The Triathlon Life: Are You All In?

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The Triathlon Life: Are You All In?

I’ve had friends in Phoenix and Omaha who have gotten into multisport big-time! I mean ALL in. All the gear. Great work ethic. Success and steady improvement in races. Longer and faster. I was really immersed in the sport, liv ’in the lifestyle, enjoying the friendship and camaraderie.

And then, poof. They’re gone. Zip. Presto…disappeared like an ace of spades in a Vegas magician’s hand. And, that’s OK. I know there are times and seasons in our lives when multisport racing “fits” and times when it doesn’t. We have to keep the main things in life the main things for sure. So, no guilt at all.

But we all need to keep fit. We all need to keep moving. “Use it or lose it” is not just a cute saying; it’s real. We know the statistics on aging, how much muscle mass we lose each decade, and how our cardio/respiratory systems decline over time. Since that’s the case, as time goes by, why not keep on swimming, biking, running, and lifting? The alternative is not good at all. A sedentary lifestyle is proven to be deadly, cutting years off a life.

Here are a few thoughts on how to hang in there, making the multisport lifestyle a lifetime pursuit. 

  • Commit To It

As stated before, we all need to be doing something to keep the ticker ticking. risk Brisk walking is excellent. CrossFit is huge. Hitting the gym is fine. But, if you’re going to do anything, swimming, biking, and running is hard to beat for a lifetime of fitness. Toss in some resistance work, and you’ve really got something there! People often ask me, “Are you still running or doing those, what, triathlete things?” Or, “Are you still trying to race and be competitive?” Or, “How long will you keep doing that stuff.” Answer: “Yes, for as long as I can.”

So, I’m all in. I’m committed. However, I am slowing down. I’m not doing the mileage I used to. I ache more than when I was younger. Dudes and Dudettes are beating me that I used to beat. But I’m in. I’m going to do something, so why not this? Commit!

  • Balance All Four

Yes, all four. Swim, bike, run, and the one thing that really gets important over the years is resistance training. Doing all four will keep us fit all around, as each has a unique role in getting us the health that will allow us to play vigorously with our grandkids. Cross-training and variety are huge as our muscles adapt so quickly to what we do repeatedly. So, mix it up and keep the four balanced vs. just swimming, or just running or just lifting, etc.

  • Adjust As You Age

Man, is this in my face right now? I started this sport at 37 years old. I’ve been doing this for 30 years. I have improved from that start for the next 20-ish years. I won a National Championship with my fastest sprint ever at 55. I won two more at 60 and 61 years young. The last five years have been discouraging. I’m slowing down…a lot. Adjustments. I have to adjust the expectations I had for myself. I have to adjust my training. I have to change my pace. I hate slowing down, but if I don’t adjust, I’ll injure myself or, maybe worse, torment myself thinking of what I used to do.

Let me tell you about my fastest 5K. Yeah, I was 22 years old. Let me tell you about my fastest 10K. I was 23. My fastest marathon was…Gag! Yes, you can improve for many years, as I did with triathlon, but that day will come when you hit your last PR. THAT race time? Yeah, you will never beat it again. We don’t know when exactly that happens until some time goes by, and we can look back and realize that Father Time has never lost a game. Don’t compare yourself to who you used to be. That person is gone. Deal with it. Adjust as the years tick by. You’re committed. You’re all in. Now, be smart and adjust. 

  • Know That It’ll Get Harder

It gets harder if you’re in for the long haul, even as you make good adjustments. After 67 trips around the sun, I can now attest it does indeed get harder. I’m tired. I’ve never napped until now. I’ve never gone to bed between 9-9:30pm until now. I’ve never been less flexible. It’s never been more challenging to get up off the floor. I’ve never struggled as much with motivation. It’s never been harder to lose a few pounds. All of it gets harder. Stuff hurts—stuff aches. Stuff feels tight. The couch, remote, and popcorn have NEVER looked so good. But, as the years tick by, if you apply points 1-3 and you’re prepared for things to get harder, you’ll be fine.

Though it’s certainly gotten harder, and though I’ve certainly slowed down, I still love competition, and I will compete. I’ve got some goals still hanging out there. I want to be an age group world champion. Sound crazy? Yeah, until you realize they have a 90-94 age group and a 95-99 group. I’ll only have to beat one other person at the most. I plan on it. 😊

Remember, every workout is a gift. Every minute spent swimming, biking, and running is a blessing. There are people in hospitals who would give any amount of money to be able to even walk. Be thankful. Commit, balance, adjust, and persevere when it’s harder, and this crazy sport can be enjoyable for a lifetime!

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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