Race Previews

Patience & Gratitude...

book.gifPart II - Rookie Pro Lessons 6-10

By Ruth Brennan Morrey


6) Stop reading triathlon magazines.  I admit, it can be fun to read triathlon magazines and articles. We invest a lot of time and energy into our sport so it can be appealing to read what others are doing, read about new nutrition fads, and seek seemingly novel information.  I’ve learned that any advice/fad that claim to make you stronger, fitter, faster is probably interest driven hype.  I was to blame too—and would compare myself to others.  “Am I doing enough?” was always my question.

Upon checking things out with my science driven coach, I received this answer, ...


“Just trust me on this.” I love this answer.  For me it was highly valuable to have a credible source with data driven methodologies so I could put all my faith in my plan. My job was to do the work, not to worry.


7) Wait, think about it, sit on it, then ask. Believe it or not, coaches may have a life outside of you. When my husband was in medical school, his peer-based nickname was, “Question Mark”.  He was the 30-year old kid in the front row of the class who didn’t have any apprehension to raise his hand when further understanding or clarification was warranted. His rationale was that he is paying ‘millions’ of dollars for his medical education, so he should have the right to ask questions whenever he wants. This is a very good trait to have in medical school when discretion is ruth-swim.gifinvolved. However, when it comes to triathlon, we can get caught up in minutia results of everyday workouts (258W vs 260W), are so in tuned with our body observations, that we can get a bit obsessive about daily training.  Surprise! I am surely not saying don’t use and ask questions of your coach—that is why you are paying for the service.  I am simply recommending to take notes on what is going on, sit on your emotions, calm your mind, take pause, and do some high quality reading first.  I have learned that false positive training concerns resolve themselves within 24 hours and do not require a full-blown panic attack. If it still hasn’t resolved, YES, by all means, discuss the issue with your coach. 


8)“Race at 95%. If you are 1% overcooked and will take months to recover at best.” Overtraining is the #1 condition I have come to both respect and fear. Think of your season as progressing perfectly. Your strong body and mind seem to be high above the clouds that you can almost communicate with angels J . Then you are suddenly pushed off the cloud, and fall into a deep dark pit of doom and gloom, and by the time you get out, your season is over. This is overtraining.  I knew the feeling years ago before my triathlon career, and when my coach used the term “overcooked” it frightfully brought me back there.  I’ll take undertraining over overtraining any day.


9) Be Grateful Everyday Rain or Shine. Last year I had a once in a lifetime opportunity train and race in France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, and Great Britain.  I rode my bike in some of the most incredible landscapes in the world. Many run sessions were done on the bank the Thames River where I cheerfully raced alongside university crew boats in Oxford.  It is EASY to be grateful for such experiences.  However, I also spent many UK days in the cold, rain, rain, and more rain or in the darkness of our 7 x 9 freezing garden shed. Some days weren’t pretty, but my training resumed, and I remained happy and satisfied. Gratefulness was imperative for keeping my purpose alive. 


10) Compete for the right reasons: For me, competing in triathlon has never been for medals, trophies, money, pride, or my own glory. I gave away my ITU amateur world championship gold medal from 2011, while several others are under my car seat, dangling on my kids’ dressers, or I have given them to random kids after a race to hopefully inspire them to get moving.  The book, “Punished by Rewards” by Alphie Kohn discusses the empirically based dangers of providing extrinsic rewards (especially to children) for something that is already intrinsically gratifying. I highly recommend it. Certainly, there is nothing wrong with being proud of a medal because it represents hard work, dedication, perseverance, and accomplishment. I, too, am humbled by my racing accomplishments, but for me, extrinsic rewards are a distraction.  The last thing I want is for a metal-based false idol to define me, put expectations on future success, or feed any existing narcissism. Medals, money, and trophies detract from the faith-based reasons why I find such insane pleasure in competing in the first place. Sure, prize money helps pay for my travels and is a great reward, but it is certainly not my purpose.  If it was, I’d already be burned out. Finding my own meaning, my purpose, and reminding myself daily why I work so hard is the MOST important training that I can do.


Taking what I have learned, here goes the 2014 season!!

Tentative 2014 SEASON:

Latin America Pro Championship: Feb 16th,

Texas 70.3 Galveston April 6th

Either St. Croix 70.3 or US Pro Championship 70.3 May 3 or 4

Gear West Duathlon May 18

Apple Duathlon May 24th

Kansas 70.3 June 8th

Racine 70.3 July 20th


Pending Qualification:

IM 70.3 World Championship: Mont Tremblant September 8th

OR ITU Long Course Duathlon World Championship September 8th, Zofingen, Switzerland



Ironman Chattanooga September 29th

Late Season Races: Pending recovery/IM Kona points game




0 #1 HJL 2014-02-26 20:31
Thanks for sharing Ruth! Some really great advice and insight here, best of luck this season!

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