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Alternative Triathlon Goals To Keep You Motivated

Updated: Jan 27, 2021

Updated 01/27/21

For goal oriented triathletes (most of us) these can be demotivating times to try and keep training when planned races are all but cancelled until earliest Spring 2021. While they may not replace the real thing these challenges might inspire you to keep driving your fitness up in the meantime.

Small Batch Time Trials

We've been running some multi-brick workouts and individual sport time trials to get athletes together and outside with the appropriate precautions. Without getting close you can still recreate the thrill of head-to-head competition by racing on the same course. Invite your mates, stage a starting area so you're staggered and seed participants so they go off fastest to slowest. Recruit someone to time the event, throw up some fun prizes and get competitive again!

DIY Triathlon

If you're lucky enough to live near an open water venue and have some relatively quiet roads nearby you can recruit the family to support you on a practice triathlon. Best suited for the long versions log that Half-Ironman or Ironman distance you were planning on at the start at the year. Plant your family strategically along the course to help with transitions and aid stations. Just going the distance may uncover learnings for the real thing when they come back.

Virtual Racing

Almost every week, Ironman are holding a Virtual Race (VR) where you can split two runs and a bike over a weekend and upload the results. Worldwide age group results are posted online and the series is evolving to split up indoor and outdoor attempts to try and make it fairer and more competitive. Many previously scheduled running races are also holding virtual races as a replacement. In the odd case the pandemic left you with more training time and in your best running form, map out a 5K or 10K time trial and go for a PR using your GPS.

Training Challenges

You might want to take this opportunity to hit new personal best milestones in training by either distance, time or even altitude. How about your first ever 5K open water swim, or 100 mile bike ride or a 15 hour training week? Taken to the extreme, some have pursued "Everesting", climbing 8,848m – the equivalent height of Mt Everest. Complete it and find yourself of the Everesting Hall Of Fame. USA triathlon has also organized a winter challenge you can compete in as a team.


While under normal circumstances I generally discourage using these platforms for racing (training is training!) But when there's no alternative, why not? Pick a few local segments you've been eyeing, put them on your calendar and train for PR/KOM/QOM glory.

If you plan on doing one of these put them in your training calendar to solidify their importance. You may even want to schedule them on the same date as a cancelled race to feel better about that situation! Prepare and taper for them as you would a regular race and give yourself an opportunity to achieve something you can feel proud of. Stay strong triathletes!

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