Why I Wrote The Fast Track Triathlete

by: Matt Dixon

Why I Wrote Book

After a lot of hard work, The Fast Track Triathlete is finally on shelves and available. I am proud of the outcome and hope that the message, approach, and methodology proves to be of interest and use to athletes and coaches alike. I recently wrote that amateur athletes are only truly successful in their sport if they achieve the sporting results they aspire to, but equally thrive in health, work, and life performance. This book is central to paving the path to this success. I assume, and hope, that it creates some friction to the norms of how the sport is traditionally approached, but I also hope that the message contained in the pages assists coaches and athletes on a pragmatic path toward sport and, most importantly, human potential.

The Time-Starved Athlete’s Challenge

The challenge of endurance sport is alluring and athletes of all levels hold great aspirations to improve from where they started in their sport. In triathlon, the big draw is the magic and challenge of IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3, but how do you train, compete, and improve in these disciplines without compromising the non-negotiable components of living your life?  Every amateur athlete I meet wants to improve in triathlon, but also equally aspires to improve their health, work, and family performance.  Unfortunately, too many fail in this challenge, and I know there is a better way.

Addressing The Status Quo

The simple challenge outlined above is magnified by much of the media as well as incorrect perceptions from athletes about what it takes to be successful in the sport. Ask any group of triathletes, 'what is the number of weekly training hours that is required to be prepared for an IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3', and the most common response is somewhere right around 20 weekly hours. How many people with work, family, and some semblance of a social life truly have 20 hours to sustainably apply to the sport? If you do, great, but it is very rare. Despite this, coaches routinely prescribe these hours, forcing athletes to do all they can to force massive amounts of training into their already overextended lives. Currently, the sport has way too many following the dogma and as a result, many struggle to create a sustainable training solution, which often results in a cycle of frequent bouts of sickness and injury, or a low performance yield relative to their hard work.

As a result, I believe there needs to be a radical rethinking of approach to the sport for those with busy lives and full schedules, not only to achieve athletic results, but also to optimize health and life performance. That is why I wrote the book.

The book provides a radical reshaping of the path to success. Despite having read many books on performance and training, I honestly feel like there is a massive gap of information that truly caters to time-starved athletes. The book outlines an approach that tackles the challenge from a fresh mindset and a shift in approach for both coach and athlete. Rather than simply seeking results in the sport, the path to success is paved via an approach that has a goal of integrating triathlon as a key component of improving yourself as a human being. I believe that through improved athletic performance we stride toward our human potential; however, we must adopt a sustainable approach to get tangible results. Instead of forcing training on top of your busy life, the mission is integration over the long-term. Many fall into the trap of thinking this mindset means limited sporting performance gains, but it is actually the reverse. This approach is the vehicle for your best sporting performance, within the context of your life. This is why we often say ‘you can have it all’.

The Proven Methodology Works

Perhaps the most important thing to highlight is that the content and plan of action in the book is not a concept or theory. The methodology and approach are based on exactly what we do for the Purple Patch amateur athletes, who all live very full lives. While we always seek to evolve and improve our methodology and approach, what you will read in the pages is how we have managed to help so many CEOs and executives improve within the context of life, proudly qualified 200+ athletes to the Hawaii IRONMAN World Championships, and created a very special family of vibrant and successful athletes. We have consistently seen great results and created a framework where a very low percentage of athletes drop from the sport or feel like training for a race dominates every aspect of their life. I see our coaching responsibility to not only create athletic results but do so within the context of also allowing life and health performance to flourish.  Following 10 seasons of learning and success, it felt like the right time to share and aim to help begin the paradigm shift in the sport.  While we have seen great results, our busy amateurs don’t train twenty hours, as it isn’t sustainable. The average weekly hours for Purple Patch amateurs is 10.6.  

Sharing Our Approach & Starting The Dialogue 

While I strongly believe in our approach and am proud of what we have achieved over the last ten years, I don’t believe I have all the answers, nor do I assume that we won’t evolve. I believe that experts and coaches grow the quality of the sport and even themselves by sharing and contributing to the conversation. I can only assume that by releasing this book there will be conversation and dialogue. I will be challenged and stretched and this can only lead to growth and improvement.  

In 2016, Purple Patch had its best season of professional and amateur racing results in its history, including a Professional World Champion in Tim Reed, at the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships. Despite this, the 2017 season saw the most radical evolution of our methodology. We felt like there was an opportunity to improve and grow, and only by clinically inspecting success and seeking ways to improve did we find a path to even more success.

PROs versus CEOs

You might ask if my professional athletes adopt this approach?  Do they only train 10-12 hours weekly?  Of course, they don’t.  They unapologetically seek world-class performance, and in order to achieve this, they place triathlon and all the associated critical habits (sleep, eating, fueling, recovery) and the center of their existence.  Life must revolve around their training and global program.  This is what it takes -- for them.  This is not how any amateur should approach their own sport, as the result will inevitably be a failure. There may be periods of greater focus accompanied by a sacrifice in other areas, but these periods should be done with intent.  

What the PROs do provide is a living laboratory of learning around methodology, habits, and approaches that do work. It is my job to then evolve and apply these lessons appropriately to the time-starved athlete.  

I equally eagerly anticipate your feedback, discussion, and challenge. I hope we can grow together, and continue to improve the sport for everyone, not just those who have all the time in the world!

 

Cheers,

Matt