How Do You Measure the Success of a Triathlete

The other day I was meeting with a new triathlete and it occurred to me that, before he had even started training, being a triathlete meant doing an Ironman. 


I don't know what it is about the people in our town, but for many, the measure of triathlete success means: you have to complete an Ironman. Many athletes have said to me after a race weekend that they just did the Tri-a-Tri or just did the standard distance triathlon. I'm sure there are many Olympic triathletes who would be insulted if you told them they just did a sprint instead of an Ironman.


An Ironman is a great long-distance event but it involves many more hours of training. For most people with a busy career and/or family, the hours involved in training make it difficult to keep life in balance. Why should they feel any lesser of a triathlete for not having the time or maybe the interest in doing a longer event?


As a professional coach and lifestyle consultant, my measure of a triathlete is about so much more than how long you can go. Whether the athletes I coach do a Tri-a-Tri or qualify for Kona I'm equally proud of them for putting their best stroke, spoke or shoe out there and moving it forward.


Success in triathlon is about having fun and enjoying the incredible mental and physical benefits of the training. We are learning from strict Covid restrictions that the beauty of triathlon is that you don't even have to race to be a triathlete!


Triathlon is about training for three sports, learning new skills and improving fitness. By joining a club you get the added bonus of training buddies and many find friends that they count to be their best friends for life.


Success in triathlon is about setting realistic goals and reaching your finish line no matter how far away from the start line it may be. When you get to the finish line success is about the true joy you have in your heart and having a band of merry friends and family greeting you with high fives and smiles.


At the end of the day, are you going to remember every triathlon you completed, or are you going to remember the amazing friends and the incredible health you enjoyed throughout your life?

To requote the words of Martin Luther King Jr...

"The true measure of a triathlete is not only where they stand at times of challenge but also their healthy exuberant smile and the high fives they receive at the finish line."

Julia Aimers is the Head Coach and Founder of Team Triumph Triathlon Club and Online Shop. She is a certified triathlon, cycling, swimming, yoga and accredited Training Peaks Coach. She is a Clinical Exercise Physiologist, High-Performance Specialist and a Coach Learning Facilitator for Triathlon Canada.

(Photo Above from the Musselman Triathlon in New York. From left to right David Goldsmith, Cary Willis, Coach Julia, MJ McCann, Julie Lafrance, Alanna Kellock, Annemarieke Goldsmith, Linda Lafrance)

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