This one may be hard. I don’t mean you need to hire a team, but I do mean you need a trusted partner or group of friends of family that is there to support you.

My wife comes with me to mostly all my races. And when she does, she knows the routine. She knows what I need and what my priorities are. For example, in the hotel room, she’s the one who is mixing up all my nutrition into a sludge and cramming it into a bottle.

After mixing up my nutrition, my wife put a note on the door reminding me to bring it in the morning

She’s got the kettle heating up water, slowly stirring my endurance fuels and sodium mixtures into it – something I totally have no patience for. And she even puts notes up lest I forget her concoction – it’s happened before!

She’s my money changer in the airport, navigator in the rental car, and queue-spot-holder in the Ironman registration corral. She cooks a good pasta dinner for me the night-before, and a nice breakfast the morning-of.

I’ve had my parents join me too, and my dad has served as my chauffeur. Who wants to drive after you’ve raced? He’s also carried my gear, ordered food in the restaurant while I was changing into street clothes, and helped assemble my bike.

My kids have helped too. The main thing they love to do is push my bike. I don’t want to touch that damn thing after a race, but they sure seem excited to. So I let them. But in Nice, France, my son charged me 5 Euro for that service, afterwards. I happily paid.

Kids holding up poster saying, "Go, Papa, Go!" at an Ironman race
Cheering squad – the best speed boost you can ever ask for

The best example is when that crew becomes a cheering squad. In 2018, they printed out a big banner of me on the bike and held it out for me during my darkest hours on the run. That was so encouraging. Anything that takes your mind of the pain, if even for a few seconds, is worth it.

Let’s face it. Triathlon is a selfish sport. And, it’s physically demanding. So how much stuff can you get others to do for you?