By Mike Tarrolly

I don’t know about you, but I have had a tendency to get ahead of myself in triathlon. I like to think about races and even “races after races” . . . which is exactly when I know trouble is brewing.

For example, I have Ironman Louisville coming up in about 50 days, but more than once I’ve thought about signing up for Ironman 70.3 Chattanooga and even a possible return to Louisville, Wisconsin, or Chattanooga for a 2018 Full Ironman.

It’s hard enough to stay in the moment with training for one race, let alone 2 more next year. Not only that, it makes me wonder about my motives.

Races can tend to be quite a buzz. It’s so tempting to sign up and feel the rush, talk about the rush, fly with the rush. But eventually that buzz subsides and reality sets in. That’s when I ask myself a question: Am I loving the training process?

If that answer is no, I know signing up for another race is a bad idea. It’s like being in a band and starting another band just for the thrill of “the possibilities.”

The other thing that happens is, I totally neglect a major opportunity to get better. Many triathletes I know do the same thing by virtually ignoring training from October through February. “Ah, there’s plenty of time to get ready for my May race!”

But those months are the perfect time to work on my weaknesses. I know this, and own this, but I rarely do this.

I’m not saying I have to hammer the off season like I do my main training, but it’s a great time to experiment with “relaxing training.” Things like mountain biking, hiking, etc.

What this all comes down to is living day to day. Doing things I enjoy and not always setting up future fantasies that can give me another rush of dopamine. It’s about being in the moment with training and life.

I often think of Ironman as a microcosm of life. Beginning, middle, and end. It’s a slow burn that dives deep into every fiber of your being. It makes you shout and doubt. It makes struggle and persevere. It makes you who you are in each and every moment.


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Embracing The Slow Burn