I Swam, Biked, and Ran 70.3 Miles in One Day. Here's What I Learned

Devin Arrigo

Photo via Unsplash


If you don’t work consistently towards your goals, you’re probably not ever going to achieve them.

After accomplishing one of the biggest goals I ever set for myself — an Ironman triathlon consisting of 70.3 miles of swimming, biking, and running — I’ve learned that big goals require consistent, daily action.

For me, it took waking up at 6:00 am to complete training session #1 before work. It took working a full day, then lacing up my running shoes to complete training session #2. It took doing this day in and day out for more than 4 months.

It would have been impossible to get my body (or mind) ready in a single day, week, or even month. To prepare for the brutal 70.3-mile race, I had to train consistently over several months.

I needed to give my body time to adapt, change, and grow.

Without it, I wouldn’t have been ready — physically or mentally. The human body is incredibly resilient and will adapt to most things, however, it takes time to do so.

If you don’t consistently take action, your body won’t grow or adapt to achieve the success you desire.

The Right Way to Start Achieving Your Goals

When I decided I wanted to do an Ironman 70.3, I was clueless. I hadn’t swum more than one lap in a pool and I didn’t even own a bike.

To be honest, I didn’t understand the magnitude of this type of endurance race. This brutal long-distance triathlon consists of a:

  • 1.2-mile swim
  • 56-mile bike ride
  • 13.1-mile run

It was a big, audacious goal. And one that I had no experience with or business attempting.

I’d never raced a triathlon before and was clueless when it came to all things endurance racing.

I didn’t know where to start or even how to get started.

Although the conditions were far from optimal, I just took a step in any direction. I called up an old friend and asked him about his experience with triathlon.

Sure, it wasn’t a huge step. Or even one that got me in better shape. However, it was a step in the right direction that pushed me closer to becoming an Ironman.

As Napoleon Hill once said,

“The time will never be ‘just right’. Start where you stand, and work whatever tools you may have at your command and better tools will be found as you go along.”

Ultimately, my friend recommended me to a great local bike shop that fitted me for my first ever performance road bike. He also pointed me towards some well-known training programs that would ensure I was in peak shape come race day.

Though seemingly insignificant, this short conversation is what jumpstarted me to race and complete my first Ironman 70.3.

Had I never reached out to my friend, I would have been stuck wanting to become an Ironman rather than working to become one.

To move forward, you have to take the first step. You have to try something. And sometimes, you have to misstep. The size or direction in which you take your first step isn’t as important as simply taking it in the first place.

Photo via Unsplash


Be a Leaky, Dripping, Annoying Faucet

Have you ever noticed that little kids can fail endlessly yet continue to keep coming back for more?

Children seem to have an incessant drive for learning. They’re constantly growing and adapting. And they’re never discouraged by failure or setbacks.

I’ve never seen a kid fall on their butt for the hundredth time and say, “Well, this is too hard, I give up. I guess I’ll crawl forever.”

No, they keep trying (and failing). They keep coming back for more, consistently doing a little bit more each day. Until one day they successfully walk from one end of the room to the other.

Kids perfectly embody the leaky faucet mentality.

Rather than focusing on doing too much too soon, kids focus on doing a little bit each day. They push past failure and keep trying. They’re never discouraged and always come back for more. And they understand that success is a marathon, not a sprint.

As serial entrepreneur and peak performance expert Ed Mylett once put it…

“You might outwork me for 30, 60, or 90 days, but you ain’t gonna beat me over a year. I’m going to get you eventually. I’m a dripping damn faucet, I just keep coming at you.”

Essentially, the ability to stay consistent over time has been the key to Ed’s incredible success in life and business. He doesn’t consider himself all that talented, but his ability to keep coming back is undeniable. And it’s this ability that’s led him to be ranked Top 50 Wealthiest Under 50.

As we get older, we lose this “leaky faucet” mentality we once had as kids. To achieve long-term success, we have to reclaim the ability to keep ‘dripping’ and coming back, day after day. Success of any kind is achieved over months and years, not days and weeks.

Consistent Action Leads to Consistent Growth

“Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.” — Dwayne Johnson

An Ironman 70.3 isn’t something people typically sign up for on a whim. The race covers 70.3 miles in a single day, divided between swimming, running, and biking. It’s a herculean-type task that requires incredibly consistent preparation and training to complete.

When I officially signed up to race my first race, I knew I needed help. I was a complete triathlon newbie, I had even less knowledge of how to train and prepare for such a large event.

So, I went online and purchased a detailed, structured training plan. The comprehensive plan designated daily swim, bike, or run training sessions. It laid out my schedule, 7 days a week, for over 4 months.

Some days I trained twice, once in the morning and once after work. Some days I trained only once. Other days, I didn’t train at all and enjoyed a bit of much-needed rest.

My training plan ensured that it didn’t overload my body too early. It ensured I slowly ramped up and stayed consistent to ensure my body had time to adapt and grow. Essentially, it guaranteed I consistently adopted the ‘leaky faucet’ mentality.

In fact, the first 5 weeks of the plan were relatively easy. The goal of this period was to build my ‘aerobic base’ so that I could better handle the increased training volume and intensity later on.

Then, as my body slowly adapted, the training volume and intensity slowly increased. Each increase was incremental and logical, giving my body time to adapt after each change. And ultimately, because of this, I was able to not only complete the race but beat my time goal by 20 minutes.

To achieve any level of success, the goal should always be small, consistent steps over time. 99% of the things we want in life cannot be achieved in a day, week, or even a month. It takes consistent action over time.

Consistent, daily action creates the environment for your body and mind to adapt and grow. To achieve the success you desire, you need to consistently take action towards your goals.

As Tony Robbins, the leading life and business strategist once said…

“It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It’s what we do consistently.”

In Conclusion

You can achieve anything you want in life, but to do so, you have to take consistent, daily action towards that goal.

Don’t be discouraged if you aren’t sure where or how to take your first step. The size or direction of the step doesn’t matter, so long as you are moving forward. Clarity will come with each additional step you take.

Once you’re moving in the right direction, focus on reclaiming the mentality of a leaking faucet to achieve long-term success. Keep ‘dripping’, keep coming back, and never get discouraged.

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Marathon runner | Triathlete | Personal growth addict | Writing about creative ways to become a better human being. devin.arrigo1@gmail.com

Los Angeles, CA

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