No Pool? No Problem!

How this Ad Executive Manages Business Travel, Family Time, and Ironman Training

Shane and Cortney at IM 70.3 Coeur d'Alene 2017

I’m so excited to introduce you to an athlete I have had the pleasure of working with for the past four years, Shane Stender.

There have been times in my life when everything is turned upside down, I’m so busy running from one thing to the next, I feel like I am living in the middle of a tornado. Then I think of Shane’s life, and my schedule pales in comparison.

Shane is a hero - an example of what’s possible with the right attitude. He has a demanding job, which requires him to be on the road at least 40% of the time for most of the year. And he’s a husband and a father of two busy, energetic children! In this interview, you’ll learn from Shane his tips and tricks for #winningatlife, including -

  • Knowing your WHY - in life, training, and work

  • Getting your priorities straight - knowing when to ask for help, and how a coach can help

  • The mindset to have when navigating a busy life, in order to keep forging ahead

Q: Hi Shane! Tell us about your athletic background and how you got into triathlon.

I grew up participating in a variety of sports from baseball, soccer, and BMX racing to swimming. Swimming was my main sport and began competitively at age 9. I swam in college at WVU and ended up mostly in middle distance and long distance freestyle and butterfly. After college I moved to Seattle grew restless without having competition that I was used to for so many years. A peer was volunteering at a Sammamish Lake sprint triathlon and it sounded fun. I competed on my mountain bike and got my butt kicked by what felt like everyone! I was hooked, this was something I could work towards and give me the reason to train and stay fit. I am not a gym person and I like training for something as opposed to just working out. Triathlon offered me a mix of something I could do well (swim) with new things I needed to learn (biking and running).

Q: We're going on our 4th year working together (wow!). What made you decide to start working with a coach, rather than navigate triathlon training and racing solo?

Time flies when you're having fun! I started out racing solo, guiding myself based on applying my swim training to runs and bike training. I trained solo for about 10 years doing 1 or 2 events per year. I trained solo for my first 70.3 Triathlon and afterwards realized I was clueless as to efficient cycling and running training. I decided to start working with a coach for a few reasons. The most important probably was the workout/training planning. Triathlon is a hobby, work life and home life take priority and I found myself not really executing a training plan. I wanted to be able to have someone trained layout my plan so that I could focus on completing it. I also wanted a coach so I could learn proper cycling training and run training, I wanted someone to help me strategize, and I wanted someone to help me organize my training.

Q: Tell us about your job, as I know it demands a lot from you. And can you describe a typical day/week/month?

I am a partner in an advertising agency, Silverback Advertising. We provide media services, media buying, production, and consulting to retail clients across the US. My schedule is never the same and always changing. My work includes traveling to many different regions of the US to work with clients. I might fly to CA and come back to Seattle in the same day, or I might travel to TX, KY, LA and back to Seattle in the same week. When I am working from my local office the days can include board meeting, school district meeting, kids competition or practices. It's always interesting and never dull and I like being active in all phases of my life. Sitting at home is not for me!

Q: What lessons from business do you take into your triathlon training?

Maybe the biggest lesson is planning. I have to be efficient with my travel to get my work done and be home to spend time with my family and participate in our calendar of family activities. This is where having a coach has been super helpful because I can work with my coach on my schedule and adjust my training plan to fit my unique needs. As I plan for business travel I have to plan for training in regards to things like what gear will I need to travel with, do I have access to visit a pool or will my hotel gym have an upright bike? These are all things I try to plan for in advance to adhere to my training schedule. In business you set goals and sometimes you miss those goals and you go through defined processes to analyze why it didn't workout and the same is true for my triathlons. Sometimes I fall short of my personal goals and with my coach we reassess or adjust and move forward.

Q: You are taking on a big challenge this year, doing your first Ironman! Why was it important for you to take this challenge on this year?

I've done six 70.3 Ironman races now (1 per year since 2014), each time having some success and also having some challenges achieving my personal goals for each race. A full Ironman has been on my long term goal since I started doing the Ironman races. I felt after this last 70.3 race that I was ready to take the next jump. I wanted to go after that next adrenaline rush, not that the 70.3 are boring, but they were becoming comfortable and I want to push myself to that uncomfortable level and see what I can achieve next. (Maybe it's because I hit the 40 age mark!!)

Q: What tips do you have for others who are juggling work, family, travel, and training? What has worked well for you to bring harmony into your life?

Being flexible has been very important and expect the unexpected. Flights get delayed, meetings change, kids get sick, there are any number of things that can cause your plans to change and being flexible really helps in maintaining sanity. Sometimes that flexibility is missing a workout to do something with the family. Communication with my spouse and having their support has also been vital. Including my family and making family events out of my triathlon races has also made it more fun. We will often take a few extra days after a race for a small vacation or my kids will participate in fun runs or Ironkids races during race weekend. For me the workouts are a source of mental stress relief as much as they are training, the training itself helps me balance all the stresses that life brings.

Q: Thanks so much for sharing your life, your habits, and your mindset tricks with us, Shane! Where can we find you to follow your journey?

You can follow my video blog as I prepare for my first 140 mile Ironman. Not only will it be my first attempt at this distance but I will be doing it in Austria with my family to cheer me on. I'm usually a pretty reserved person but I decided to video blog about my journey to IM Austria. Subscribe and follow along! You can also find me on LinkedIn at

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