Holiday Stress & Triathlon Training

It’s that time of year. Parties, festive food and shopping for something that will be a hit for someone close to you. And there’s work. And there’s training. And I’m blogging again.  It can be hard to manage. Sometimes I need to remind myself that I got into triathlon for fitness and relaxation. I get stressed out  about getting everything done. Stressed about the 8,000 or so calories I seem to be ingesting everyday in the form of treats too good to ignore. Stressed about the missed workouts. Stressed about whether I’m doing the right workouts. Stressed about how some of my triathlon brothers and sisters are doing workouts way tougher than mine. Sometimes I get stressed when I try to relax and realize that I’m not very good at relaxing.

Rocks, moss, pebbles… everything zen by Sébastien Bertrand April 2005 Kyoto Japan.


If it sounds like a closed loop of chaos, well it can be. When it gets to be just too manic, I sit myself down and remind myself of a few key points. I try to be the voice of sanity, and I look for what I call moments of validation. Those rare, thought provoking, intense moments when it occurs to me that endurance sports have changed my life for the better. Let’s examine a few of mine.

I challenge you to make a list of your zen moments of triumph.Write them down and spend a few moments looking at them. Sit down with your significant other, your family or a frend and enjoy a moment of validation for the effort, courage and commitment that got you here. Feel free to bore your coworkers with them. I do all the time. One way of dialing back the stress is to celebrate the victories.


1)  Realizing that my season was successful with me finally breaking 30 minutes for 5K and almost breaking 2 hours for the Medoc 10 Miler.

2)  Hearing my doctor say “you have numbers that are all but unheard of in a 56-year-old man.

3)  Remembering that when I got back into running eights years ago, my big ambition was to do a 10K and maybe a sprint triathlon.

4)  Noticing that having completed trail marathons and half iron triathlons I have already succeeded beyond my wildest expectations.

5)  Thinking for just a minute about the hundreds of amazing people I have met through endurance sports.

6)  Learning the art and science of swimming, biking and running.

7)  Hoping that like Edison inventing the light bulb I will eventually understand nutrition.

8)  Facing the fact that sometimes I actually inspire people.

9)  Knowing that i’m in better shape in my 50s than I was in my 30s.

10) Recalling those wild mid-race moments when I either wondered if I could finish or knew that I would.

So have a piece of cake, remember that the gym will still be there after the holidays, take a deep breath and stumble onward


Comments welcome.

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