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Introducing The Triathlete Challenge

Your best year in triathlon. Ever.

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

Happy New Year and welcome to The Triathlete Challenge! What is The Triathlete Challenge, you ask? Think of it as a promise we’ll make to each other. You bring good intentions, we’ll bring the inspo—and expert advice—to kick off 2020 like a boss. 

Every day this month, we’ll post quick, fun workouts and bright ideas to revv your tri engines and set you up for a year of success. We’ll also introduce you to the brightest coaches in the biz and the experts here at Triathlete. 

Follow along and make it your goal to complete each day’s Challenge—or do them in an order that suits you. At the end of the month, you’ll have a solid swim-bike-run base, new tri smarts, and the connections to take your triathlife to the next level in 2020.

No matter where you are in your triathlon journey—whether you’ve set monster goals or are considering your first triathlon—you’ll find something in the Triathlete Challenge for you. 

Today is Day 1, and today’s Challenge is easy: Bookmark our special Challenge page on, follow us on Instagram, and join our special Triathlete Challenge Facebook group, where you’ll get direct access and cheerleading support from our editors, coaches, and your fellow triathletes. There’s also a handy reference below for you to print out and check off as you complete each day.

triathlete challenge

Ready to dust off the cobwebs, make new friends, and jumpstart your best ever year in tri? Let’s go!

Your Triathlete Challenge Advisors

Coach Marilyn Chychota – Week 1

Marilyn Chychota is a high-performance coach who’s been in the sport since 1999. She’s worked with a broad range of triathletes, from beginners to professionals—sending athletes to world championships in iron-distance, 70.3, USAT short-course, and XTERRA. Her own athletic resume includes professional competition in three different sports: equestrian show jumping, cycling, and triathlon. Chychota became a professional triathlete in 2003, racing to podium positions at Ironman events around the world, including a win at Ironman Malaysia in 2004. 

Coach Jim Vance – Week 2

Jim Vance is a San Diego-based coach and author of Triathlon 2.0 and Run with Power. He’s also the head coach for Formula Endurance, a USA Triathlon High Performance Team that focuses on junior development.

Coach Rachel Joyce – Week 3

Rachel took up triathlon in 2005 and what started as a hobby turned into a passion. In 2008, Rachel made the bold decision to resign from her job as an attorney to give making it as a professional triathlete her best shot. Since then, she’s climbed to the top of her sport. Known as Joycey on the race course, she has captured a world title, 6 iron distance titles and stood on the podium 3 times at the Ironman World Championships, Hawaii.

In 2017, Rachel returned to racing after taking 2016 off to have her son and went on to win 2 Ironman races less than a year after giving birth and in doing so qualified for the World Championships. Outside of training and racing, Rachel is a passionate advocate for equality and increasing participation in sport by women. She is a founding member of TriEqual and sits on the Women For Tri Committee of Advisors. Together with Diana Platin, she runs Reinas, a female leadership coaching business.

Coach Karen Smyers – Week 4

Ironman World Champion Karen Freaking Smyers. Need we say more? (OK we have a lot more to say. Read all about the woman, the legend here.)  

Coach Erin Carson – Strength

Erin Carson is co-owner and operator of RallySport, a training facility and health club in Boulder. She also runs ECFit Boulder, a strength program designed for athletes seeking to perform at their very best. (You’ll find videos of the workouts she designed for The Challenge here on her free ECFit app.) Her clients include world champions and Olympians, as well as everyday athletes seeking excellence. To name drop: She strength trains 3x Kona Champ Mirinda Carfrae, 2x ITU World Champ Flora Duffy, and Long Course Tri World Champ, Timothy O’Donnell. 

Erin’s also a triathlete herself. She finished 6th in her age group age group finish at the 2016 70.3 World Championships in Maloolooba, Australia, and has stood on multiple podiums over the last 5 years. Erin is a life-long athlete who attended The University of Colorado on a basketball scholarship where she was one of the top NCAA D1 basketball players. Post-graduation, she played professionally in Europe before returned to the US to coach Division 1 basketball at both Tulane University and The University of Nebraska.

Chris Foster – Triathlete Senior Editor 

A former ITU and non-draft short-course pro who just can’t seem to let triathlon go, Chris has a new book coming out in March via Velopress titled The Triathlete Guide to Sprint and Olympic Triathlon Racing. So yeah, he likes to give some tri advice.

Liz Hichens – Triathlete Senior Digital Editor

An 11-year veteran of the Triathlete staff, Liz is a middle-of-the-pack age-group runner and triathlete. When she’s not managing or running around with her two daughters, you can find her at her local Orangetheory or jumping into Phoenix-area events.

Emma-Kate Lidbury – Triathlete Managing Editor

Emma-Kate has won six Ironman 70.3 titles and has finished twice in the top 10 at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships. She’s also crazy organized and has a photographic memory. 

Erin Beresini – Triathlete Editor in Chief

Erin is an endurance junkie who likes racing everything from sprint tris to Ironman, Ultraman, Xterra, OtillO, 24-hour solo MTB and 100-mile running races. She thinks she learned something doing those things. And from training with her 1- and 3-year olds.