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The Importance of a Good Team Behind You

At the Ironman North American Championships, held in Mont-Tremblant, Canada in August this year, the pro men’s and women’s winners each spoke after the podiums were announced. Champion TJ Tollakson gave a surprisingly moving and personal speech to the 2500 racers, supporters, and 3000+ volunteers about the importance of having a great team supporting you and believing in your success (transcript here http://www.ironman.com/triathlon/news/articles/2014/08/inspiration-tj-tollakson.aspx#axzz3BK3kaPi7:) and video here: TJ Tollakson’s IMMT podium speech), and I couldn’t agree more. An athlete is much more likely to succeed in triathlon with a support crew—particularly Ironman where so many things need to be dialed in. This doesn’t mean only your training partners, family and friends, but sponsors, doctors, mechanics, nutrition companies, even favorite restaurants. Key members of my team who helped me succeed in 2014–including at Mont-Tremblant, my first Ironman:

Coach Dave at Codeon: Dave helped me plan my season so I’d peak just in time for Ironman. He helped me plan around my wedding and busy periods at work, getting me ready to race strong and stay injury-free, and worked with me to adjust workouts based on my personal needs as an athlete.

Ignite Endurance: My team offers training buddies and is a great resource for everything from race intel to recipes. We even share rental condos or crash at each other’s houses before races.

Arlington Masters: Masters workouts are always productive, my lanemates push me, and Coach Dan critiques my stroke with open water swimming in mind. I’d never get in the yardage or speed I do swimming solo.

Tri360: From replacing loose pedals a week before Ironman to providing nutrition and shoes through the year, Kate and Blaine’s team handles so many details that I find myself there almost weekly. This shop is a go-to for any D.C. area triathlete.

Dr. Beck: I rely on chiropractic care to ease mid-back and hip tightness from my desk job and manage training and 12-hour drives. He understands the unique needs of endurance athletes, even well enough to talk bikes and recovery drinks.

Our family and friends: We have so many supporters tracking our races and cheering (from near or far). Each one helps us train and race well in a different way.

Skratch Labs: There is plenty to think about before and during races; luckily Skratch does most of the work for me on hydration. The exercise mixes power us through every workout and race, hyper hydration makes long rides and runs possible through the summer.

Blueseventy: I never get anxious pre-swim about equipment because my wetsuit and open water goggles always perform; all I focus on is technique and power.

It takes years to build a support team. Developing strong relationships and being good to your network sets you up for success. Besides, it’s so much sweeter to share your success with an enthusiastic crew!

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About Dawn

Dawn is a top tier Age Group triathlete, long-time swim instructor, and soon to be a USAT Level I Certified Triathlon Coach. Dawn has raced 16 triathlons, including four half Ironmans; more than 35 road and trail races; open water swims and endurance ride events. She is a member of Ignite Endurance.

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