In Fast-Track Triathlete, elite triathlon coach Matt Dixon offers his plan of attack for high performance in long-course triathlon—without sacrificing work or life. Developed for busy professionals with demanding schedules, Dixon’s program makes your PR possible in Ironman®, Ironman 70.3®, Rev3, and Challenge triathlon in just 7-10 hours a week.

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When Sarah Piampiano first came to me for coaching, she was a high-achieving, amateur triathlete working long, hard hours as an investment banker on Wall Street. She had a couple of years of triathlon experience under her belt, but she was struggling to fit in the training.

The modest early successes and positive life changes Sarah experienced compelled her to begin training on a regular basis, but what she was doing wasn’t sustainable. She was limiting her success in both her high-level job and her aspiring triathlon career. In addition to working the long, Wall Street hours, she was trying to squeeze in 12 to 16 hours of training each week. She didn’t have much time for rest and recovery, let alone the ability to focus on proper nutrition, fueling, and hydration. She became more prone to illness and was often fatigued from lack of sleep.

Fast-Track Triathlete by Matt Dixon

Eventually, Sarah decided to reduce her weekly work commitment to 30 hours per week and focus more on her key training sessions, understanding that the sport-life balance sometimes didn’t allow her to execute all of the supporting sessions in her regimen. She immediately started to feel more rested, and performance followed. Sarah achieved such great results that she decided to turn pro in late 2011 and quit her banking job entirely in early 2012 at the age of 31, when most people are becoming more invested in their careers. It was a decision her family, friends, and coworkers didn’t all understand, but she knew it would afford her the chance to see how good she could be in triathlon. Shortly thereafter, she won the Ironman 70.3 in New Orleans and later finished 23rd in the Ironman World Championships in Kona.

For Sarah to achieve her performance capacity as a professional, training had to become her absolutely highest priority, and the other aspects of her life had to fit around it. Her weekly schedule grew to include three or four training activities per day. The increased training stimuli highlighted the need for more recovery. Along with putting a premium on appropriate rest and recuperation, Sarah also had to reprioritize nutrition and fueling to facilitate the goals of her training.

It was a tough transition, and Sarah pressured herself because she wanted to justify her decision to quit her high-income job. Early on, she made the mistake of training so hard that she couldn’t handle the intensity. Sarah has since found balance and developed a sustainable training regimen. She’s collected numerous podium finishes in Ironman and Ironman 70.3 races in recent years, including a 7th-place finish at the Ironman World Championships in 2015 and multiple Ironman championships.

In Fast-Track Triathlete, elite triathlon coach Matt Dixon offers his plan of attack for high performance in long-course triathlon—without sacrificing work or life. Developed for busy professionals with demanding schedules, Dixon’s program makes your PR possible in Ironman®, Ironman 70.3®, Rev3, and Challenge triathlon in just 7-10 hours a week.

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