The Top 3 Distractions in Triathlon Training

If there’s ever been a time to be distracted it’s here and now in the 21st century. Between smart phones, Twitter, and Netflix, our senses have been bombarded more than the dinosaurs in an asteroid shower. But even if you can manage enough focus to start your triathlon training, there are still distractions aplenty dedicated to veering you off course. These are the top 3 distractions in triathlon training to avoid.


1. Your Pace

Typically pace is a positive thing, but every so often it can turn its back on you. In this case I’m using the term loosely. Here pace can mean average speed, minutes per mile, minutes per 100 yards, or power in watts.

Now don’t get me wrong. I affirm that 99 percent of the time we need to be monitoring this data in order to train properly. So how could pace also be a distraction?

Well if you’re like me you can fall into the trap of measuring your worth on it. Or relishing in it during an untimely workout. Your bike computer, or your GPS watch, or the digital clock at the pool can be a suspiciously friendly sight when they’re displaying a surprising set of numbers as you “go easy.” Suddenly you’re thinking, “This must be my new easy. Yeah … yeah I am that fast now.”

And then comes tomorrow when you’re actually supposed to be hitting the hard numbers. Predictably, nailing that fast pace on your triathlon workout schedule isn’t feeling how you thought it would after yesterday’s fun romp now is it?

Being overambitious and unrealistic with your pace on moderate-to-recovery days is a result of being distracted by your numbers. You can’t let them get the best of you. It may seem like a promotion in confidence but more than likely you will suffer the consequences later. Be disciplined in your pace day in and day out and with patience the benefits will be reaped.


2. “Friendly” Competition

Training with a friend or a group is a great thing. Good friendly competition helps us to push ourselves to the next level. However, much like tracking pace there are times when this scenario can work against us.

Keeping up with a fellow triathlete who might be a little out of your league can actually set your training back a few steps. You may be wrongfully enticed to pursue this buddy outside a training zone that’s safe. As a result, your subsequent recovery and training for the rest of the week might be shot.

I know it may sour the ego to let your slightly faster frenemy leave you in the dust, but refusing to do so may put you in a hole not easily climbed out of. Don’t get distracted by the comparison of yourself to your triathlon peers.


3. Social Media

And speaking of comparisons, this crime cannot be more offensive than in the presence of social media. How many of you have planted seeds of jealousy when your Facebook friend from two states away posts his or her stats from Saturday’s long rides, effectively putting your weekend’s project to shame?

Social media in the triathlon world has unfortunately become a well-tilled garden of inflated egos and boasted workout results. And as competitors we will often do what we do best – compete.

Be honest, have you ever been mid-workout and caught yourself brainstorming what might be your next witty humblebrag to best show the Twitter community how awesome you’re killing today’s training? “PR’d in the 500 today but my Master’s Coach is still telling me I’m slacking. Geez can’t catch a break!”

We’re all collectively rolling our eyes together.

Make no mistake about it, this is a huge distraction. Not only are you letting social media distract you while you’re not even using it, but when you are on it how much is seeing everyone’s “perfectly fabricated” lives influencing your triathlon training mental preparedness? In fact, maybe you’ve even outright changed a workout because you felt like you needed to show up a friend who recently posted some results that you cannot possibly be outdone by.

Don’t let this be you.


Even in triathlon distractions are abundant. Avoid the pitfalls of being distracted by a deceptive pace, comparing yourself to a peer, and the ego-driven world of social media.


Are you guilty of being distracted by these triathlon training blunders? What other training distractions have you ran into?

JARED MILAM is a professional triathlete, TriDot coach, and member of the Tri4Him Pro Team. He has 16 years of competitive running experience and 11 years of competitive triathlon experience with a half Iron PR of 3:59 and a full Iron PR of 8:30. Coaching under the TriDot system since 2011, Jared loves working with aspiring triathletes of all ages and performance levels.

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