There is No “I” in Team

There is No “I” in Team

by Coach Judie

It’s 4:30 in the morning when my alarm goes off.  Maybe it’s 6am on Saturday or Sunday.  Either way it’s an ungodly hour to be getting out of bed, but I do.  Sometimes I stagger to the kettle to make coffee for my drive, sometimes I head right for my running shoes–it’s time to train.  My inspiration to do this over and over again is my team.

Triathlon in the US started out and most of the time still is an individual sport.  USAT rules prohibit an athlete from receiving assistance on the course or in transition during a race.  The spirit of triathlon is the individual journey, the battle against one’s own will and body to achieve what used to feel out of reach or even impossible.  It’s an amazing journey.

As an athlete, my network obviously starts at home.  I have a spouse to be grateful to, some of you have also children, parents, understanding coworkers and bosses who help out with gifts of time or talent or sometimes just by looking the other way when you want to sneak out of the office to hit Centennial Beach for the 5pm open water swim.

Triathlon really starts to look like a team sport when it becomes worth dragging yourself out of bed to meet friends for ET Masters Swim at 6am, or skipping that after-work cocktail to hit the evening Masters or Computrainer sessions, go to ET Track, or meet up at Spokes for Wednesday night ET Tri Club rides.  You definitely feel part of the team at ET Run Club and Bike Club–it’s easier to sneak out of the house at dawn when you know you have friends and maybe a coffee social waiting for you.  And let’s face it–we all know that we train harder when we train with friends compared with when we’re on our own!

Besides fellow athletes, at some point you start collecting professionals for your team, too.  If you’re looking to make the most of your training, you add one or more teammates from the ET coaching team.  Recovery?  Add massage and nutritional help.  Unfortunate incident?  Add a sports doc and physical therapist.  Not comfortable on the bike?  Something off in your run?  Now add a great bike shop and a running store with knowledgeable people to tweak your fit, get you in a different shoe, and get you back to training.

Before you know it, your team grows from your at-home support staff to a crew of friends doing workouts and races with you and a host of professional support.  You’re no longer alone, no longer on a journey by yourself, you’re a part of something big and fun and you find yourself doing things you hadn’t ever thought you’d do and having a great time doing it.  Getting out of bed at obscene hours of the morning doesn’t sound so crazy anymore.

I’m grateful that my team includes so many great people, from my family to the ET athletes to the rest of the ET coaching staff, and those people who help patch me back up when things run amok.  I couldn’t do it all myself!  So for all of your help….thank you.  Happy training!!

Judie Refvik is a USA Certified Triathlon Coach with Experience Triathlon Coaching Services.   As leaders in the endurance coaching industry, Coach Judie and the Experience Triathlon coaching team help athletes of all ages and abilities achieve success in training, racing and life.  Learn more about Coach Judie and Experience Triathlon at and

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