Three ‘Thinks’

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Three ‘Thinks’

So, it’s January. Happy New Year! As an endurance athlete, what should be in your head right now? What should you be thinking about? I’ll suggest three items…three ‘thinks.’

One – Think BACK. 2018 is in the rear-view mirror and most of us are plunging into 2019 with our plates full of work, family, hobbies, kid’s sports, “to do” lists, resolutions, etc. I get that. I love new beginnings. I love to plan. I love to dream and set future goals. But, as Lee Corso says on ESPN’s College GameDay, “Not so fast!” We must first, think BACK.

The first step in laying a solid foundation for a super successful 2019 race season is to reflect on last season. Few athletes take time to carefully evaluate and ask the key questions they should be asking about last season’s outcomes. Seems simple but…what did you do (and not do) last season that brought about the results you had? What caused the good/great races? What played into the lousy, difficult races? What brought you the time or place results you’d hoped for? What was up when they didn’t happen?

Careful evaluation and a long look BACK can identify those answers for you. Address them. Working on the areas that emerge from your look BACK is where your focus should be. It might be overall strength. Might be nutrition. Might be swimming. Might be transitions. Might be flexibility. Identify the top three and then…

Two – Think NOW.Based on number one above, what would be the most strategic use of my workout time NOW? What are my current greatest areas for improvement? How do I balance out the swimming, biking, running, resistance work, stretching, etc., NOW? Do you need a videoed swim evaluation/lesson? Do you need to do more resistance/functional strength training?  Do you need to become a better runner? Invest your time NOW in those areas. There’s plenty of time for the swim, bike, run, workouts in the Spring. NOW, be very focused and specific.

Remember, 50% of any triathlon/duathlon is the bike in both distance and time. Hmmm… What does that tell you? Working on your cycling NOW will always pay a dividend. So cycling, arguably, is the first thing we should all work on. What’s the next weakest part of your game? You should invest there! What’s next etc.? NOW is the time to work on those top three items.

Three – Think AHEAD. Start laying out your race season. Start planning. Register for races at perhaps a discounted rate. Set some goals. Choose an “A” race. It’s the race that you build your season around. Work back from that race framing up a strategic plan. Take into account busy work seasons, family vacations, kids’ school schedules, etc., as these are important, non-negotiable aspects of our lives and then, plan AHEAD. Need a coach? A consultation? Think AHEAD about peaking at the right time. Get after it. There are fantastic resources out there! Plan on utilizing them as you move AHEAD.

Get your head in the right place, or, better said, get the right things IN your head. Think BACK. Think NOW. Think AHEAD.

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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