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Triathlete Michellie Jones emphasizes the importance of goals

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Simply put, Michellie Jones is one of the best triathletes in the world, male or female. With wins at every distance, over a huge variety of courses, and against world-class competition, Jones has proven herself time and time again when it counts.

The Australian triathlete has an athleticism and competitiveness that were nurtured at an early age . . . you could even say it’s in her genes. Since birth, she’s had friendly rivalries with her twin sister.

It was her high school running coach who first suggested she compete in triathlons in 1998. So she gave it a try in a sprint-distance race and ended up placing second overall and winning her age group, even though she had very little swimming experience and lacked top-level equipment. "I remember that I rode with a $200 bike and rode in my running shoes with no aerobars."

Bitten by the triathlon bug and her initial success, she set out to improve her swimming and cycling. She then went on to compete in a growing Australian racing circuit, and she paid her way through college with her winnings. In 1991 she came to the United States and began a legendary career as a pro triathlete.

To date, Michellie has 160 wins under her belt and counting, including the Ironman, a silver medal in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, 12 World Cup victories, 8 ITU world championship medals, and scores of wins in some of the sport’s most prestigious events.

"I think what drove me early on was my drive to get better and better in the pool and on the bike. Once I found a sport that I truly loved, it was really strong motivation and a challenge to work on my weaknesses."

Besides working on weakness, Michellie emphasizes the need to set goals: "For beginners, the most important thing is to have a major goal, such as finishing your first triathlon, based on minigoals for training. These could be swimming in open water, running continuously for 5K, or riding a set distance. And setting your major goal, maybe even registering for a race you want to complete, will keep you honest. You know you have to be ready on that race day, so that will keep you motivated and working on your minigoals."

 

This is an excerpt from Triathlon 101.

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