Found on ESPNGO.com and written by Sarah Groff
Triathlete Sarah Groff was the top American finisher, in fourth, at the London Olympic Games. Currently ranked third in the world, she earned the silver medal at the World Triathlon London on Saturday.
Summer has finally started unofficially, and our winter woolies have been replaced by shorts. It’s also the perfect time to become a triathlete — and I promise it’s not as hard as you might think.
After spending many years immersed in my multisport world, I admit that I might be a little biased on the triathlon front. (When checking out at the supermarket today, for example, I remembered that the typical shopper probably isn’t stretching her lats while waiting for the quizzical cashier. Normal behavior for me, but strange to Ann at the co-op!)
So, I make no claims that this is a complete list. But here are my six reasons everyone should join the tri bandwagon.
NO. 1: IT’S HIGHLY ADDICTIVE
Roughly 98.7 percent of first-timers do a second triathlon and 93.2 percent of new triathletes start planning family vacations around a race within a year. (OK, OK — these are completely fabricated statistics. But the number of people who fall head over soles in love with the sport is staggering!)
The typical thought process upon finishing your first race: “Wow! That was hard and I’m really tired / sweaty / sore / hungry.”
Then, mere moments later, “That was super fun. I can’t wait to do the next one!”
NO. 2: BOREDOM IS NOT IN OUR VOCABULARY
The sport is a constant balancing act among the demands of three activities and the interaction between them. There is always something to work on, no matter how long you’ve been a triathlete: technique, endurance, speed, strength and more in each of the three disciplines. It’s a veritable bevy of stimulation.
NO. 3: THE MOUNTAINS…OF LAUNDRY
This might not seem like a perk, but believe me, you’ll feel pretty tough when you see how much dirty gear is produced by training in three sports. Even if you never leave the flat land of the Great Plains, you will constantly have an Everest of a laundry pile in your hamper.
Spend a bit more for the mega-sized laundry soap — it will go quickly!
NO. 4: THE ACTUAL RACE WON’T BE HARD
Most people assume that the most challenging aspect of triathlon is the race itself, but I disagree. A former coach of mine loved to say that the race is a celebration of your hard training and dedication.
While training for swimming, biking and running keeps you highly engaged, fitting in training sessions for all three sports can be challenging. Planning and time management are key.
NO. 5: THE LYCRA FACTOR ISN’T THAT BAD — I SWEAR
One of the most intimidating aspects of the sport for many is the public display of contours. With swimsuits, wetsuits, tight bike gear and skimpy running shorts, this is not a sport for hiding one’s figure. I remember feeling bashful about running around in a bathing suit before my first race.
Thankfully, when you see everyone else in the same clothing those concerns quickly fade. Just remember that there is a functional reason for the tight gear: Few things are worse than the serious chafing that results from exercising in overly baggy clothes.
NO. 6: IT REALLY IS FOR EVERYONE
To the uninitiated, the sport conjures up the image of tan, wiry ultra-endurance athletes racing for eight hours in blazing heat. Fortunately, only a very small number of triathlons or triathletes would fall under that daunting depiction.
The reality is, no matter your age, athletic background or preference, there is a race out there for you! From off-road races to Super Sprints to kids’ and women-specific races, the range and variety of triathlons makes the sport far more inclusive than many assume.
Go out there and try a tri this summer! You might not end up being a supermarket stretcher like me, but you won’t regret delving into the wonderful and surprising world of triathlon.