Mark’s Musings – How to be a long term triathlete?

How to be a long term triathlete?

In a World where everything is at our fingertips and we are told we can do things in less time for better results, I wonder if we have lost the ability to focus on the long term game.  There are so many companies promoting products that make things easier, get results quicker and save that one commodity we all struggle with, time.

The advent of technology is great.  We live in a fast-paced world and there is so much we can do more efficiently to save time.  Save time, save time, save time, it’s common message thrown at us and for the most part I think that is okay. Time spent with loved ones or doing the things you enjoy in my humble opinion is what we remember on our deathbed.

However for long terms success and enjoyment as a triathlete it is time that we must put in. Daily, weekly, monthly and yearly consistent training will yield the results we seek.  The nature of the sport is such that overnight or quick success doesn’t really happen. Look at some of the results athletes into the 40’s are achieving.  It’s amazing when it was once considered that anything over 30 was a veteran and you were past your best.

So if we are to be a long term triathlete what does that involved? How do we can maintain a healthy and consistent training routine, keep enjoying the sport and stay engaged in the process of continual improvement.  For me the top 5 ways to be a long term triathlete are:

1. Firstly it has to be about enjoyment.  That can have different meanings for different people but those who love the process and challenge around swim, bike and run will from what I have seen have a long and successful ‘career’ as a triathlete.  Find good training partners, nice training locations and do races that challenge you and make you look forward to it.
2. I think it is crucial to take regular breaks. Giving yourself a break physically and mentally is so important to achieving long term success.  Our body needs and craves it especially after a hard block of training.  It’s okay to not swim, bike and run for a while so that enjoyment level never goes away.
3. Take a long term view when you start the sport. Don’t go too hard too early.  It can be so easy when you start triathlon do go a million miles an hour.  I’ve seen many take this approach only to be completely burnt out after a couple of years.  Pace yourself and think long term.  You’ll get the best results doing in that way
4. Being a triathlete doesn’t define you as a person. We are human’s first and family, friends and experiences are what we should be focusing on.  I personally find it very refreshing when you can social with triathletes and triathlon is not the main topic of conversation.
5. Set new challenges and goals along the way.  One of the great things about this sport is the variety of different events and races that one can choose from. Sprint distance to ultra events and everything in between.  The daily process of working towards a goal is for me the real joy in triathlon. That and getting uber fit!!