The Art Of Triathlon Training

This month, former pro triathlete Dirk Bockel launched his five-book package, available exclusively on his athlete blog– liveandlettri.com.

Amongst amateurs and professionals alike, Bockel holds a sound reputation built on hard work, dedication and sportsmanship. What I most respect is his willingness to share his knowledge and support others to reach their goals. He doesn’t hold on to his ‘secrets’ in fear others will use them, but answers questions openly and honestly. With his newest series of books, Bockel shares his wisdom to fuel the journey for the next generation of triathletes to come. A joy to read, the personality of this champion shines through on every page.

Dirk started seriously racing triathlon at just 16 years old and climbed through the ranks of the German National Team, collecting world championship titles as a junior and rising to selection to the German Olympic Team in 2004. He grew fast as an athlete and developed a true winner’s nuance to racing. After years of living, training and racing in Luxembourg, he decided to take Luxembourg nationality and represent his new country at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. As an outstanding competitor, Bockel led the race for over half an hour. In front of the millions of spectators watching him across the world, he created a name for himself that is still greatly respected today.

The “bald guy from Luxembourg” continued to go from strength to strength as he started racing more in the US. After his life-long dream of becoming an Olympian was realised, he decided to shake things up again, graduating to the dreamy heights of Iron-distance racing. This was where he found his true talents lay. Today, Dirk reflects on 27 incredible years of triathlon, training, racing, travelling and success. From the obscure to the extreme, to the darn right ridiculous, Dirk has seen, heard and tried it all. He has trained amongst some of the world’s greatest short and long-distance triathletes and has endless gems of knowledge to share.

In ‘The Art of Triathlon Training: A proven guide for your triathlon journey’ Bockel provides the readers with his tool box for racing. He writes with a solid understanding that it is not only the racing that is important, but everything it takes to get you to that start line. From pro, aspiring pro, novice to those of us just considering getting up off the sofa, this guide covers everything from daily training logistics, to managing a personal life and maintaining balance whilst doing what you love.

Yes, Dirk achieved phenomenal sporting success throughout his career, yet he never once suggests that there weren’t hardships or disappointments along the way. He openly explains about his mistakes from over-training to forgetting his helmet on race day! But through his wise words, he lets the reader see that failures can fuel successes and push us, like they did him, to go harder and further than you ever thought you could go. From getting down to the root of the problems and figuring out his plan, Bockel shares the abundance of information he has found on his journey – information he now shares to help us succeed. Where he has had to waste time with errors and learning from the mistakes, he now uses them to guide us on the right path from day one!

The book follows a logical format laying the groundwork from the get go. After all, “by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” He includes the necessary additions to your support team and explains what kit is really necessary for pro and amateur alike. Throughout Dirk’s career he was blessed with the best of the best. From the highest qualified doctors, to biomechanics, physiotherapists and world class coaches. He has been fortunate to use breakthrough technologies like wind tunnels, ‘Alter-G’ running and everything in between to help him achieve on race day. Through the years, whatever was the latest development was in sport, Bockel embraced it in a flash. He has certainly ‘been there, done that, and got too many t-shirts to count!’ Yet, he came from humble beginnings on a training bike, and is quick to ensure that he will never forget this.

His practical, realistic and straightforward approach to training cuts out the waffle and sticks to the point. As the book progresses, we hear stories of his racing mishaps with humour and authenticity in his tone. He tells us the Dos and the Don’ts of training in each discipline, with a consideration of real life. (My personal favourite about the Dos and Don’t’s of swim training – for any triathlete who has tried to do a threshold swim set in public lanes, I am sure you will appreciate this bit too!) Once we’ve developed the foundations, we start to learn about how to put theories into practice as we hit race day. But it is not all training, racing and numbers. What I love about this guide, is that Dirk looks holistically. This is a book for PEOPLE, not athletes alone. In the final chapter, Dirk writes about the ‘Mindful Champion’. He teaches the importance of mental strength and balance. He talks of mental toughness and how to build resilience for success. He talks of his lows and highs in the frankest of terms and how to build the mental pillars needed in the mind of a champion. 

This book is not about the short cuts or technologies that shave off watts; this book is the essence of triathlon at its purest. This is the story of a triathlete’s life journey that has come full circle. Through his experiences, Bockel shares his deepest insights. He filters out what strategies made him a champion, and which didn’t. Through years in the sport, Dirk constantly evolved as an athlete, learning, adapting, changing and embracing new challenges. From old-school racing to modern day ITU short distances and IRONMAN classics. Dirk Bockel has modelled himself to become the champion he is today and one of the most decorated triathletes to date. He was able to constantly improve as an athlete and as an individual – a roadmap for success that he now passes on to us. It’s no more wasting time. No more wasted money. No more empty miles. Just proven, real-world tested, confirmed results that are proven solutions of success. There is surely no greater teacher of wisdom than real life learning.

“Life doesn’t begin with Triathlon and it doesn’t end with Triathlon. What you learn having trained and competed in Triathlon will flow into the rest of your life. There is no curtain pulled after you stop the big race. The scenery is different. The champion remains.”

Jemima Cooper

Written by Jemima Cooper

Jemima is an Age Group triathlete, Pilates instructor and psychology undergraduate student at the University of Bath. After 16 years of classical ballet training, Jemima took a completely new direction when she went off to university in 2017, where she began training and competing in triathlon. Jemima is a true lover of endurance sport and she is always in search of a new challenge. She has big dreams and aspirations to become a professional athlete and is ready to work hard to achieve this.