In today’s panoply of role models, rare is the story of an everyman transforming his life wholesale—then sharing his process openly and honestly with humility and vulnerability.
Today I convene with one of these aspirational humans, endurance veteran and personal hero Gordo Byrn.
Gordo is someone who greatly inspired and influenced my endurance career and mentored me from afar in ways beyond my ability to calculate. This conversation, long in the making, is thus personally special.
A former private equity investment banker, Gordo metamorphosed into an elite ultra-endurance athlete, a student of human performance, an endurance coach, and, mostly, a devoted family man. He’s also the co-author of the endurance bible Going Long—an incredible resource for any and all athletes seeking to better understand and apply the principles of endurance.
One of the things that makes Gordo more aspirational than inspirational is that his athletic journey from an overweight “finance guy” to an elite athlete began with a simple walk. That walk turned into a jog, then a run, and thereafter an obsession with elite endurance performance that culminated in seven sub-9 hour Ironmans, including an 8:29 for second place at Ironman Canada and an Ultraman World Championship win in 2002. His results captured my fascination and, in so many ways, sparked my own Ultraman journey and performances.
“Every single one of us has a skill, a path, that can dramatically improve our lives. But we have to start.”
– GORDO BYRN
One of the reasons Gordo was able to impact me (and so many others) profoundly is that he began to humbly and transparently share his experience on the internet as a Web 1.0 blogger and podcaster in the early 2000’s during my heavy training days— a tradition he continues today on Twitter, a platform he uses to share his experience and wisdom on everything from endurance training to marriage, personal finance and parenting.
Meeting Gordo was like meeting a lost twin for the first time, and this conversation was everything I hoped it would be.
In addition to chronicling his life story, we discuss:
- Leveraging pain to catalyze life changes;
- the dangers of chasing elite performance;
- what endurance teaches us about life;
- the importance of creating a 1,000-day plan—and why success is built upon small steps undertaken with ruthless consistency;
- how to establish credibility with yourself by keeping small promises;
- the mechanics of fitness after 50;
- the pillars of health and longevity;
- parenting kids to fall in love with being active; and
- actionable wisdom applicable not just to athletes but truly to everyone.
The Swedish superstar and multiple Ultraman and Otillo champion Jonas Colting calls Gordo ‘Tony Robbins in a Speedo.’ I agree with this statement, and after listening to this one, you will too.
Peace + Plants,
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- Connect with Gordo: Website | Twitter
- Blog: Feel The Byrn
- Strava: Gordo Byrn
- Book: Going Long: Training for Triathlon’s Ultimate Challenge
- Triathlete: Are you capable of non-reactive training?
- Feel The Byrn: Dynamic Loading via Daily Readiness Assessments
- Slow Twitch: The musings of Gordo Byrn
- Athlete Natural: Gordo Byrn
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