Why Tri? It’s a great question. Why do we try to do anything that challenges us, sporting or otherwise, especially if it causes a degree of self-inflicted discomfort?!
It is a question I have often been asked, frequently pondered on, and to be fair, at times struggled to answer. Tracking back, my introduction to the sport of triathlon was in 1997 when a work colleague and friend, Matt Turnbull, took on the incredible challenge of 7 iron distance triathlons in 7 days. When I immediately raised a hand of support to help him with this challenge, I had no idea what an incredible undertaking it was going to be. Long story short, with some blood, sweat and tears, the 7 in 7 challenge was completed. Thanks Matt; one of the most incredible weeks of my life. Kudos.
On completion of Matt’s 7th, I thought to myself “if Matt can do 7, surely I can do 1!” Those 7 days overlapped with some of the last days my mother-in-law was alive. It felt fitting to dedicate one year of pain and toil to her life and raise funds for Cancer Research UK.
While many dedicate the completion of a challenge to a person, charity or an organisation, what keeps you training, competing and pushing after the initial challenge has been completed? At some level, whatever sport you do with conviction, passion and dedication, will in some way, tap into your own personal needs for fitness, accomplishment and connection with likeminded people.
I personally love the structure triathlon training gives to my everyday life. I love the balance of disciplines. I have always run but with my knees, too much running would simply be ……. too much! Cycling and swimming are both low impact forms of cardio that give balance to a fitness routine and the physique that results reflects this balance. Swimming has always been, and probably will always remain, my greatest challenge of the 3. It is normal for most triathletes to lack some skill and / or confidence in one or more of the disciplines. When 100 athletes approach the start line, all shapes, sizes and preferences, you never know who will finish first. Triathlon is a great leveller.
Aside from the triathlon community being very diverse, inclusive and supportive, the introduction of team relay triathlon has made it even more friendly for first timers. In contrast to this year’s Olympic team relay where each of the 4 members of the team did swim / bike / run, some local events now allow three team members to do one of the disciplines each. So, if you simply can not swim at all, you could run or bike and team up with 2 others to do the other 2 legs. It’s a great way to dip your toe in the water of triathlon, without even having to get wet!
There is a motivational speaker called Anthony Robbins who teaches widely on the topic of ‘The 6 Human Needs’. If you are already addicted to the triathlon lifestyle, you will probably find that being involved in this fabulous sport probably fulfils 4, 5 or even 6 of these human needs. What ever your sport or passion in life, this is an interesting read.
In closing, I hope reading this may have inspired you to consider your First Tri. Everything you need to prepare for your first triathlon can be found at www.first-tri.co.uk Once you commit, life may never be the same again! In the words of Yoda “Do or do not …… there is no try.”