Author Archives: Chris Janzen

5 C’s for Being a Successful Triathlete in 2012

We’re capable of so much more than we realize.

Most of us know precious little about what makes it possible to achieve and sustain excellence (in sport and in life), especially as the speed and complexity of demand in our lives rise relentlessly.

But experience and research shows there clear, common traits that form a rock-solid foundation for success.

I’ve summarized them down to the 5 C’s – a simple framework for not only understanding what’s needed, but also to help you identify where there is, or might be, a gap.

A gap that creates the weak link in your performance chain.

A gap that doesn’t allow you to consistently fire on all cylinders.

A gap that ultimately leads you to be less than you’re capable of and feeling disappointed, frustrated or confused as to why your ‘hard work’ didn’t translate to your best result. Continue reading

An uncommon – but highly effective – way to review your triathlon season

If you’re like most triathletes, you have a ‘thing’ for data and stats and reviewing the numbers of your training and racing results. Those certainly can tell you a lot.

But real success is experienced by what you think and how you feel. Success isn’t a number, it’s an emotion.

Now, stay with me here and don’t worry, I’m not going to get all soft on you.

But I am going to give you a different way to effectively evaluate your season that might give you more insights, hindsight and key distinctions that you can take forward into next year. These answers give you the foundation from which to build on.

Regardless of how high your highs were, or painfully low your lows were, there is always something you can gain from your experience that will make you more informed, more intelligent and more likely to take your triathlon performance to a whole new level the next time.

In fact, this isn’t about evaluating your season.

It’s about evaluating you during your triathlon season.

I highly encourage you to be proactive in this process and WRITE YOUR ANSWERS down. Don’t just read the questions and think “…that’s an interesting question…”.

Answer each question. In writing. You’ll be glad you did.

So grab your pen and paper and here we go…

1.    With hindsight, were your season goals clear and attainable?

2.    What were you most proud of this season?

3.    What would you like to duplicate next year?

4.    What frustrated or disappointed you the most this season?

5.    What do you not want to happen again next year?

6.    What did you learn by going through these experiences?

7.    What decisions did you make that were empowering for you?

8.    What habits seemed to hold you back from achieving your potential?

9.    What decisions must you make in order to have your best triathlon year ahead?

Remember, for maximum impact, take your time and answer all of these in writing. Jot down all the points that come to mind. Write as much as you’d like — often the greatest insights come just after you think you’ve done enough.

Give credit where credit is due. You may not like some of the answers you come up with but it may well set you free and keep your motivation high to stay fit in the off season and be ready to be at your best when the new triathlon season returns.

You’ll be glad you did – your body, mind and results will prove it.

Chris Janzen
Founder of & Inner Game coach

5 Lessons We All Can Learn From Chrissie & Crowie

It doesn’t matter if you’re top in your age group, an aspiring pro or someone who just wants to be the best triathlete they can be in the middle of the pack, we can all learn from the incredible performances at the Ford Ironman World Championships this past weekend in Hawaii.

As the hours passed, the usual drama and gripping storylines of athletes who overcame remarkable setbacks on the road to Kona gave way to two powerful performances from now three-time world champ Craig “Crowie” Alexander and now four-time world champ Chrissie Wellington.

While different in their make up and build up, both races for the champs were extra meaningful for them and their supporters.

Crowie put together the best race anyone has ever had at Kona and set the course record in 8:03:56. Chrissie overcame a more-serious-than-most-realized accident the week before the race and had to battle late in the race for the first time in her Ironman career.

As a keen observer of the inner game of triathlon and what makes the difference in those that continue to outperform versus the common underachiever, here are my 5 lessons we can all apply to our own triathlon endeavours.

1. Success is always within your control

Too many athletes are influenced by what others do or judge their performance based on the final clock.

But as Chrissie says, “There’s a lot of emphasis in our sport on times. For me the time is irrelevant. I judge my success on whether or not I’ve given absolutely everything. I couldn’t have given anything more. Going into any races we all have trials and tribulations. All my races are special. This one is probably the most meaningful performance, the most special performance to me.”

Regardless of the weather, the terrain, the competitors or adversity, you can decide to give it your all and battle hard to the end. That’s where true pride is experienced.

2. Your best is found outside your comfort zone

So many athletes – in and out of sport – cling onto their comfort zone, hesitating or refusing to push their limits in training. To feel the burning in the lungs, the pounding of the heart and the ache of going further than they have before.

But that’s where the growth happens.

“From mile four to mile 18, I was out of my comfort zone. We saw last year this race can be strategic. I didn’t want to give up the time I’d worked so hard for. You have to take risks.” stated Crowie after his record day.

You don’t have to push hard every workout or every week. You need to follow a smart program that builds your capacity in a systematic way. However, you can also give more than last time. Try it in short spurts in a controlled way if needed to begin with. It might be uncomfortable in the moment but the rewards are worth it.

3. Use dissatisfying results as extra motivation

If you’re one to dwell on poor performances and allow that to lead to self-critical judgements, then take a note from Crowie’s playbook. “Last year hurt a lot,” he said. “Mostly because I had a good race and got beat. Chris McCormack, Marino Vanhoenacker and Andy (Andreas) Raelert raised the bar. I told my group that I needed to train harder. Today was the fruit of all that hard work.”

Alexander felt a bit embarrassed by last year’s results and used that not just to get motivated and angry, but as an intelligent sign that he needed to change his approach. He sharpened his inner game and bolstered his training regime to be a better, stronger, faster athlete than ever before. He’s also the oldest winner in Kona.

Don’t wait until you’re too old to be your best. Start now and look for ways you can improve your inner game and inner strength to build towards an amazing season.

4. You can deal with more adversity than you think you can

It’s often said that champions are made when the going gets hard, not when it’s easy. A bike crash leading to a torn pectoral muscle for Chrissie meant she couldn’t swim at full strength, leaving her way behind her usual position coming out of the water. But this just made her more determined and committed to give it her all.

“I had confidence in my run, but there was always that question mark of the impact of the accident on my body. I had to dig to the deepest depths that I’ve ever done.” Chrissie noted in the post-race conference.

Adversity happens to all of us and we can’t control what does happen. But we ALWAYS have a choice on how we respond. Next time something bad happens to you, ask yourself “What would Chrissie do?” That might be just the inspiration you need to dig deeper.

5. You gotta have a dream

Goals and dreams are fundamental to achieving your best in any endeavour. They give you direction, motivation, and enable you to draw on your huge reservoir of persistence.

Reflecting on what he accomplished, Crowie reflected, “”It’s what you dream of. It’s what you aspire towards and what gets to you out the door to train.”

Do you have goals and dreams that propel you forward each day? Would you like to have more? With a bit more clarity, meaning and oomph in your plans for your season, you can develop more sustainable drive to put the work in to be at your best, and have your best season ever.

For a free download of a step-by-step guide to designing your best season click here.

Leave a comment to share what other lessons you learned from this year’s world championships or how you can apply these lessons to your season.

Chris Janzen
Founder of & Inner Game coach

The #1 Rule for Dealing with Adversity in Your Triathlon Race

It’s a pitfall that many triathletes fall into.

Weeks and months of training hard, testing a nutrition strategy, planning the details of what goes in the transition bag and deciding what’s left behind. All in the name of having a great — perhaps a perfect — race.

But as I often tell athletes I coach at, perfection is not an idealistic, let alone an optimal way to prepare for your race.

The potential for adversity is always lurking around you, ready to strike at any moment. The unpredictability can catch the best off guard. Sudden cramp. Flat tire. Torrential wind gusts. Another flat tire!

Regardless of what mother nature, the race director, bad karma or bad curry the night before does to you, your success (or perhaps survival) always depends on what happens next. Or more specifically, Continue reading

The Keys to Improving Your Consistency and Discipline – Part 2 of 2

In last week’s Part 1 of this article, I gave you a key approach to developing greater consistency. It’s one of the most common issues I work with athletes on at

The second part of the issue is how to summon more self-discipline.

While the question may be asked in different ways, the root of it is usually the same: “Why don’t I do what I know I should do, and how do I do it more often??”

Where I see this show up most often with Triathletes is in the little things – pushing hard to the end of the session, taking proper care of injuries, eating healthy meals, believing in their abilities and doing the smart things the day before a hard session rather than waking up with a hangover before a big ride.

Building on the core strategy for greater consistency, the fast track for improving your self-discipline has two components… Continue reading

The Keys to Improving Your Consistency and Discipline – Part 1 of 2

A common question I get at relates to “being more consistent and disciplined”.

Not a surprise given the length and volume of training put in over a season. It’s hard to be ‘great’ day in and day out.

Here’s a specific comment I recently received from a 50 year old female age grouper in New Jersey:

“I want to improve my diet and eat healthier all the time. I know and have felt how intertwined everything is…better diet=better sleep=better weight=better energy level=better performance. I’m just SO inconsistent and undisciplined.”

This is a big challenge for most triathletes (…and people in general). For the most part we know what food is best for us, yet that knowledge doesn’t always translate into consistent action.

I could elaborate on many facets of why this is, but getting down to the core, we need to understand that Continue reading

7 Steps to Evaluating Your Triathlon Race Performance

After all time you spend sweating, sacrificing and soul searching in the build up to your race, you owe it to yourself to effectively evaluate all aspects of your performance, and not judge success or failure simply by the time on the clock or ranking in your age group.

In this video, Chris Janzen, Founder of breaks down a 7 step process to make — and take — the most from your race day efforts.

You owe it to yourself to learn everything you can to improve your strengths and your weaknesses. Whether it was a PR or a PW (Personal Worst) it doesn’t matter. There are always lessons to learn, and insights you can use, to achieve your potential the next time. Continue reading

The 80-20 Rule For Achieving Your Personal Best

In this video, Chris Janzen of shares a critical distinction that all triathletes need to understand in order to achieve your personal best. The 80-20 Rule applies to training and racing — especially when you’re trying to develop a specific element of your technique and abilities. Continue reading