by Tim Ford
We all know that triathlon for the most part is an individual sport. You swim, you ride then you run. You can draft in the swim (but no one is going to talk in the water), you can’t draft on the bike (although… some do) and on the run you can run alongside whoever you want but if you are able to talk by that part of the race chances are you should be pushing harder!
It’s one person completing all 3 disciplines. It isn’t the same as football or synchronised swimming where you need to work together for a mutual goal.
Or is it?
One of the biggest lessons about triathlon I have learned from Chris McCormack was that he didn’t do it alone. On race day he may have been the one who put together the final performance, but he got the help he needed to put himself into a situation where he could deliver that performance.
It changed the way I approached the sport. No longer did I just swim, bike and run a bit. I started following a plan and eventually I got a coach. I found an amazing dietitian to help with my fuelling and diet. I started suffering through regular massages to help keep my body in tiptop shape. I started working with a physio (admittedly too late) to overcome injuries and then prevent them from happening. I even found someone who could help with my mind.
Guess what happened? I improved! I improved A LOT.
I have a lot of people ask me, how did you do it and I often feel that my answer “I had a lot of help” isn’t exactly what people want to hear. There is this strange romantic view of triathlon that ‘real’ athletes do it themselves. I mean, some of the biggest names in our sport love to profess how they don’t have a coach, or they just worked it out themselves.
Now as easy as it is for me to say, "yeah, I had help and I got better," the reality is that this hasn't been a cheap endeavour for me. I hate to think how much I have spent on triathlon. I can’t even comprehend what it must be like for professionals with actual dedicated teams around them.
Then I started to work with Chris at MX Endurance, and this was something we discussed. He was adamant that everyone can benefit from working with others and why should a sport that is famous for being so expensive need to be so expensive?
Since then, that has become the core of what we are trying to do. Create an environment where people work together to improve. The old saying ‘the rising tide lifts all ships’ demonstrates what we are trying to achieve: a collaborative space where athletes learn from each other as well as from the people who know best.
Having issues with your gut when you race? Someone else has probably experienced the same issue and can tell you what they did to fix it. If they aren’t sure, a team dietitian can help.
Not sure how to increase your FTP by a few watts? Someone has probably ‘hacked’ the system and can tell you what they did to do it.
Not sure about which sort of shoe is best for your next race? You’ve guessed it! An MX member can probably help you out.
Lacking motivation? Our members will hold you accountable.
The point is that through being part of what we call a network, you can get answers to any of the questions or issues you come up against. On top of that, we leverage our numbers to access discounted prices and the more of us there are, the more discounts we get. We also work hard to provide our members with extensive training resources to help them improve or educate themselves to be better athletes.
I genuinely struggle to explain to people what MX is all about. We aren’t here to replace your local tri club. We aren’t trying to tell you to leave your coach or that you don’t need one. I think the best way for me to try and explain it is that we are here to support all triathletes to be the best triathlete they can be. We want to work with anyone and everyone who wants to help make this incredible sport even better.
So if you are sick of feeling alone or just want someone to bounce ideas off or hey, even help out some other people come and get involved because by working together, we all win!
To find out more about MX Endurance or apply for our 2021 Race Team click here.
Tim Ford is the CEO of MX Endurance and a member of our team of coaches. He has gone from being a complete novice weighing well over 120kg to a top athlete with a 4:06 PB for a 70.3. Through his time in the sport he has learned skills which help him to assist athletes of all levels and abilities.