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It’s Not JUST a Sprint!

Okay, so I’m in the thick of training for this Ironman.  Yes, it’s true.  But it’s likely going to get worse, and I am counting down the days before I get to actually relax on the weekends again.

Outdoor pool is open now! Yay!

Outdoor pool is open now! Yay!

I start the work week more tired than I was on the Friday before. And. I. Love. It. I am so thankful to be able to train for this race – especially now that I am allowed to start running a little.  Tomorrow… a whopping 1 mile run!  (Plus eternity on elliptical.)

Had a great weekend of swimming (1.5 hours) and cycling (8.5 hours), and this morning another 3800 meters in the books.  Too bad the cycling was indoors this weekend- 8.5 hours is a long time to be on a bike to nowhere.

But the trainer party on Sunday with The Assassin and Nyad for three hours helped. I made potatoes and got off the trainer waaaaaay more than I should have… but it was nice. And then I only finished 2.5 hours on my own.

5.5 hours on the trainer is all-time record. One I do not want to repeat.


It’s a lot of training, yes, but I’m in the homestretch (kind of) now… and I want to keep the momentum, for sure.

But I do want to point out ONE thing that is bothering me lately… some of you are emailing me or commenting on my training and you are saying things like, “wow, I am ‘ONLY’ doing a sprint” or “I can’t imagine this… I am ‘ONLY’ doing my first 5k.”



You are not “only” doing any race.

A sprint, a 5k, an Ironman—it doesn’t matter which one or how far—it’s all hard and it’s all personal.  A first open water swim is scarier than a first Ironman. Considering that I am about to stand on the shore of the latter… I know I am more confident now than I was after my first open water swim.

Yes, an Ironman is a stupid long time to do anything. I will give you that. Two years ago, the Expert and I were headed to St. Petersburg, Florida for our first Olympic distance triathlon. That “only” Olympic distance race was one of the hardest (yet, most rewarding) experiences ever. I think every race is hard. Every single one…

Iron Girl—- “just” a sprint—- is an incredibly challenging race… because why?  Because it’s a TRIATHLON! It’s a RACE!  It involves moving your body for way longer than anyone wants to move their body. It has big hills and you have to run… and that’s HARD.


So next time you say you are “just” doing a 5k or a sprint… think about what it means.  If it was “just” a piddly race, you wouldn’t be working so hard for it!

Do not downplay your personal acheivements and goals for the future. It sends the signal to your brain that you are somehow not doing what you need to do… and that’s not true.  You are doing exactly what you need to be doing.

Every race, every goal is a big deal.  Now… act like it! 🙂

(And I love you all! Just a little SBM tough love.)


  • Sarah

    April 29, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    Thanks for that! I was just a bit down reading all the “another mother runner” folks talking about their 1:50 to 2:00 half marathon times…my 1st lake swim (w/ a 5k at the end), 3rd sprint tri is July. It will be hot! hurray 🙂

    • Katie P.

      April 29, 2013 at 3:45 pm

      Sarah, as a slower runner (going on three weeks in a boot), i hate to admit that I have had to stop checking the AMR site Sat- Mon because I am so much slower than a lot of those runners. I know I should cut myself some slack but it’s HARD!!!

  • MV

    April 29, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    Ha! I have been saying this. It’s just the IronGirl sprint distance! I go back and forth between making it a Big Deal and realizing that I’ve done running races much longer (marathons) so why am I making it such a big deal? Thanks for the wakeup.

  • Jill

    April 29, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    Thank you, SBM!

    I used to be a marathoner, but had to give up the long runs due to nerve damage in my back. So I’ve had to do shorter races – and am doing my second “sprint” tri on May 11. And have ALWAYS said to anyone “it’s JUST a sprint”. So reading your post brought tears to my eyes. Because it IS hard work. It’s close to two hours of strain on my body where I’m pushing as hard as I can, and ignoring the aches and pains during training and the race itself. It’s not JUST anything.

    You’re an inspiration, and I am grateful for your posts.

  • Kelly

    April 29, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    Just want to say that YOU ROCK!! I read your book and loved it. I have done 2 sprints and 1 Oly. Going to EagleMan in a few weeks and am ridiculously nervous . I am 40ish and fit, but slow as hell. Just have to keep training and remember that I can do this!! Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Leslie Livingstone

    April 29, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    Thank you for this. I needed to hear this. It is not just a sprint, this is my life changing event. Thank you for kicking me in the ass. I had a break through this weekend at a 5K. I took 6 minutes off this course time. I was minimizing it because it wasn’t the 8 i was expecting. This is about progress not perfection. I am so glad you can continue your journey. Thank you for sharing you it with us. LES 🙂

  • Jenny Abbott

    April 29, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    Thank you, thank you for this post! I had my first 20 mile training ride this morning that I finished in 70 minutes. I’m ridiculously proud of myself (especially after a particularly horrible swim training session last week), but was about to post my achievement on my FB page with a bunch of qualifiers – oh, but it was inside on a stationary bike, it’s really slow for most people, etc, etc. So, no qualifiers. I kicked some training booty this morning, Yay me!

  • Cindy C

    April 29, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    Hi Meredith! I’m inspired by your training. You’re kicking butt – even with an injury! Quick question regarding the potato for biking fuel. How do you prepare it for eating on the bike? 🙂

  • Lauren

    April 29, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    Thank you for this! I have been following you for quite some time and you have inspired to me to sign up for my first sprint….THANK YOU. I could have not done this with out you! Race day! May 12!

  • Andrea

    April 29, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    LOVE this. A friend of mine commented last year when I was doing my first tri (at the age of 59) that someone she knew did REAL tris! I beg your pardon! I was so far out of my comfort zone and someone was downgrading it. OH NO YOU DON’T! It was a real tri for sure!!!

  • Amy

    April 29, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    Thanks for posting this! I’m guilty of it as well, calling my sprint “just a baby” one. Thing is, as “baby” comes out of my mouth, I *realize* I’m minimizing my hard work and hours training, usually to someone who generally has no idea what it means to train for one event, much less three. So thanks. 🙂 Because it HAS been a lot of work beginning this journey, and it still takes me almost an hour to swim my mile. 😉

  • Tricia

    April 29, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    Thanks. I needed that. I find myself almost apologizing for the fact that I am doing sprint triathlons! How ridiculous! I AM DOING SPRINT TRIATHLONS! HA! So there… Take that! 🙂

  • Brandy P.

    April 29, 2013 at 11:03 pm

    SBM, you have inspired me in more ways than I could possibly explain. I love this post because you are absolutely right. We so often say “it’s only” or “it’s just”. I am a little older than you, but with a few other things in common (young children, job that can be stressful and not always rewarding, etc.). My first sprint was last summer. I don’t know how far I will be increasing from that, but I signed up for that same race again. I had my first 10k of the year 2 weekends ago, and shaved 6 minutes off my time at this same race last year. Yet, I do the same downplay. Why? I should be proud of the 10k time and OWN the fact that I even attempted a triathlon and be rocking the fact that I finished it. Thank you for reminding me to take the time to be proud of what I have done. Goals are wonderful and keep us moving, improving, and living, but remember to CELEBRATE the achievment. Thank you SBM!!!

  • Jesseca Hauser

    April 29, 2013 at 11:40 pm

    Sometimes I think it is way easier to downplay our own acheivements and easier to celebrate others. Thank you for reminding us that we are all strong women no matter what we train for. 🙂 *hugs* to all SBM!

  • Cristen P

    April 30, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    I say this all the time! My first tri was the Danskin here in Austin, and lucky for me I had done some du’s and trained for it, because it’s one of the toughest Sprints I’ve done! No one should play down an 800m open water swim, a hilly 12 mile bike, and a 3.1 mile trail run! On the other hand, some newbies don’t take a Sprint tri like the Danskin seriously enough and they don’t do well to even make it through the swim. Whatever distance, my advice is to train for that and worry about the next one after you cross the finish line! Good luck Meredith, I know you are doing what you need to do for your IM!!

  • Rebecca

    May 1, 2013 at 8:46 am

    Thank you for that! I am doing my first super sprint this month, and a sprint in September. I needed to read this!

  • Kim @ Fabulous Fit Foodie

    May 2, 2013 at 8:18 am

    thanks for this encouraging post! I’ve been reading your book and have just started training for my first sprint tri coming up near the end of July. I am so much more confident and excited thanks to your fantastic book and all of your inspiring stories and words. It makes it all seem so real! I have never been a swimmer, but after reading the swim section in your book it helped me not feel discouraged about how (I feel) poorly my first two swim workouts have gone! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

  • Debbie

    May 6, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    Thank you for that! I completed my first tri sprint distance yesterday YAY! But it was hard, it took dedication, perseverance and persistence. That lake water was 61 degrees WARM and I had to dig deep to keep swimming and not get in that kayak and have them bring me to shore. SBM you are in inspiration and it is so awesome that you are doing an ironman!!! You go girl!!!

  • Julie

    July 11, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    Thanks for reposting this in your reply to Rachel on being “homeless”. I really needed it right now after finishing last in my tri this weekend. I had the “not only did I come in last – but I came in last in a sprint” attitude. I have slowly been getting over it and reading this did help.

  • Becky

    February 13, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    I’ve been following since about August and have been afraid to comment because I am “only” working toward my first “min” Sprint Triathlon at SpaGirlTri. I thought I would challenge myself. I love doing mud runs! I wold do them every month if I could afford it! I find it a nice way to just let loose and become stress free. Anyway I’m glad it’s ok that I “just” do 5k’s. By the way, I’ve been training my girly parts to appreciate a bike seat since August and it still gets really sore after only a few miles. How long does it take?!

  • Sue C

    February 13, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    When I was training for my first sprint tri I would down play it by saying to people “but it’s just a sprint distance”. After a finished (in less time than I had anticipated) I no longer say “just” for any race. I’m running my first half marathon on Sunday and looking forward to the next challenge!

  • Kim McKinney

    February 14, 2014 at 12:21 am

    Thanks for this. My journey to triathlons last year was scary, frustrating, exhausting, intimidating, littered with falls and scrapes, and fun too. I learned a lot about myself. I did my first half distance December 2013 and am looking forward to more sprints, Olympic and halfs in the future. You are right, there are no “justs” about any of them. Lets pat ourselves on the back for all our hard work and dedication to being “our” best.

  • Kris

    March 18, 2015 at 10:36 am

    Thanks! I am training for just a spring right now, my very first. I did my first run outside two days ago — two miles, where I had to stop and take a break after mile one. Because it was hard. Damn hard. But I did it. And I am really proud of myself. So, yeah, thanks for telling me I should be! 🙂

  • Emily

    March 18, 2015 at 10:38 am

    It’s true – what we train for us not “just” anything. It is time, and energy, and desire, and sweat, and dig, and push. My first tri was a sprint. Not “just a sprint” – but a sprint I trained for, a goal that was huge for me, a race that I worked my ass off to finish, and I was (and still am) mighty proud of it. And it will remain a distance I have a healthy respect for (as does pretty much every athlete I’ve ever met who has completed one).

    Thanks for the reminder – this was great to read this morning 🙂

  • Melody

    March 18, 2015 at 10:43 am

    I am obviously way late to this party since this blog is a couple of years old already – but I’ve just seen it for the first time 🙂 I think I will read and re-read this as I prepare for my first ever Try-A-Tri (or Super sprint), with the hopes of following that up a few weeks later with a Sprint. For someone with no background in swimming, biking or running it IS hard! But I remind myself that I am strong, I am determined and I can do it! I also remind myself of the words of my favourite fitness trainer – “If it was easy, everyone would do it!” Not everyone is, but I am!!
    I’ve read your book – which was wonderful and inspiring – and I think while I am on the course I will borrow two of your phrases, which are my favourite – “Just keep moving forward”, and “Run and done”!
    Thank you for your honesty, your inspiration and for reminding us that every distance is an accomplishment to be proud of!

  • Michelle

    March 18, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    Thank you for this blog! I am doing my “first” sprint triathlon April 12. I have been telling people, when they ask, it is only a sprint triathlon. Thanks for redirecting my thinking!

  • Barb

    March 18, 2015 at 1:40 pm

    I would also like to add that shorter distance races are completely different animals. NO ONE runs a 5k the way the run a marathon, whether they are fast or not. A sprint TRI is a SPRINT. You push harder for a shorter distance. An IM is raced at an easier pace because of the distance. You really can’t compare distances between any races. We also need to stop comparing ourselves to others. Compare yourself to yourself and your achievements.

  • Kari Howry

    March 18, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    Thanks Metedith. I needed to hear that! I finished my first individual Tri a few weeks ago. I say individual because I’ve only been able to do swims in relays or by myself in open water swim races previously. I’ve been telling everyone it was only an indoor Tri i55. (It’s still too cold in WA) lol. But it’s taken me 4 years to be able to do the whole thing because of one injury after another. I’ve also lost 130 lbs to get this far (still 100 lbs to go). So even tho this was timed rather than distance based, it was a HUGE accomplishment and I need to remember that. My goal is one or two sprints in the late summer as well as some open water swims and to finish off with a biggest looser Spartan Mud/obstacle race in the fall. Thanks for all your posted support. I think you touch more people than you realize.

  • Michelle

    March 19, 2015 at 12:01 am

    That’s great! Some people don’t realize it’s not about the distance, it’s about the journey and the accomplishment is in proportion to our lives. I’ve done everything from a 5k to an Ironman, so I’ve heard it all, but I would never minimilize a sprint–you earn everything! Great job, keep it up!

  • Tracy

    March 19, 2015 at 8:43 am

    THIS….is the post I needed today. I’m getting back into fitness after fighting fibro for 3 1/2 years. What I have come to realize is that I NEED to move despite doctors trying to make me stop…so yes that little sprint Tri I did a few years back was something & that little 40 minutes on the elliptical this morning was something TO ME. You are an amazing athlete! Thanks for the motivation!


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