What type of triathlete are you?

Is it going to be a case of new year, new you? Have you set new goals for 2020 that you WILL achieve? Give yourself a headstart by using this article to find out what type of triathlete you, are and what you need to do to reach those goals..

What type of triathlete are you?

Working your way through the below questions will help you to find out more about your triathlete personality characteristics. Think carefully about each question, but don’t read on until you’ve formed your opinion. Below each are some advantages and disadvantages that apply to each characteristic. By better recognising your triathlete personality you’ll be able to make the most of your advantages and guard against some of the possible pitfalls. You’ll also be in a better position to have a more focused and consistent winter of training.


Sports psychology: how to understand your personality to achieve your goals



Do you prefer to train alone or with others?

Train alone

 Train with others  

Advantages You’ll have greater flexibility and control over your sessions if you mostly train alone – good if you’re a good planner and disciplined.

Disadvantages If planning isn’t your strong point, you might not improve as quickly as you could. You’ll miss the opportunity to learn from buddies or from coaches.

Advantages You probably don’t have to do too much session planning if you’re going to group and coached swim, bike and run sessions. You’ll learn from the coaches and others.

Disadvantages The training you do with others might not be right for you (too fast, too long, not focusing on your key weakness and so on). Also, if you can’t make group sessions, you might end up struggling to find the motivation to do your own session instead.

Are you self-motivated or do you need other people to motivate you?


Motivated by others

Advantages Your motivation is likely to be consistent and reliable; it’s yourself who gets you out the door to train on those tough days.

Disadvantages You might lose out on the extra motivation to be enjoyed by using other people to inspire you or compete with.

Advantages Competing with others or being inspired by others can help you try harder.

Disadvantages How will you cope on the days others aren’t around? This can be challenging if you don’t have a fair amount of self-motivation.

Do you stay the course or do you give up rather easily?

Stay the course

Give up rather easily

Advantages Great – you have determination, which is needed to reach your peak.

Disadvantages You might risk injury or staleness if you don’t back off enough at the end of the season or when you need to rest more.

Advantages Sorry, there aren’t any!

Disadvantages You’re unlikely to reach your goals. (Ensure you set some short- and medium-term goals, and consider getting others involved so they can help encourage you to continue when motivation wanes.)

Do you plan your training or do whatever you feel like?

A planner

Do what I feel like

Advantages Planning a programme that leads to success is satisfying.

Disadvantages Producing a balanced plan, focussed on your key areas, won’t necessarily be easy to do. You may do more planning than actual training.

Advantages Going with the flow is less prescriptive and restrictive than following a plan.

Disadvantages You might omit vital elements of a training programme because they are less attractive to you. Similarly, you might fail to put in place adequate recovery periods.

On a given day do you follow your plan no matter what, or go with how you feel?

Follow my plan

Go with how I feel

Advantages Going with the plan is great if you are ready for the given session. You’re going to get the training effect you planned.

Disadvantages Doing the planned session no matter what brings a risk that you train when you should be backing-off and recovering more adequately, thus risking overtraining and illness.

Advantages Being aware of how your body is feeling and backing off when necessary is key to progressing by avoiding doing too much and overtraining.

Disadvantages It’s sometimes difficult to be sure whether you’re a little tired or ill. So compare how you feel with other measures of under-recovery or overtraining such as changes in waking heart rate, appetite, mood, sleep and so on.

Are you a risk-taker (adrenaline junkie) or cautious?



Advantages You’ll find different routes and sessions to keep your interest high. Your body may then respond more quickly to this variety.

Disadvantages More risk means more chance for injury. Be careful to manage your need for excitement with the risk – you don’t want to miss the ’15 season!

Advantages You’re more likely to make it safely to the start line this season.

Disadvantages Your performance might be hampered by avoiding some of the more challenging sessions – for example, working on bike cornering, descending skills or confidence by riding in the rain.

Do you enjoy the tough sessions when you’re really pushing it, or the easier ones?

Tough sessions

Easier sessions

Advantages Good – it’s important to be able to push yourself in training sessions.

Disadvantages You might push yourself too much – during base training, a given week or a given session. This might lead to injury or overtraining.

Advantages You’re less likely to get injured and you’ll probably develop great aerobic endurance through easier training.

Disadvantages You might drop speed work (fartlek, anaerobic threshold and so on) for too long over the winter, lose conditioning and do too little high-end work leading up to race season.

Are you a bit of a dreamer, rarely achieving what you dream about, or do you achieve what you set out to achieve?



Advantages It’s great to dream and plan to achieve great things.

Disadvantages Some of your dreams need to be in line with your abilities and efforts.

Advantages It feels great to achieve.

Disadvantages If you are always achieving, are you setting your goals too low?