What insights from your career have you applied to triathlon?

I think there are people here with all sorts of jobs, different skills, knowledge and specialisms. Assuming you have had some success in your work life, have you learned things which you can apply to be more successful in your Tri hobby?

If so please share so other people who don’t have your specific skillset might be able to chew thrm over and maybe benefit.

I’ll go first. I’m a NHS GP, have been since 2001. My insights are mostly to do with lifetime wellbeing. I see a lot of people who are basically healthy, even in old age. About 50% of this (in my opinion) is due to good genes and good luck. The other 50% seems to be due to good choices and positive thinking.

Quadriceps strength in the 8th and 9th decades is as good a predictor of survival as anything else.

People who are able to stay strong and active are healthier and happier throughout their lives, in my experience.

On the other hand, people who adopt sedentary lifestyles are at greater risk of health problems, often starting in their 4th or 5th decades.

You can’t choose the hand you have been dealt. But you can play your best game.

So… the application… I aim to do 1 hour of exercise per day on average. This helps counterbalance the essentially sedentary nature of my job.

I opted for part time work (7 days per fortnight) because I think this allows balance in life, albeit at the expense of less £££. Beyond a certain point , extra £££ do not confer additional wellbeing.

I chose to work close enough to home that I can commute on foot or bike. I also use a bike to do any work I need to do outside the surgery, to do shopping, to visit friends and family. Haven’t been in a car for nearly 2 months. This, again, helps counterbalance the essentially unhealthy and sedentary nature of sit down desk work- and I think probably helps tri performance too.

Tri is a great balancing activity to an indoor job. I have been doing Tri since age 17, will be 47 this year, feel great and so far no serious injuries. BMI is exactly what it was when I was 17. Swimming maintains the upper body, cycling maintains the core, running maintains the lower body.

That’s enough from me. I think we have engineers here, IT experts, university lecturers, military, people with other unique skills and experiences.

What are your insights? What can we learn from you?


Improvise adapt overcome
Kit lists - make them
The mind usually gives up before the body
Kit lists
6 Ps (or 7)
People don’t get good by accident
Make kit lists

Oh, and boxes are fcuking useless for humping kit :wink:


Some years ago I qualified as a counsellor and now I know what is behind my triathlon obsession, can”t change it though. Stopping will be forced upon me when the genes give in (see Fruit”s post).


Good post fruit_thief. Although I decided IT as it was one of the few things I was good at in my teens, and was never going to be a footballer I have a massive fascination with how the human body works. I’d love to have some of the knowledge yourself and Chris have.

I’ve read about things like physical strength being a good identifier of health and long life and there seems to be a lot of guidance to keep up some level of strength work as well as cardio to keep you healthy. The positivity thing also helps but I appreciate that’s not in some people’s nature and if they do have an illness that can be mentally challenging.

Your work balance is also good, as long as you have money to enjoy your sports & life and put some away for retirement that sounds good, I’m guessing it also helps reduce some stress levels as you can get more rest?

The sedentary job rings true, but forgetting the current predicament I have now got a standing desk at work that I can lower to sit if I want and it’s excellent. There’s also a group of use who climb the 10 flights of stairs in our building twice a day. A standing desk possibly wouldn’t work for you when you are face to face with patients, I could see that being a bit disconcerting for some.



From work: Anything I do, I’m looking for Reusability, Scalability, and Extensibility. For example when I bought a bike with Campagnolo I bought all Campagnolo kit for my bike(s) henceforth. But it’s more than just kit, it’s every process.

From other hobbies: Patience, persistence, and recognising memes that are just marketing guff.

I haven’t yet architected a model for triathlon but I’ll do it sooner or later.


I do IT support at a university, it was very technical in early years but recently a lot of it is more managing the team and dealing with emails. I do still do some technical work which is what I enjoy.

I think the technical nature helps a bit with things like structured plans and training with power etc., although TBH these days I do a lot of it for enjoyment.

Never been particularly ambitious, I really don’t want to go much higher as it then tends to be even more just managing and politics which really doesn’t interest me.

Also used to had to do a lot of hardware repairs etc. so it was useful for troubleshooting and helping for things like bike maintenance and nowadays things like Di2 upgrades!


I have run decent sized IT functions for quite a few years now, from a handful of people to well north of a hundred.

I’ve learnt that its very easy to over complicate things when the problems and their solutions seem unclear, and lose yourself in lots of detail… and mostly the answer is found in just focusing on keeping its simple.

I’ve carried this over to tri in trying to not getting too hung up on things like what 80-20 means, what zones are at what HR, whether my FTP is accurate from a ramp test, etc etc etc, and frankly, just focusing on riding, running and swimming really regularly, some hard, some easy, and makng sure i’m enjoying it. I don’t always get it right (especially with swimming), but mostly its a sound policy IMO.


Speed is safety
Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.


I have a unique set of skills, skills that make me a nightmare for people like you… sorry wrong thread.

It’s a good question. I’ve worked IT dev for nearly 20 years. So tech and data has been big for me. I was monitoring daily HRV when most people had never heard of it, always collecting data and reading ways to apply it.

Cant honestly say with any certainty its achieved anything, but sure it didnt do me any harm.

Also early on I had a single mindiness about training and that was the same when I started out in my career. I taught myself programming and I taught myself a lot about training and physiology.


Sounds like Alpine mountaineering too; especially the crossing of the Grand Couloir on Mt Blanc!

Not all boxes are created equal though…


certainly makes the fundus pucker the 1st time you do it! just pray there are no gravity induced rocks coming your way.

did you really have to stir the mud again?? ffs… :wink:


@Symes should have helped him with the marketing :joy:


anyway, back to the insights thing.

maybe not from a racing perspective but from a TO viewpoint, what I learned from over 30 years in running my own recruitment company (with Mrs FB) is how to deal with people. everyone is different so the principles of “managing” people you aren’t ultimately responsible for is the same for people job hunting and people competing, irrespective of the level they are at. how to communicate with these people is also a key skill, and getting to understand their experiences and what they want to achieve is also a key part of being a TO.

giving penalties is sometimes like telling a canididate that they haven’t got an interview or job - they need to understand why and be able to learn from it.


For my main job when i was young…Outcome over process

Adapted to triathlon…Process over outcome

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Mid-table anonymity has been my goal in all aspects of life. (Adapted mid-table for triathlon to mean “not last”)


Other than a brief dabble as a Royal Navy Office, most of my career has been in manufacturing and supply chain, where I have climbed the ranks, primarily due to a general lack of other tallented people rather than my own skills, and also a fair bit of luck.

What I realise is that most people in senior positions are not there due to some super star quality, but because they wanted it more, worked smarter, had some luck, and most do have a basic level of tallent too. I think that it is the same at an AG level in triathlons, the skills required to climb the sporting ranks are the same as the skills required to climb the corporate ladder.

My career success is largely due to being very data driven, but to be data driven, you need to understand the data, and select relevant data. I hate black box solutions, if I don’t understand the principles of how the answers are being derrived then I am not comfortable. Its the same with sports, I follow my own metrics, I build my own spreadsheets that calculate me CTL and ATL, as this helps me to understand the data. I see lots of people who spout metrics, with no real understanding.

My final insight is about health. I see many corporate high flyers who ignore their health and fitness. I felt that I had to make a choice, should I continue to work like mad to climb the greasey corporate ladder, or should I slack off and spend time on me health and fitness. I chose to focus on heath and fitness, and the strange thing is, that even though I have become, in some people’s eyes, a lazy corporate citizen, it hasn’t impacted me career, or how effective I am in my career. More is not always better

Edit: when I was young (from age 4 to 18) I wanted to be a doctor, unfortunately my A levels were not good enough, so I joined the Navy. Possibly my only significat regret in life is that I didn’t become a doctor


Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt.

Ability to eliminate waste and variation from training and, as I loathe to succumb to a cliche, “trust the process”.

Excuse me while I vomit…

But, on a serious note, I recognise that race day nerves never usually hit as I just revert back to the same process adopted daily. It’s almost like operating like a machine, one you are continually trying to refine!

Great thread by the way, really interested reading some of your experiences!


Did you manage to find the Golden Rivet in that short time?