All You Can Do is to Do What You Can Do!

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All You Can Do is to Do What You Can Do!

Have you ever had a perfect lead-up to race season? I’m starting my thirtieth year of racing triathlons/multisport, and I’ve had…three. Maybe four? The rest had stuff, junk, crud, and things that got in the way of the training to get the results I’d dreamed of on I needed to do January 1.

Most of the lead-up to my seasons were riddled with, um, occurrences – some bad, some neutral, but all of them just part of “doing life.” Two weeks before the Nationals in 2017, I sprained my ankle badly. Going way back, two weeks before the Hawaiian Ironman, I pulled my quad. Sometimes, things happen that really did take priority over training/racing. My work. International travel. Family commitments. Helping friends. Assisting aging parents, graduations, open houses, and on and on it goes.

With several National Championship races coming up here in Omaha in June, my hopes went up for the perfect January – May build to being as lean and fast as possible by June 5 for the USAT Multisport Festival. I wanted to do at least two National Championship races. I wanted to be what I weighed in 2017. I wanted to WIN!

Then I was reminded, that life happens. Travel to five countries in six months – Guatemala, Cuba, Brazil, Sri Lanka and the Bahamas. That 17-hour flight to Asia and back was a booger which my back didn’t appreciate. Lower back pain getting worse. 

The pain started in my hip and shoulders. X-rays and MRIs later, and the doctor walked in and said, “Well, now we know why your ____ hurts!” Arthritis in all those spots plus some tears, and presto, Plan A seemed to fly out the window. So, now what? I’m way behind in training and 12 lbs. over my ideal race weight (which I can’t maintain but can get to for a little while if I’m really serious). These two things cause motivation to crash. Ugh, a negative domino effect.

What to do and what should our mindsets be when, like a freight train, “life” collides with our training/racing?

1 – Remember your priorities. Most likely, 0.0001% of those of you reading this are not pros. OK, maybe zero %. That means that the rest of us do this for fun. That’s right, F.U.N. Enjoyment! Comradery! Fitness! Friendship! Now, the more competitive you are the harder all this can be so, you blood and guts folks really need to chill and try to just, have, fun. 

2 – Don’t compare yourself to the “you” from times past. Those perfect season rarely happen. Yes, be thankful for the few you DID have and savor that scream’in fast dude/dudette you use to be, but that person ain’t going to show up this season. That needs to be OK. 

3 – Shift your focus. Whereas most athletes, myself included, are pretty self-focused race day, wanting to have the race come together perfectly, since you’re not in absolute prime shape, think about giving back somehow. Every race has newbies and you can spot them. Go out of your way to ask them if they feel ready, how many races have they done if any, do they have any questions, etc. Multisport can be pretty self-absorbed so be intentional about getting out of yourself and giving back since your goals aren’t to win, set a PR or beat so-and-so, your local competitor.

If you can do these three things, that season can still be salvaged, maybe not with the finish times or places you’d dreamed of months ago, but know that…all you can do is to do what you can do…and you did!

Lincoln Murdoch
Lincoln Murdoch
As an accomplished endurance athlete, Lincoln has been competing in running events for 40 years and racing in triathlons for 25 years. He is a 3x USAT National Champion, 14x USAT All-American and 3x ITU World Championships Top-Ten finisher. Lincoln is passionate about helping athletes meet their goals through books, online resources, coaching and motivational speaking. You can learn more at
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