MICHAEL LOVATO | Professional Triathlete




Making Good Choices

Friday, March 25, 2011

Occasionally I find myself dispensing advice on how to make good choices. I find myself telling athletes I coach that there are two reasons to put a race on the calendar: emotional and rational.  While these reasons will sometimes overlap – and we get to do the smart and fun races – at other times, it’s one or the other.

Emotional reasons include, but are not limited to: a great vacation; fond memories and past experiences at the race; a great homestay; the chance to visit friends and family; a beautiful course; and even the chance to see a part of the world we’ve never seen.  These are all strong reasons, but they are not based in the realm of  rational decision making.

The rational reasons include: timing; ease of travel; type of course suiting the strengths of  the athlete; for pros, return on investment; and how the event aids in the progression toward a goal, or progression of the season.

Sometimes it’s OK to make the emotional call – especially for most age group athletes – but sometimes the only way for a pro to decide is by following a rationally laid-out plan.

After finally making my late spring migration to Austin, I have fallen right into a nice training rhythm. I am working hard, resting well, and enjoying the groove I’m finding. My original plan was to shut down the training early next week, to pack up, and to head out to Oceanside to race the Cal 70.3.  My reasons for choosing this race were as follows: I always start the year in O’side; I love visiting Southern Cal; I have so much fun catching up with my friends there; we have a great homestay – thanks Roch & Heather!; we love eating at Pipe’s and the Potato Shack after the race; I have done fairly well in the event formerly known as Ralph’s; and ever since 2001 when I raced it as an IM, it sure feels like a short day on that course!  There are other reasons, for sure, but it’s pretty clear the list is rife with emotional components.  All good, but not all that wise.

As I type away, it becomes obvious to me that a more rational approach would be smart. So I’m challenging myself to start a list of reasons to skip this event, and to find a replacement.  My list is here: I want a race that will be similar to IM Texas – flatter, windier, fast competition, and a bit of heat, humidity and wind; I want a race I can drive to; I want another week of training before I race; and I still want that same stacked field to push me to race hard and fast.  Looking at my criteria, I have settled on the 70.3 US Championships at Galveston.

It’s official, I’m making good choices, and it feels alright.  Galveston Island, here I come; and Manhole Cover Pancakes, I hope to see you next year!

2 Comment(s)

Jeff Irvin on 3/25/11 said:

Good post!

We will see you in Galveston! And now you get to eat at the Mosquito Cafe – one door closes, another opens (-:

John Howe on 9/4/11 said:

It is funny to me the reasons that we have for choosing the races that we do. The most common one being “I do it every year.” Thanks for the great perspective.

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