Dave Scott on how goal-setting can help you focus when going long

We ask the six-time world Ironman champ for his tips on how to break your first long-distance triathlon into maneagable chunks – and stay the distance

Dave Scott coaching during his recent visit to the UK

“Yes, the length of Ironman is intimidating, but if you break it down into pieces then it goes pretty fast. People always ask me if it’s a long day and I say ‘no, if you break it down into pieces it goes pretty quickly’. Even for someone who’s doing it for 15 hours, have a visual roadmap of what the course looks like and go over it in your head.


“Even if there’s a hard section, well then it’s hard for everyone. People will say to me ‘it’s really windy, Dave Scott likes windy…’ – I don’t like windy at all! But mentally I’ll just relax.

Set specific goals

“Your readers should have goals. I think its really important to have a main one that is realistic, that says ‘I did a good job, I was on it today.’ Have two, write them down. If you’re capable of riding 28K an hour and that’s a goal, then great.

“I get people asking me ‘what should I do if I feel good?’ and I say ‘if you feel good then go!’ They say ‘if I feel good should I put my brakes on?’ and I look at them like, are you deranged? What are you talking about? For first-timers, when they get into that flow… Just go!

Tune into how you feel

“Sometimes I think you have to break it down and do a physical inventory – relax your face, your head, your neck. Concentrate on a body part. Look at your legs, think ‘yes, I’ve got muscles in my legs, they’re working, I feel really fluid’. Break the race down into segments – into smaller pieces, into each turn of the legs. That helps us establish tangible goals and goals you can attain too.

“When people say they want to do a long-distance triathlon ‘just to finish’ I understand that. Yes, you want that finishers’ medal – it is a lofty goal just to get through with this. But break it down into pieces, because if not then you’re going to be consumed with the length of it and that’s a real mistake.”

Listen to Dave Scott as he talks you through his quick training tips to improve your form in swim, bike and run:

 Find Dave Scott’s advice on how to build a training plan for long-distance racing here.


Dave Scott is the first 6x IRONMAN World Champion and a Master Coach of IRONMAN U.  As the founder of the Dave Scott Multisport Institute, he dedicates himself to making triathletes of all levels faster and more efficient.  Learn more at www.davescottinc.com