed.

I spread everything out, separated into swim, bike, and run groups, and nicely ask my kids to not touch anything.

It may border slightly on eccentric or obsessive but if I put in 36 weeks of hard work I don’t want it all going down the tubes because my daughter ate my gels the night before.

This concept of self-reliance mirrors racing nicely, too. Think back to some of your most difficult runs or rides. For me, it’s the last 10k of my first Ironman. Hearing all the other people finish, seeing the sun set, feeling the cool night creep in.

I’m all alone, and nobody can help me. But I’m strong because I have the right mindset and completing it any way other than under my own locomotion would be unthinkable.

Win or lose, you’re accountable.