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Decisions & Excuses

This guest post is brought to us by @SwimBikeNap, Todd Nixon.  I loved this post because it’s something that’s been weighing on me over the last few months.

Todd is the #BestTriClubEver manager and most recently, joined Team SBM Tri as an associate coach. He has been a valuable part to the Swim Bike Community for several years now, and can often be seen bossing me around.

(Oh wait, no… I can be seen bossing him around. #BestTriFriendsEver).


“Traveling a lot for work and having three kids, I have had my share of reasons for missing workouts.  From not being able to find a pool, to forgetting my gear, whatever.  You name it, I used the “reasons.”

I’ve busted my hump to bulldoze my way to shy away from blaming myself and pretending the world is my enemy.

The more I listen to podcasts and read, the more a quote from Tony Robbins keeps popping up.  It keeps resonating in my head and I can’t stand it.

The simple but powerful quote is: The quality of your life is equal to the quality of the questions you ask.

This is so true in life, but also in the world of triathlon. People will ask friends, family, coaches, and Facebook groups all kinds of questions—questions that don’t have much quality to them.

For example: “I have been training my butt off for my first Half Ironman in 4 weeks. Do you think I’m ready?!”

When I see these, I always want to be supportive… BUT not knowing the person or their workouts, but I am very hesitant.

The high quality questions should be more like:

“I’ve been training 5-6 days a week, injury-free with my longest swim, bike, and run being 2200 meters, 60 miles, and 13 miles.  I’ve got an excellent nutritional plan and have been practicing my transitions.  Do you think I’ll be ready in 2 weeks for my half ironman?”

This kind of question will give a much more realistic answer, AND lead to a better expectation of race day.

My full-time occupation is Occupational Safety & Health. In the world of safety, we try and do what’s called Root Cause Analysis in order to find the root cause of an “accident.” One of the simplest ways to do this is to ask “why” at least five times.

The same thing can be done for trying to figure out why a workout hasn’t been completed.


Ask yourself “why” several times and you’ll ultimately realize it goes back to a decision you made.

For example, traveling a lot, I would forget to pack goggles or my swim gear.  I would say I didn’t get the swim workout because “I was too busy and forgot.”  Really?  No.  Why didn’t I pack it?  Because I didn’t prepare.  Why didn’t I prepare?  And so on…  I realized that I NEVER forgot my work gear that I always have to take with me on trips.  So what did I do?  I duplicated my swim bag with the same stuff that I would need at a minimum for a swim workout and then put it in my travel bag I never forget.  There.  I bulldozed the reason I had for missing swim workouts when traveling.

[SBM Note:  Finding pools when traveling is a low-hanging fruit excuse. Check out – for pools EVERYWHERE. #noexcuses]

Being a guy, I never thought about this–but volleyball player Gabby Reese has said,

“As a woman, we’re taught as young girls, ‘Hey, be nice.  Nice girls act like this.’ It takes a long time to get to a place of ‘I’m going to do things, say things and believe in things that people aren’t going to like, and I’m going to be okay with that.”

While this may be true to some, I wonder if it’s true for others? Has the decision to compromise too much caused the reason (or excuse) to occur?  Maybe…

After I realized that reasons were actually decisions that I’ve been making all along, I made a decision that impacted many other things as well.  I made the decision to look at my decision-making as a power and not to “blame” (or shame) myself for the decisions I made.  After all, the decisions I made were due to the bad information I had from the bad questions I made.

So rather than blame the world around me, I’ve chosen to ask better questions to the world around me …AND take action on the “why” I did (or didn’t) do something, as opposed to beating myself up about it.

Next time something happens whether it’s missing a workout, not “having time” to read, or eating something you know you don’t want to eat (or shouldn’t eat)… take a moment and ask yourself “why”.


The hard truth is that it’s often right in our power to control those items–workouts, food, etc. We can’t control much in our lives, but these sorts of things–we usually can.  (And we should!)  We just have to stop giving ourselves an “out.”

[SBM Note:  Check out podcast Episode 3: “Excuses and Lies” for more discussion on this.]



Todd Nixon is a multiple IRONMAN finisher, USA Triathlon Level 1 Certified and Youth and Junior Certified triathlon coach. He has coached triathlon since 2014, and lives in the Atlanta area with his wife and three kiddos (who like to play with the Swim Bike Kids). Todd is also the #BestTriClubEver manager and director of sponsor relations. Most recently, he has joined Team SBM Tri as an associate coach.




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