For the Love of the Sport

Group of cyclists
February 26, 2024

Dave Sheanin


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Multisport is about so much more than triathlon.  As I was planning out my own racing season this year, I found myself searching for opportunities to mix things up.  In years that I have a big (sometimes crazy) race goal on the calendar, I will build my season around that key race (or races).  Ironman in the fall?  Ok, let’s do shorter races in the spring and a 70.3 in the summer.  It can be easy to fall into a pattern of races.

When many of us think about non-triathlon events, we “branch out” to a 5k or half-marathon run.  But there are multiple ways to look beyond swim-bike-run when planning a season.

There are the more obvious single-sport events to consider–swim meets and open water swims, bike races including TT’s, crits, gravel rides, and touring/fondos.  The afore-mentioned running races of all distances.

How about a duathlon, aquabike, aquathlon?  Otillo format (swim/run/swim/run/etc.) looks very interesting.  (I’ll be racing this format for the first time this fall.)

Have you tried racing in a draft legal format?  Multi-day festivals (like Omaha in June) and racing back to back are an interesting challenge.

It’s common for short course racers to look to “step up” to long course with goals of half or full distance.  What about going the other way?  If you’re always racing long course, sign up for a couple of sprints and see how fast you can go (and how much racing above threshold hurts)!

You can also think beyond the race type and consider different experiences.  Travel races make for more challenging logistics but give the opportunity to see the world!

You’ll learn quite a lot about the sport by volunteering at an event.  If you volunteer often, sign up for spots on different parts of the course. Make volunteering a regular part of your race calendar.

Travel somewhere new.  Race with your spouse (If he or she is not a triathlete, pick a single-sport race.)  Be a sherpa/supporter and make someone else’s day easier.  Tackle a challenge that’s not a race–like running or hiking rim-to-rim of the Grand Canyon.

We spend a lot of time building fitness for our “A” races–it can be easy to lose track of all of the opportunities that fitness (and love of sport) provides!

Coach Dave Sheanin is an advocate for aligning triathletes with their race goals. He believes that becoming “triathlon literate” is key to meeting your goals. Triathlon is indeed a lifestyle and like the other important areas of your life, knowledge is power. He encourages you to explore the nuances of the sport, be open to new ideas and ask questions – of yourself, of fellow swimmers, cyclists and runners, and of your coach.  

Coach Dave is a USA Triathlon and Training Peaks Certified Coach.  Coach Dave was honored by USA Triathlon with the Community Impact Award.

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