By Peter Alfino, head coach and founder of Mile High Multisport, LLC :

Being a multisport athlete requires dedication, perseverance, commitment and an attitude of doing WHAT EVER IT TAKES to accomplish ones goals, what ever they may be. The athletes who reach their dreams are those that are consistent in the approach they bring to training and life. It means making sacrifices that others aren't willing to make. It means preparing both physically and mentally. It means taking a business like approach to reaching goals.

As a coach I see many different approaches to racing and training. Obviously not everyone has the talent to be the first person across the line. Winning is defined by accomplishing what you set out to do NOT being first. The working parent who finishes an Ironman is more of a winner in my eyes than the pro who "wins" the race.

In the late 80's when I first started racing, the sport was filled with former jocks, the ex high school football player or volley ball player looking to fill a void in life. The sport remains the same but the faces have changed. It is now vogue to be a triathlete. USAT reports that 75,000 people are card carrying members. The computer geek, the guy down the street who used to weigh 300 pounds and more women than ever now toe the line with the ex jocks. In 1992 when I completed my first Ironman I filled out an application and held on to it until February ( I didn't have $175), today Ironman races fill within 45 minutes. Ironman is becoming the marathon of the 80's. Tri for the Cure, Danskins and your local sprint triathlons fill to capacity year after year.

But I'm seeing a pattern of athletes who don't understand "what it takes" to set goals and make the sacrifices both physically and mentally to attain what they set out to accomplish. People who sign up for an Ironman but they have never done another multisport event. People sign up for a sprint tri and then show up at masters swim two weeks before the race, not having swum for 20 years

I have a good friend of my who is infamous for saying "SHUT THE HECK UP AND RIDE!! QUIT TALKING ABOUT RIDING, QUIT TALKING ABOUT WHAT YOU'RE GOING TO DO, QUIT TALKING AND PUT YOUR BOTTOM TO THE LEATHER AND RIDE!!". People just laugh at him, but as simplistic as the approach may seem, there is a lot of truth to what he says. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't have a plan and follow it. It means, that as athletes we need to stop talking about doing what it takes, and do the things necessary to achieve what you set out to accomplish.

My wife is a two time Kona qualifier and will enter her 28th year of racing in 2010. Twenty years ago she stepped on a broken beer bottle exiting the swim portion of a triathlon. She was told she would never run again and spent six months in a cast. She has very little feeling in her right foot. People ask her all the time, how a working mother (she is a sales representative who travels a three state territory) of two teen age children does "it". We are often taken back by the question because we have done this for so long it has become natural. The answer is a bit complicated but in short she/we "does what it takes to succeed". We follow some very simple guidelines.

  • Manage Your Time: Set up a training schedule which is realistic and manageable. Don't try to do 25 hours when realistically you have 15 open hours a week.
  • Be Consistent: Designate certain days and times to swim, bike, run and lift.
  • Be Creative: Drop the kids off at practice and go for a run as opposed to sitting in the stands talking to the other parents. Wake up at 5 am and ride the trainer. Hire a baby sitter and go for a ride. Work out at lunch. Ride your bike to and from work.
  • Work out in the morning: Most busy people don't have time after work. Become an early riser and get your workouts out of the way before your real job.
  • Plan Ahead: Prepare meals in advance. Review the weekly family/work activities in advance and then enter in your workouts.
  • Make exercise a priority: You don't find time you make it. There is plenty of time in a week to get in 8-15 hours of exercise. Do you really need to watch all that reality TV?

"That's what it takes" has different meanings for different people. Only you have the ability to look at a situation and truly know if you are capable of achieving your dreams. Your dream may be to finish the Danskin triathlon or complete an Ironman. However, when you commit to your goal, do what ever it takes to succeed. Sacrifice, determination, commitment, dedication, perseverance, attitude... "That's what it takes"

Peter S. Alfino is the Owner and founder of Mile High Multisport, a Level II USAT certified coach and a four time Ironman finisher. He has coached athletes who have qualified for world championships at every level. Mile High Multisport also runs open water swimming at Grant Ranch in the summer. Learn more about Coaching at Mile High Multisport and Open Water Swimming at www.milehighmultisport.com