Discipline is needed for success in sport

May 22nd 2018

By Matt Hill
Categories: Triathlon Training

Discipline is needed for success in sport

Discipline is an importance trait to have, and one that sometimes needs strengthening, if you want to succeed in sporting performance.

If you are a sporting hobbyist (any sporting activity, not just triathlon), there needs to be an element of discipline to keep a balance. To successful balance life (family, friends, work, etc), health and wellbeing sensible and permanent actions must be taken.

Training discipline

The three main elements that need to be assessed, acted on and stuck to are:

  • Choices – commitment/dedication. “To do or not to do
  • Time management – fitting everything together effectively
  • Preparation – plan for the future, rather than leaving things to the last minute

We will explain each section in more depth below, but remember, for most of us sport is a hobby – not a livelihood. Therefore, prioritising life, training, nutrition and rest is very important.

For those not making a living from triathlon (most of you out there), this is the sensible order of priority:

  1. Health and wellbeing – nutrition and rest
  2. Life – family, friends, work, etc
  3. Hobbies – triathlon

Health and wellbeing comes first – self-preservation, survival! For us to live we must eat, drink and rest. One could argue that sport (triathlon) should fall under health and wellbeing; as it boosts fitness, among lots of other things, but triathlon is a hobby, which comes after the next priority.

Life(style) – looking after others (family and friends) and earning an income (to keep a roof over our heads and put food on the table).

Unfortunately, much to peoples annoyance, hobbies must come third. Whatever the hobby, it has to be prioritised last.

Without focusing on health and wellbeing you won’t be in a fit state to help others or earn an income, and therefore, won’t have the energy, focus, disposable income or time to perform your hobby.

Here are our tips for balancing out health, life and hobby:

Being disciplined with your choices

"Do I or don't I?"

“Life is a matter of choices, and every choice you make makes you.” —John C. Maxwell, American author

 The first step is to choose what you want to do (a triathlon)! What is your goal (a 70.3)? Is it realistic (will the training fit with your other commitments)? Will you consistently choose to perform the sessions needed to reach your goal (on the dark cold winter mornings!)?

Choices can be categorised as commitments and dedication. You must choose to commit to the training, fitting it in around life as well as fuelling and resting (time management) to reach success.

“Habit” must be formed (good habits!), increasing your chance to succeed.

We all have choices to make and we can all choose what to do from the time we awake each morning. To make this choice easier, we can choose when it’s not so tough a decision – the day before – and prepare everything we need to be able to get out and train.

 Time management

Time is precious, manage it wisely

“If only there were more hours in the day!”

To get the best out of your choices, you must design an effective schedule. The more regimented your schedule, the higher chance of sticking to allotted time frames. Consistency is the key to success. Having a schedule that is set and is repeated week after week creates more habits, allows for better preparation and makes training measurable progressive.

Some life elements are fixed (work hours or the need for fuel and sleep), while others are flexible and can be placed at our discretion (socialising, cooking, training). It is important to set aside time to manage your schedule; choose how to fit everything together so you can prepare in advance…

Set deadlines or curfews for each activity; at work, when socialising, to finish training sessions and to rest!

Preparation makes discipline easier

Be disciplined enough to prepare, or you may fail!

“Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail”, “Prior Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance

The key to sticking to schedules and prior choices is preparation. If you “wing-it” (anything – life, work, training), it is not likely to follow structure or be sustainable.

Everything can be prepared! Simple tasks like preparing breakfast (lunch, dinner and snacks), kit bags, work clothes, etc can all be prepared in advance. Doing so will all make getting up, going to work, eating, drinking, training, sleeping much easier.

Choosing a schedule and preparing for each section of the schedule will result in a better quality of life (health and wellbeing), productivity (at work, home and training) and will lead to more enjoyment of hobbies and racing (because you have time to train, you recover and fuel as needed and keep fun involved due to time and energy!).

Hannah describes how she food preps

Have the discipline to prepare food for the coming days


“If you struggle to keep on top of your nutrition I would recommend having some sort of plan. Whether you struggle to fuel yourself enough, or you find it hard to eat the right foods at the right time, being organised and planning ahead will help.”

“I treat my food schedule like my training schedule and stick to it like glue. Tricks like cooking enough for two days and making easy packed lunches have made it realistic and maintainable. My recipes and schedule help keep fuelling simple and quick, which helps even more!”


Remember, it is easy to make an excuse and NOT do something (too tired, too many other things to do, don’t feel like it,…); but being disciplined and choosing to do something, preparing before-hand and managing your time means you can handle the demands and fit everything together.

For those freak events, the things that pop up unexpectedly, they can be managed too.

Set aside a few minutes, assess the correct way of handling the situation. Prepare what you need to prepare and have the discipline to “stick to your guns” and execute your preparations. Remembering your priorities:

  • Health and wellbeing – you must factor in your wellbeing and survival (eat, drink and sleep)
  • Life – see to others needs, work projects, etc (if you are fit and fed you can do this effectively)
  • Hobbies – after seeing to yourself, aiding others/finishing a project you can add to your health and wellbeing by training