SWOT. Do you remember this from your business classes in college? It seemed that every class I took during my undergrad and graduate programs discussed SWOT at some point. We had to identify a company and then do a SWOT analysis on them. It seemed so routine and mundane and you just sort of glossed over it. Amazing what can come back around and play a vital role in your life.
Today while working with companies on their recruitment marketing strategy I am performing SWOT analysis so that my calls are educated and simultaneously opening the eyes of those that I am working with as to what they are, should and could be doing in terms of marketing to attract top talent as well as retain the talent they already have.
While doing this I thought about how I could put this SWOT analysis to a practical use for my triathlon ‘career’. What parts of the sport of triathlon were my strengths and weaknesses? Where did I have an opportunity to improve and at the same time what were the threats to this improvement? This ‘off-season’ I have pushed off races that I thought I wanted to do for a number of different reasons from burnt-out after 3 Ironman and 3 Half-Ironman races in a 15 months period to timing of the events. Regardless of the reason I wanted to put my off-season training to good use and so leveraging my education and SWOT analysis I realized different areas for improvement. Here is my SWOT analysis on myself for triathlon.
SWOT ANALYIS – TRIATHLON
- Running. My running has been a strength of mine since I started this sport and it was evident by the marathon time I put up at Ironman Texas this past May. The 15th fastest run out of 400+ M40-44 made me happy and showed that I can run well of a properly ridden bike leg.
- Head strong. I have an ability to shut out the heat, the pain, and the negative talk that will surface during a triathlon regardless of distance. I realized earlier this year that I run well when I run angry so I focus on things that make me rage during runs and I am able to focus on that only and get the legs moving.
- Swimming, but not from the standpoint of moving my arms and legs but more of the mental side to swimming, specifically treading water. This weakness causes major anxiety and thus an elevated heart rate that pulls energy from me during the swim and forces me to slow down.
- Losing focus. Not on triathlon but on other aspects of life. Making sure that I get in that 3 hour ride despite the fact that I may be cutting it close to an appointment that I have to attend or a number of other examples that are the same.
- I have chosen to focus a lot of time on the bike this off-season and taking advantage of the faster athletes in Dallas. Chasing them around the area despite getting my HR into Z3 for an entire 100 mile ride. Pushing the envelope with them so that I can get faster and more efficient on the bike which will lead to a stronger and more efficient Ironman bike leg.
- Swimming in the open water as much as I can. I have a lake right by my house and a number of triathlete friends willing to jump in at a moment’s notice. Using them to develop the skill of drafting while working on my anxiety as much as I possibly can including 1 hour swims on Saturday and Sunday before long bike rides.
- Time. With new responsibilities at work there is less of an opportunity to workout during the day. This means that those afternoon lunch rides and runs will need to be replaced with afternoon strength sessions and swims in the pool which may not be long but have to be effective.
- Swimming pool. As the weather gets colder jumping in the lake is going to be more difficult and the location of my new office provides me with a gym just one block away. The problem is that the pool is 18 meters long. Really? Who thought this was a good idea? Three strokes and I am flipping back. I will certainly be dizzy from any long swim.
By doing a SWOT analysis of my triathlon life I should be able to create a better off-season strategy to address my weaknesses and turn them into strengths while riding myself of the threats and taking advantage of my opportunities.