In triathlon training, D is for determination. You have to have a lot of determination to complete and compete in a triathlon. You do not have to learn just one sport but you have to learn three sports. Many athletes find it challenging enough to master the art of one particular sport, in triathlon you have to really try to become the master of three very difficult disciplines. How in the world do you do this without determination?
The All Important Why?
Everyone needs to have a "why" about their triathlon journey. Why are you participating in a triathlon? Why are you trying to learn three sports? Why not try to become the master of one sport? Why put yourself through the grueling distances that triathlon demands? Why, why, why? The answer to this question is very important for understanding your determination in this sport.
I have met a lot of triathletes who say "Oh, I tried that once." Sure they tried it, but they stopped for an abundance of reasons. They might have gotten fatigued. They might have suffered an injury. They might have just burned out on the process. For whatever reason, they decided that this sport was not for them. They did not have the determination to continue on. I do not blame them for their quitting, but it does take a level of determination to continue year after year in this sport.
Sticking With It
Once you have determined to continue in the sport of triathlon, you still need to train and race. Training in triathlon takes a lot of coordination and planning. You have to use determination to stick to the plan. If you deviate from the plan or don't train properly, you might just be spinning your wheels and not gaining in speed or endurance. You have to determine that you are going to follow a prescribed plan of attack in your training. You have to have determination during a training session to finish to the end. Whether you have a coach or not, you have to determine that you are going to finish the workout. If you are self-coached this becomes an even greater challenge because you have no-one there to instruct you, reprimand you, or hold you accountable for doing well in your training. I have found that if I wake up in the morning with a solid determination to workout then I will indeed have a good workout. If I wake up without that determination, then I might as well go back to bed. You have to be determined in your training to get up early or stay up late. You are going to have to sacrifice some things in your life to be able to do a triathlon. You have to have a keen sense of determination to finish well in your training.
It goes without saying that you have to be determined to finish a race. Race day is the culmination of all the hard training you have done, but there is still a mental aspect to the race that you have to wrestle with. If you aren't determined from the beginning to finish the race then you might as well not even start. I had such a race this last year where my mental state was not determined to hurt and to push myself and therefore I failed in the doing well in the race. I have to enter each and every race with a determination to finish strong.
You must be determined to research the best possible way to do a triathlon. You have to read and seek out the best advice for nutrition, training, racing, and equipment. If you aren't determined to do these things then you are letting your competition have a leg up on you.
The Most Important Part
Lastly, you have to be determined to have fun in triathlon training. If you aren't having fun training and racing then you will not do well. Have fun while you get to do this incredible sport. Have fun training where you see real gains in your abilities. Have fun being around other competitors in a race or in training. Have fun being an inspiration to others who only wish they would do something like a triathlon. Have fun just being alive.