How to prepare for racing in 2021
By Morgon Latimore
The triathlon season is gearing up to start again this year, more than a year since racing was all but shut down in 2020.
This means it’s been a while since we raced, and we are hungry to get back to racing and see our friends and family in the triathlon community.
With so long since our last races, we’re all a bit green again, and while it’s easy to see that as a hindrance—no racing and no practice—I think we should view it as an extended offseason and take advantage of the opportunity for extra training.
In many ways, this time is like that period before you started racing when you just trained. You were also probably both anxious and excited about finally putting your training to the test with a race.
We are reliving that moment in time as we start racing in 2021. We have been presented with the unique chance to relive the experience of our first race.
At the end of your first race, there’s a special euphoria that is impossible to recreate, but with this long pause in racing, there may be a chance to tap into that past experience to achieve even a sliver of that feeling again. Plus, you have the unique perspective that comes only with experience and you can do things differently than you did before.
The flip side to that is that since it’s been such a long time since we’ve raced, old feelings of doubt can creep up, leading you to wonder, “Can I do this?” and, “Am I good enough?”
Instead of letting yourself dwell on those thoughts, use it as an opportunity to reflect on your journey—both in triathlon and personally—and what brought you to triathlon in the first place.
We have the benefit of using this time we’ve had to reflect and go into the new season with the hope that we can purge ourselves of all the doubt or get relief from stress and anxiety, whether from the COVID pandemic or just life itself.
A lot of us have struggled over the past year, whether financially, with loss in our families, or otherwise, but all of it is an emotional journey. I think that’s what triathlon represents—a journey of what’s possible and the things we are capable of overcoming when we set our minds to it.
I really want you to think about how you felt when you did your first triathlon. Think about the feelings you had about this unknown experience. Sometimes we get jaded as we get more experience because races get easier. We don’t think about the “what ifs” so much because racing has become second nature.
Think back to when you first learned to drive. Most likely, you were thinking about every action you took from where the key goes, where the blinker is, and every move you made. As time went on and you became more seasoned, you didn’t pay as close attention as the motions of driving became second-nature and you operated without paying attention.
The same goes with triathlon. The more races you complete, the more routine and automatic it becomes, and you can lose some of the magic you felt in the beginning.
My hope is that you will use this “second beginning” in 2021 to be more prepared, celebrate more, enjoy the experience more, and appreciate the camaraderie of the triathlon community more.
Your first race coming out of this pandemic—whether an IRONMAN or a 5k run—is a perfect time to repeat the exhilaration you felt at the beginning of your athletic journey. Take advantage of this experience, and don’t overlook things that you overlooked the first time.
Before, I don’t think we understood how great of an impact it would have on our lives. You crossed the finish line for the first time and didn’t understand the significance that moment would have. Now, you have the understanding and knowledge to know how important that finish line is.
This time, when you break the tape, take time to thank the universe—or whoever you thank—for the ability to do what you do. Take time to enjoy the community and enjoy your fellow triathletes.
My hope for you, and for all of the triathletes gearing up for a fresh start this year, is to be healthy, happy, and enjoy your life to the fullest. Take time to celebrate with your Ohana and show them not only how much you appreciate triathlon but also how much you appreciate them as family and the privilege it is to have these strong individuals as part of your life.
I look forward to seeing you and all my Zoot family on the course in 2021!
Morgon Latimore has been a personal trainer/endurance sports coach for more than 20 years, helping athletes meet their goals for triathlons, adventure races, Ultraman, ultramarathons, and even 5ks and 10ks. His commitment to creating a strong athlete-coach relationship and strengthening those he works with both physically and mentally has earned him the moniker “The Peoples Coach.”
Morgon has been certified as a personal trainer, nutritionist, spinning instructor, IRONMAN certified coach, USMS Level 3 Coach, and USMS Adult Learn to Swim Lead Instructor. He has also spent time training and developing U.S. Marines, Navy Sailors, Air Force Airmen, and Army Soldiers.
You can contact Morgon at firstname.lastname@example.org.