At the beginning of the 2010 season I resolved to take a fresh approach to being a Professional Triathlete. In short, in 2008 & 2009 I had raced the Pro World Championships but triathlon remained far from being a profession - I was spending far more money chasing qualifying spots around the world than I was gaining in prize money. Competing in triathlon professionally was losing me money. There were two options; keep doing what I was doing and become bankrupt or revaluate my priorites so I can earn a living from the sport and keep doing what I love.

I based this fresh approach on a blog by Chuckie V who has been there and done it all before. Written in black are Chuckie's thoughts, in blue my thoughts pre 2010 season, and in orange my thoughts post 2010 season.

Lifestyle

(1) Consider the sport a hobby until you can generate enough income through it, but treat your hobby dead serious.
    I think I am too serious to call it a hobby?!
    Yes I am, but I am still not professional enough.
(2) Generate enough income somehow, whether through mooching, coaching, or by---God forbid---getting a real job!!
    Coaching is coming very soon, and I have a bit of a real job ??
    I am really excited by the coaching I now have in place; through Team Dillon, coaching the Bath University team and 'my' own athletes who have found me through my website. My 'real job' does it's job but it is not a long term prospect.
(3) Solicit financial assistance, whether through sponsorship, mom and dad or your soon-to-be-ex-girlfriend
    Anyone looking for athletes to sponsor? Thank you mum & dad. Girlfriend??
    In 2010 I attracted some fabulous sponsors; TRI 11, Spiuk, Muscle Milk and Cytosport. And enjoyed the support of my family, girlfriend and friends.
(4) Keep your expenses low. Live in your car. No car? Live in a friend's car! And eat in.
    This one's easy - no car, too expensive ;-)
    I pay less rent than last year. Still need to spend less on food.
   
Racing

(5) Enter only the races that pay. Stop cherry-picking at events that feed only your ego. See (11) below.
    That's the 2010 plan
    I think I was actually very good at this.
(6) Race competitively. Don't participate when you're not going to be competitive.
    This mistake defines 2009
    I over raced at the end of the season when I should have been more selective. I managed to overcome my ego and withdraw from a well paying race in China when I was feeling under the weather. This turned out to be very smart as I was ill for 10 weeks.
(7) Aim to gain experience, despite the two aforementioned recommendations.
    I'll do what I can
    I raced selectively to gain experience at the top end, sadly neither race was what I hoped for.
(8) Bond with other pro triathletes and create a union. Or continue fighting for scraps.
    Better people than I have tried and sadly failed. Though I definitely believe the pros desperately need a voice...!
    PROTA was born. The Professional Triathlon Association which has wide support within the community and much potential. Sadly the WTC refuses to recognise PROTA and made no consultation with the organistion when reformulating the Ironman qualification process.

Training

(9) Train wisely. See (10) below. Improve your weaknesses, whether they're in the sport, the wallet or in your head.
    Hopefully I will address the weakness in my head which is leading to the weakness in my wallet
    My bank balance is now much healthier than this time last year. Whilst still in no way being in a good state, at least it is no longer such a constant worry or stress.
(10) Hire a competent coach, or, better yet, a SET of competent advisers.
    I think (2) is going to have to come about first, unless Teambath want to come out and play??
    I couldn't afford to hire any advisers up until now but will consider it. I may also have a something up my sleeve.

Ego

(11) Drop the ego. Our numbers, while growing, are insignificant…just like you. Bite your tongue 'til it bleeds; pry open your ears 'til they bleed.
    Turns out I'm not very good at the biting my tongue....and am reluctant to apologise for this.
    It is unfortunate that the elephant in the room continues to be ignored as it does nobody any favours and serves to only perpetuate the problem. 
(12) Ask questions and read all you can. Be a student of the sport. Respect your elders. Reread (11)
    Will read more
    I did and will do again
(13) Understand not just your physiological responses to training & your psychological responses as well. See (10)&(11)
    Always working in this
    And still am
(14) The choice to be an "elite" is yours and yours only. It is a CHOICE. If you feel entitled to anything just because you are a pro, you are anything but pro. Read (15)
    I already know this one and will never lose sight of it.
    I love doing what I do
   

Me and My Competition

(15) Don't do this half-ass or your results will be half chance. Do everything full ass. The clock is unforgiving, as is your competition. And thus you should be.
    I can be more full ass for sure.
    Repeat
(16) Give it time. Stay the course.
    How much time is enough time?
    I think as long as your approach is constantly evolving with your circumstances then you never run out of time. If you find yourself following an untenable path then you will run out of time.
(17) Learn to love to kick ass. Love learning to kick ass.
    This is going on my wall...
    I need to kick my own ass more.
(18) Know that somewhere out there somebody is out-working you: now, then and then again.
    So is this one...
    My favourite mantra.