Mix Up Your Multisport Racing


Posted by Coach Allen Stanfield

Brian Whitmire in the cycling portion of a duathlon


One of the many benefits of being a multisport athlete is having a plethora of options to "enjoy" our pasttime. There are seemingly more and more events, formats, and opportunities for athletes to test themselves in various ways.

Endurance athletes in general tend to look at pain as something to embrace and be proud of. But oftentimes athletes get complacent, finding a niche they enjoy or feel comfortable doing and end up repeating the distance and specific events. I believe this keeps athletes from new experiences and what brought them to this lifestyle in the first place - and this can prevent breakthrough performances.

This complacency can manifest in a number of ways that limit an athlete's development.  The short course athlete fears going long, and the long course athlete forgets how much short efforts are supposed to hurt.  Challenge yourself to get back to uncomfortable.  Find an event that you don't favor and sign up!

Get out of your comfort zone, and you may be surprised at the benefit to your training and racing attitude, as well as performance. Long course athletes can remember the exhilaration of a short, hard race and rekindle that relationship with short course training (and discomfort!). Racing a long course event can remind short course athletes that they CAN go the distance and enjoy more time out on the course (sometimes there is beautiful scenery and other nice folks on the course).  Additionally, racing an odd distance race, a discipline specific race (5k, timetrial, or OWS), or trying out new terrain (trails, off-road) can be a great reset to reduce boredom and rejuvenate the drive to succeed. 

In my training leading up to a long course race in a few weeks, I recently reminded myself of the fun and pain of a (very) short distance race.  Oddly, the experience excited me for both my long course race and subsequent racing in general. 

My wife captured the epitome of my "excitement" of a 45 min RACE effort seconds after crossing the finish line (below). It's not easy, but it's worth it.

Photo credit: Amy Stanfield

Again, challenge yourself and break away from the comfort of your normal selections and preferences for racing!

Coach Allen Stanfield is a USA Triathlon Level I Coach who has been with TeamMPI since 2012. Allen has coached Junior Elite Athletes, Southeast Regional Amateur Champions, Boston Marathon Finishers, IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship Finishers and numerous IRONMAN Finishers. Allen has completed more than 50 multisport events with more than 15 overall wins including IRONMAN 70.3 Age Group winner. He is the Co-Founder and President of Ticking Tri Bombs, a USAT Club, and Founder of the Road to Tradition beginner triathlete group. He can be reached at allen@teamMPI.com

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