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Chelsea Tiner: The Parallels between Triathlon, Marketing, and my Path to Maven

5 min readView all articles
By Chelsea Tiner
Feb 9, 2023

I can admit, at first glance, my career and hobby seem to be vastly different.

I work in the Data Science industry, running the Demand Generation for the (B2B) vertical here at Maven Analytics, spending most of my days strategizing, and testing various ways to attract new business. But outside of work, I participate in endurance sports, primarily triathlons.

I have participated in 18 full-distance Ironmans (4 on the Big Island of Hawaii), countless 70.3 distance races, 120+ mile bike rides over mountain passes, and the list goes on. For those that do not know what a triathlon is, it consists of varying distances of swimming, biking, and running – in that order.

Over the years, I've noticed more parallels between these two spheres of my life than I ever thought I would.

Throughout the course of this post, I’ll share pieces of my path, but most importantly, I would like to share some advice and how endurance training has taught me many lessons that helped play a key role in my professional success. If you’re interested in hearing more, read on; there are likely more similarities between your path and mine than you think!

In business, and as an endurance athlete, the key to making it to the finish line is formulating a game plan while acknowledging that external factors, like an injury or a failed marketing strategy, could derail you at any moment. When adversity strikes — and it always does — you need to be able to revise your plan in real-time and keep pushing forward.

Both career and endurance athletics have this in common: they both come down to relentless forward progress.

The Preparation Phase

The preparation phase of training is much like the start of your career.

For me, this was starting a print publication, which I knew little about at the time, but like anything in life, consistency pays off. You might feel a bit lost or that you are far behind the knowledge or status of your peers. That’s ok. Press on. You are not supposed to know everything during this phase.

My biggest advice for anyone starting their career, switching career paths, or even picking up a new hobby, is to stay curious. When we are curious, we view tough situations more creatively, become students of the game, and ultimately push further and longer than we thought possible.

The Starting Line

In triathlon, the starting line of any distance race is the swim.

For almost every triathlete, this is can be the most daunting part of the day due in part to “race day nerves” and the fact you are about to dive head-first into a large body of water surrounded by up to 2,000+ people. Sure, there are boats and kayaks in the water to ensure your safety, but no matter what, they always seem very far away.

chelsea tiner triathlon

This is much like the start of a new job or role.

You just spent the interview rounds selling yourself and proclaiming how you could help the organization grow. Now, it’s time to “put your money where your mouth is” and the weight of those promises is often felt. In the same breath, this is when you might find yourself being the most excited, because who wouldn’t be? The start of any new journey is equally both invigorating and scary.

My first bit of advice here is to come mentally prepared.

Before any race or new opportunity, I take some time to remember “the why”. Remembering your why in times of stress and fear can not only help you stay on course, but can also help calm the mind when the waters get turbulent, and your vision or direction gets blurred.

My next bit of advice for anyone at this point in their journey is don’t look too far downstream.

Take it moment by moment, or in my case, buoy to buoy. Doing this can help you stay focused on the task at hand. You will get to where you need to be eventually, but by staying in the present, you can ward off any unnecessary stress you are placing upon yourself.

The Bike

The bike is the longest part of any triathlon, accounting for more than half of the time it takes to complete the race — if not more.

This is a very similar stage for anyone in the middle of building their career.

For me, this was when I was doing freelance marketing and strategy work for various businesses. I gained a ton of experience with Fortune 500 companies, startups, and everything in between, but I had not found my true calling just yet.

Let's face it - surviving and thriving in the professional world can be challenging at times. My best advice for anyone here is:

You must keep your balance, or you could fall! Remember that work is important, but considering what’s important to you in life, is equally as important. Everyone's balance is going to be different - find what works best for you and avoid crashing!

Surround yourself with positive people. Not only does surrounding yourself with positive people make life more FUN, but it is also one of the biggest catalysts for growth. I have found that positive people tend to be relentless in their quest for just about anything in life. Keep these people close.

You need both power AND finesse. In triathlon, if you're too powerful, with little regard for finesse, you'll more than likely damage your body by going too hard too fast. Similarly, in your career, exhibiting attributes of power is important. People respect confidence and credibility, but without a proper level of humility, those positive personality traits can quickly become liabilities.

The Run

The home stretch. In a triathlon, the run, even though is still a long distance from the finish line, still brings a feeling of accomplishment and self-belief that you can and will make it to the end.

The “run” in my career has been my transition into the field of data analytics.

I first started at a Decision Intelligence company where I helped build and scale their Demand Generation team. It was here that I found my calling in getting to practice my passion for marketing and work in an industry that appeals to my strategic, data-driven mind — remember, in triathlon, numbers are the name of the game when trying to be successful at long-distance racing.

Fast forward to November 2022 when I was offered a role here at Maven Analytics. One of the things that has suited me well throughout my career is finding positive people to work with, and the Maven team is no exception.

I came on board at Maven as the Director of Demand Generation, tasked with growing our business-to-business channel. It is a perfect balance of everything I’ve done and learned throughout my career – growing, learning, and continuing to challenge myself to achieve more than I ever thought.

Remember to breathe, trust in the process, and ride on! 🤘🏼


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Chelsea Tiner

As Maven's Director of Demand Generation, Chelsea leads Marketing for our Small Business & Enterprise line of business, bringing our Team Training platform to organizations just like yours.

As Maven's Director of Demand Generation, Chelsea leads Marketing for our Small Business & Enterprise line of business, bringing our Team Training platform to organizations just like yours.

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