By C26 Lead Coach–Robbie Bruce

“What you are training for?”

“What Ironman will you do next year?”

“Have you started training yet?”

“What is your A race for next year?”

If those are the questions you’re asking,  maybe it’s time to re-think “how and why” you participate in triathlon.

I openly admit I haven’t always thought about triathlon this way.  I have “used” the sport over the last 12 years of my life for a variety of reasons.  Some for good and some for bad.  However, over the last three years, my views on most everything has changed.

I have grown to believe that triathlon should compliment your life, not consume it. It should help you grow as a person, not define who you are. This is something that I cover with any new athlete I take on as well.  Growth as a person and growth within the sport are the most important “goals.”

One of the great things about Ironman expanding so rapidly and taking a monopoly over long distance triathlon is that races stay open longer.  Gone are the days where you HAD to camp out at your computer and register immediately in hopes of getting a coveted slot to your chosen Ironman.

As of this writing, every single North American Ironman race for 2017 is……….Open.  I think it’s amazing and will hopefully change the criteria for how many athletes choose a race.  The When, The Where, and The Why. It allows athletes to choose an event and a destination based on their desired journey.

Forget the days of being pressured into signing up because all of your buddies did, because everyone else is doing an Ironman and so should you, because if you don’t then what the hell will you be able to talk about for the next year.  Now you can choose races based on how you want to grow and what it will mean to you

Over the weekend my wife hung up our racing “medal board.”  It has over 50 medals from the last 10 years.  It’s not on the wall of our home to show off accomplishments, but as tokens of a journey.

Every time I look at a medal it reminds me of a time in my life.  A journey.  A reason.  A piece to my puzzle.

I thought, how appropriate would it be if these were all shaped as a puzzle piece?  I could lay them all out on the ground and connect them in a way that represented what they meant to me at that point in my life.  They all fit together and have their place.  It shapes who you are.

To be perfectly honest, some are flat-out painful to look at. They remind me of a time in my life I would love to forget.  Others, while the time and place where insignificant, I was able to remember where I was mentally, emotionally and spiritually before the race and it makes me proud of the journey.

My medal from Ironman Wisconsin is probably the best example.

The memory I took from Wisconsin actually had nothing to do with the race itself.  It was a memory from the night before. I sat back in the corner of our hotel restaurant rocking my 7-week-old son Hayden.  About 20 feet away stood my beautiful wife and mother, best friends and other family and friends.  They ate, laughed, and enjoyed each others company.

For many different reasons it stood out as a reminder of how far I had come in my life and a grateful appreciation for all those who have stood beside me along that journey.  It represented resiliency, love and hope. It is a medal I am incredibly proud of.

If you are still planning your 2017 schedule or just have no idea what to do, then take some time to reflect. Take this time to do some inventory and contemplate the journey you want to go on. You just might find that 2017 might not be the year you decide to see how fast you can go, but instead . . .how much you want to grow.

Break Through The Ironman Ceiling with this Crushing Ironman Podcast


Robbie Bruce has coached over 50 athletes to their first Ironman finish.  He has worked with a wide range of abilities including beginner level and first time triathletes to Ironman 70.3 and Kona qualifiers, seasoned veterans and Junior USAT All- Americans.  His underlying focus with all athletes is blending a positive life change with a once in a lifetime performance extending beyond the finish line. 

Solving The Ironman Puzzle



One thought on “Solving The Ironman Puzzle

  • October 25, 2016 at 9:51 pm

    This is really great to read. I’ve recently taken my practice as a psychiatrist in a direction away medicine for a similar reason. I think that the process of improving performance is the most organic medium a person can use to find gains in all aspects of life. Endurance sports, theater, dance, etc. All offer the chance to learn about ourselves in a way most haven’t since adolescence. Triathlon presents such a unique opportunity in that everyone out there has at least one goat they are hauling around with them. It’s not a mass of runners running longer or a line of cyclists cycling steeper. I love your approach of having triathlon fitting your life. How would we approach training if we saw it as the path that would get us to be a happier person or a better parent or partner? What can we take away from learning how to tolerate adversity, pain, and achieve goals? Thanks.

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