Doug Gailey Started Triathlon At 48 Years Old, And Now He’s Heading To 70.3 Worlds

by Zach Nehr

Blog ▸ Doug Gailey Started Triathlon At 48 Years Old, And Now He’s Heading To 70.3 Worlds

If you ask Doug Gailey, he’ll tell you he’s always been one of the most regular guys you could ever meet, the poster child for being an average dude. But, for a regular guy, Doug is performing to his best version of amazing in triathlon!

He’s 53, married with adult children, and works a desk job as Assistant City Manager for the City of South Ogden, Utah. Doug didn’t participate in any organized sports in his youth and didn’t even learn to swim until he was 40 years old.

So that’s why he’s feeling anything but average these days. 

Doug is the fittest he’s ever been as he gears up for the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in St. George, Utah, just five short years after he took up triathlon. 

When hiring a one-on-one coach to start his triathlon journey turned out to be a disappointing experience, he joined the MōTTIV app and saw his fitness soar.

Now, Doug has a new identity as a regular guy capable of extraordinary things, and he’s excited to see just how far he can go.

BECOMING A BEGINNER TRIATHLETE FROM SCRATCH

Although Doug tried to be active when he was younger, the closest he came to organized sports was running track in high school – something he said he only did because his girlfriend was involved and admitted he wasn’t very good at it.

He dabbled in a little bit of weight training after college but didn’t do much else in the way of athletics until he was challenged by a coworker to learn to swim at age 40.  

“I’m not kidding when I tell you I didn’t know how to swim before that. At most, I could float on my back. Not even a backstroke, but just laying on my back and fluttering my hands. When I learned how to do the side stroke, that was pretty amazing,” says Doug. 

He also started cycling sporadically, getting excited when he could ride up to 8 miles at a time.

After hearing a professional triathlete speak at a healthy living seminar in 2017, Doug decided to try a “double Sprint” triathlon (swim, bike, run, swim, bike, run). He loved it and immediately set the goal of doing a half-IRONMAN (70.3) race in 2019.

He hired a one-on-one coach, expecting hands-on guidance to prepare him for his first big race.

Sadly, the coaching experience was seriously lacking; Doug says he essentially received a template training plan and had very few opportunities to chat with the person he was paying $150 per month to guide him.

Doug raced IM 70.3 Boulder, and his results were good enough that he realized if he had better coaching, he might be able to exceed his own expectations.

DITCHING HIS COACH, SIGNING UP WITH MōTTIV

When he left his coach, the MōTTIV training app was launched, and Doug decided to try it. 

He was among the first athletes to join the app and says he immediately saw a significant improvement in the quality of training he was getting. 

He liked that the training plans strongly focused on low intensity (Zone 2) work, and he saw his run times improve very quickly (and they have continued to steadily improve every year since he joined.)

He also appreciated the technique-based swim training explicitly geared toward adults who don’t have a prior swim background, which has helped him become confident in the water.

As a never-miss-a-session type of person, he enjoys knowing every workout has a specific purpose based on the latest science in endurance training, both during the off-season and in race season. And, he feels comfortable knowing his schedule is always balanced to ensure he’s getting fit enough for his events but never over-trained or injured.

He also says he loves having a built-in community of other age groupers to chat with inside the app, to share achievements and advice. He has even made a point of organizing a couple of meet-ups at races to get to meet some of his fellow MōTTIV athletes in person.

SEEING PODIUMS AND THE BEST TIMES OF HIS LIFE WITH MōTTIV

Doug raced a few times in 2021, both the half-IRONMAN distance and some shorter local races, often seeing the podium in his age group. But it was 2022 when he started busting out the best times of his life. 

Triathlon

He won his age group at the East Canyon Olympic Triathlon in Utah in August and then followed up that performance with a 4:54:19 at IRONMAN 70.3 Oregon.

That time was a personal best by a whopping 27 minutes, and it was good enough to qualify for the upcoming IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship.

Doug says at 53, he is the fittest he’s ever been, and he feels ready to tackle the 70.3 World Championship race.  

THE MōTTIV TRAINING APP GROWS WITH YOU

After the Worlds, Doug says he might consider moving up to the full IRON distance – or he may travel the world to attend different 70.3 races in places he’s never been.  

Either way, he says triathlon is a huge part of his life, so he doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon. And he’ll be using the MoTTIV app, regardless of the path he goes down.

Says Doug, “I think the MōTTIV app is for your average person. But even though it’s accessible to brand new people, it’s not just for beginners. It’s not like you’re going to outgrow it someday. The way the training is structured, the app, and the training grow with you, so you’re always getting faster and fitter. I honestly don’t know what I’d do without it!”

Zach Nehr

Zach Nehr

Zach has a degree in Exercise Science and Psychology. He is a certified coach, Cat 1 cyclist, and is a freelance writer having been published in many of the worlds largest endurance sports publications.