Today I give a little love to triathlons, the often misunderstood and feared endurance sport out there. Tri’s are my favorite events to train for and they’re a heckuva lot of fun to do.
Really. Just look at that post-race smile.
Newbies are often surprised to know that a tri doesn’t have to be a balls-out Iron Man event, with stick-thin, chiseled maniacs running around a tropical island. Not every triathlon ends at midnight with athletes staggering, legs a-quivering, to the finish line.
There are much shorter, much more manageable triathlons. Many let you finish in time for brunch.
For an excellent look at triathlons from an average person’s perspective, you have to read the 2004 book “Slow Fat Triathlete: Live Your Athletic Dreams in the Body You Have Now” by Jayne Williams. It’s not only instructional, insightful and inspirational (so many I’s!), it’s also freakin’ hilarious. Incidentally, Jayne’s got a blog of her own for you to peruse.
But back to the task of getting you to consider a tri.
I’ve noticed more and more people competing in local tri’s (not that I’ve done a ton), but I still think some people are reluctant to consider training for one.
Perhaps it’s the idea of the swim portion of the tri that scares people off. I don’t know. (If you clicked on the link, don’t panic – it’s not really like that).
I urge everyone wanting to change their workout routines or get in shape to consider training for one.
- The variety in your training schedule keeps you interested. Running day after day gets old. With a tri, you’ve got three sports to mix it up.
- Triathlon training requires less of a time commitment than a running or biking event (usually – Iron Man races and their half-versionss are a different beast). Of course, maybe you take forever to swim, and therefore, those workouts take longer than a 6-mile run, but I doubt it.
- A race could take but an hour of your weekend morning, as opposed to the hours a half-marathon or marathon eat up. Don’t even get me started on how long a century ride takes.
- There are more and more beginner-friendly ones offered out there. My sister-in-law, Amy, and I tried the Methodist Hospital Women’s Triathlon at Chalco Hills Recreation Area last year and loved the atmosphere of racing alongside women and young girls enjoying themselves. There was no kicks to the face in the water, no near-collisions on the bike, and a nearly flat out-and-back run. It was non-competitive and you got to pick your distance for the bike and run. Amy wanted some variety in her workouts and the triathlon offered just the ticket. She’s used to being in a gym, so this shook things up for her. She’s not what you’d consider a strong swimmer, either (she might hold her nose from time to time). But, like the rock star she is, she finished the triathlon, with a smile. Amy said she’d do it again this year, so it must not have been that bad.