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There is no question that competing in triathlon requires a lot of planning, training, and mental preparation. The internet is filled with articles and advice. A quick Google search will provide millions of articles telling you how to reach race day well-prepared and ready to tackle your next PR.
But what is not readily available on this massive repository of information is how to put off training like a pro. Look no further, dear reader, I’ve got you covered!
You may be asking yourself: Why would I need advice on how to procrastinate? I can procrastinate with my eyes closed, and often do, because I’m napping whilst procrastinating.
Well, my procrastination Padawan, you’ve only scratched the surface. Procrastination is an art, one that this triathlete/writer knows all too well. Hell, I procrastinated writing this article (sorry, editor-in-chief!). When it comes to triathlon, procrastination is an art that requires careful preparation—or lack of—because we are not just putting off training for one sport, but three. The effort to not put out effort is three times more demanding.
Here is a step by step guide to help you get started with disciplined procrastination on the path to your next triathlon.
Step 1: Ideate a super lofty plan that is unlikely to fit into your already busy lifestyle.
Your kids are just starting their soccer season (and you’re their coach), you have several important projects due at work, and you have been planning a cross-country camping trip with the family, but you can probably squeeze in a training plan for a multi-day ultra triathlon happening in three months. You’ll figure it out!
Step 2: Buy all the expensive triathlon equipment that you can, and probably don’t need.
You need a bike for the road, a bike for the trainer, and a bike to back-up both those bikes in case they break down, and probably another bike as well, just to be safe. Each of those bikes, of course, will need a power meter, GPS, fancy wheels, and a custom paint job. That’s OK, because you’re investing in your fitness! Besides, nothing holds your feet to the fire more than spending a ton of money to get started, right? Right???
Step 3: Interview a number of triathlon coaches, then decide not to go with any of them because they’re too expensive (after all, you just blew all your savings on triathlon gear).
If you’re going to train for this next epic adventure, you’re going to need a guide to be with you every step of the way. Someone to give you a custom and well thought out training plan. Someone you can talk to every day to make sure you are staying on track. But if those services are anywhere north of $50 per month, it’s a hard no.
Step 4: Now the real work begins. Set your alarm early for the first day of training.
This is it! You’re going to wake up a 3 a.m. and start your training plan. When the morning finally arrives, upon hearing the alarm, you will need to hit snooze at least a dozen times because who the hell would want to wake up at this ungodly hour? Then spend the next hour in bed justifying to yourself that rest is an important and often overlooked part of triathlon training, and that you probably shouldn’t start so early. You can do your workout later in the afternoon when you’re fresh.
Step 5: Let the rest of the day get away from you.
After a tough day at work, arrive home and completely forget about the fact that you committed to doing a workout in the afternoon. Don’t worry, you’ll spontaneously remember in the evening when you’re just sitting down to relax. Oh well, tomorrow is another day.
Step 6: It’s the weekend! Time for the long bike ride on the trainer! But first, you need to find a good movie, or two, to watch while grinding away on Zwift.
Finding the right movie is a delicate task. You will need to check all of the platforms—Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Disney, HBO Max, Peacock, the much forgotten Paramount+. But it doesn’t end there. Making sure that the movie isn’t a dud is also important, so you’ll have to read some reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB. Maybe some of your social media acquaintances will have something to say about the film as well—it’s eight hours later and you missed your workout. Oh well, at least you have a great movie to watch next weekend.
Step 7: Miss your weekend long run due to other obligations.
You were going to do that long run, but you forgot about your daughter’s karate tournament. Certainly nothing can stand in the way of watching your daughter crane kick a bully into next Tuesday to the tune of Joe Esposito’s “You’re the Best.” The tournament is only an hour long, but let’s face it, the whole day is shot after that. The long run will have to wait.
Step 8: Swimming…just no.
Step 9: You’ve missed so much training that you might as well take off the rest of the week, or month. Yeah, best to start training right at the beginning of the month. It’ll be a fresh start. You should expect that you will magically develop a sense of discipline and accountability between now and then.
Step 10: OK, now it’s time to start training. But you should probably get your nutrition on track for a few days first, just so you’re starting the training plan on a healthy note. You’ll likely feel more fresh after a week of detox.
Step 11: But wait, is that cake?
Step 12: Seriously, now it’s time to get started. As you take a look at the training schedule, you realize that it’s taper week already, and you have a rest day. Go figure.
Step 13: It’s the day before the race. Time for panic training! You’ll want to do a quick shakeout workout. Sure, you haven’t really trained for the race yet, but a quick jog will knock the rust off and get you back on track. What could possibly go wrong?
Step 14: Race Day!
You wake up super sore from your pre-race shakeout workout. Even sitting on the toilet is painful. Yet you still muster up the strength to get yourself to the start line. Time to implement the backup race strategy: Wing it.
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