Lessons from Triathlon – Don’t be a Fakelete.

Last year I wrote an article ‘Could have been a Contender. Then I discovered Modern Day Triathlon’ ( In that article apart from taking the piss out of myself I promised I was going to try and improve for the forthcoming season. I’ll be honest. I’ve stepped it up a notch. I have bought a Garmin Fenix3 watch (the beginning of the end), I’ve read yer man Finks book, bought a new HUUB wetsuit (really only because I think I look like Ironman in it… although I do mean the Marvel character rather than the guy with the tattoo on his calf) and if my other half catches me looking at TT bikes again I fear I may have to change the saddle on the old Ridley to something more ‘comfy’. All the gear and still no idea I hear you cry. I have (promise) stepped up the training. I made the stupid mistake of entering an Ironman in Marrakesh (too much red wine on a Friday) and the Bosphorous 6.5km sea swim in July.. again don’t ask. As a consequence I’m training 6 days a week and coxing this semi broken shell into something less broken. Who the hell knows what will happen.


One of the greatest strengths in business is the ability to be relentless. I try to bring this to my training regime. Don’t stop, don’t lie down, don’t make excuses.. just bloody get stuck in. If you don’t do the work don’t expect the result. It’s probably the reason I train by myself most the time – I can’t have a committee meeting at the start of every length, 4 scone stops on the bike or a good old chinwag on a ‘Zone 2’ potter. However I was doing my usual Sunday morning distance swim recently when a guy climbed into the fairly quiet lane. He took about 20 minutes to get himself all set up – I know, I thought it was a pair of the old budgies and goggles and of you batter (one of my favourite things about swimming is its simplicity and accessibility). He took 20 minutes to get set up because he donned a pair of buoyancy shorts, hand paddles and flippers notwithstanding the 7-8 minutes playing with his Fenix5 watch (I only have a 3 so Fenix jealousy didn’t help). He then proceeded to do single lengths with a 30-60 sec rest at the end of each length for the next hour. Two things came to mind – what bloody coach told him this was the way to go. Second, why not just have a bath. It would be just as effective. What’s worse this guy wasn’t even a bad swimmer – just misdirected, or lazy or worse still just bluffing himself.


In NI, like many regions, we have managed to thoroughly develop the notion of the ‘Wantrepreneur’. I think we might even be global leaders. Most of the ‘WE’s’ exist very comfortably within the public and third sectors. However, we also have many in the start up private sector who love terms like ‘I’m still in bootstrap mode’ ‘I’m going to my third speed mentoring session tonight’ ‘I’m preparing my elevator pitch for the virtually non-existent VC and Angel Networks in NI’. Sadly the ‘WE’s’ are often in charge of projects, resources and programmes which are meant to support the notion of self-start entrepreneurship, and have never known the raw fear of worrying about payroll, making a profit, borrowing against long held assets etc. In short, our system of business support is often driven and spiritually fuelled by those with stabilisers, arm bands and an excellent set of airbags when things go wrong. For those of us trying to push forward, make that next business milestone, find the confidence to go after that next venture… these guys sometimes look like a triathlete kidding themselves in a cold pool on a Sunday morning. Wise up.


Of course, no doubt I’m going to make an absolute balls of my triathlon season now. Don’t worry I have the excuses ready. ‘Didn’t do enough Zone 2 in December; Didn’t commit to my brick sessions; Tight calves/sore hips/knees shot; Couldn’t get passed 240 Watts on the bike; Didn’t carb load’… in reality just take your oil and in the words of that great philosopher Rocky Balboa… It’s not about how hard you hit; it’s about the hits you can take and keep moving forward’.


Good luck for the forthcoming season whether you are developing the next Dyson or swimming in a dirty lake outside Lurgan. 😊

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