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My life at DRW: The parallel between trading and triathlons

On October 8, 2016, a trader in DRW’s London office competed in the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii. Before he set off to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 and run 26.2, we spoke with him to learn more about his journey to becoming one of the top Ironman athletes in the world and how his sport parallels his career.
Trader at DRW London:

Throughout my whole life, I’ve enjoyed swimming and cycling, so a few years back I decided to give running a go and compete in triathlons. When I first started training, my only goal was to get out there and enjoy it. I swam, cycled and ran with passion. I used my training to really appreciate how lucky I am to be able to run, swim and cycle – three sports I love. Those first few 4:00am training sessions were really tough, but I figured the more work I put in before the race, the more I’ll be able to actually enjoy my first triathlon.

After I crossed my first triathlon finish line, I was already looking forward to the next one.

As I started to compete in more and more triathlons, an Ironman seemed like the next logical goal to tackle. My training started to get more serious, and it was around then when I noticed the similarities between my hobby of triathlons and my career in trading.

Both require planning and analysis, flawless execution, and the ability to make adjustments quickly. For example, when I do a run that went really well – maybe I achieved a personal record – I take the time to think about what might have influenced that, my diet, sleep, attitude or even the weather. After a successful trade, I go through the same analysis. I look at the market and the decisions I made that day to achieve those results. I continually try to replicate that same environment or decision making process to keep getting better at both of my crafts. The same applies to bad races and bad trades. There is actually a lot more to learn from your mistakes than from your successes.

The clearest parallel I see between trading and triathlons is the battle between body and mind. When you’re halfway through an Ironman, it’s easy to doubt you will finish. But a successful Ironman athlete remembers all the early morning runs, cold swims, and uphill rides that brought you this far. You’ll remind yourself that you prepared well for this and use that energy to finish the race.

The same thing happens in trading. When you have a lot of risk on, it’s easy to listen to the inner voice telling you that you might be wrong. But a successful trader funnels that nervous energy into the right planning and research to ensure you make the right trade. In both trading and triathlons, strong discipline and commitment are required. I thought competing in the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii would be my final athletic goal, but I established a new goal as soon as I crossed the finish line: to go back to the championships year after year and get even better at my craft – both triathlons and trading.