Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Secret Discipline

Triathlon is 3 sports. Swimming, Biking, and Running. That's no secret to anyone. However, a lot more goes into triathlon than just those three sports. You have to be able to transition between the sports, sight in water, hydrate, fuel, train. These are all terribly important to your success as a triathlete.

However, there's one more dirty little secret that doesn't get much attention. You don't read about it all that often on forums, in books, or on blogs. But if you watch a race, you will see it splayed all across the guys at the front's faces.

I'm talking about the secret discipline. I'm talking about the Art of Suffering.

Tougher than Nails, Paula Findlay guts out the finish at the Olympics.
Suffering isn't for everyone. There are as many different reasons to get into endurance sports as there are people to compete in them. Not everyone needs to work on their suffering. But if you are not getting the results you think you should be (or could be) getting... well, maybe you should keep reading.

There are different kinds of suffering, and not all of them are physical. Triathlon is also a mental game... sometimes with your competition, but usually with yourself.

It's Friday night and you've got a hot date with Suzy Blueeyes (or Sammy Blueeyes) and you don't want to go home after dinner, things are going too good. But there is that 4 hour bike ride in the morning... the only time you'll have to get it done. Well... how willing are you to suffer? If you're willing to, take your @ss home and get to bed. If not, have fun at the Honky Tonk, and getting crushed at the next race.

It's 7:00 p.m. on a Wednesday and  the phone rings. The guys are having card night tonight, are you in? Hmm, the schedule says there's a Swim tomorrow morning at 4a.m. Sorry guys... next time. Yep, that's suffering.

You're on the bike trainer and your workout calls for 5x5' hard, with 4-5' between sets to recover. How hard are you going? You realize you're getting 80-100% rest don't you... you can't play with the iPad and be going hard. You've got a 20' TT on the trainer... how did your power curve look? Did those last 2-3 minutes have higher power than anything before? You don't cross the line at a real TT looking like a model... you cross that line just barely able to keep your bike upright... you'd cuss or throw out a prayer to whatever diety... except you don't have the breath to do it. Is that how your set ended when nobody was watching? Hmm.

Side stitches... I ain't got time for side stitches.
Nobody really enjoys it. I don't like getting up at 3a.m. to go swim before work. I know that if I don't, there's a very good chance it won't get done however. The willingness to just get up and do it (along with an alarm clock that resides on the other side of my bedroom) stems from the mindset that I don't mind if somebody is just better than me in a race and ends up crushing me. I do mind if they are just more willing to get sh*t done than I am and I lose because of that.

A post about suffering just wouldn't seem right without the master himself
Speaking of suffering, my first criterium is tonight! I'd be lying if I didn't admit to having just a little bit of anxiety over it. The horror stories don't help :) Nonetheless, I'm resolved to do my best in it... and I mean... the safest place is at the front...right? With any luck (and a little suffering) I'll be the safest guy out there.

Finally, the Knoxville 1/2 is Sunday. David (coach) has high expectations it looks like, so despite my trepidation stemming from February's lack of running, I am excited for a good day. It's doesn't hurt that the weather is supposed to be perfect! Can't wait to cross the finish in Neyland Stadium!

Mom and myself directly following the 2011 Knoxville 1/2.  Go Vols, right :)

Alright, now you should be motivated. Go out there and suffer! Race Season is upon us!

Thanks for reading as always, I appreciate it.

- Christopher Morelock


  1. Awesome post! I always have these thoughts after I miss a workout! A good friend of mine once told me that it is ok to suffer, it's ok to hurt sometimes!

  2. While I am not in a place to be worried about the competition - this is a fantastic reminder that if I want to get even a little bit faster - I need to work for it. Nicely done!

  3. Training for an HIM and IM is mostly about learning to fight through the suffering and pain. The other stuff is easy part.