Sport words that end in "-thon" are intimidating. They sound a) long and b) like olympic events that only professionals do. When people hear I am training for a triathlon, most (non-triathletes) immediately envision an Ironman. Many not-yet-triathletes don't realize is that there is a triathlon distance for everyone out there, where the goal can be completing not competing (I use the term "completitor" in my blog). Training for a triathlon can be exhilarating as--at any age--you see and feel your body, mind and spirit grow daily in strength, energy, hope and abilities you never knew you could possess. Below are 10 reasons to consider giving a "Tri" a Try.
10. You will have a reason to get moving every day. Deciding to complete a triathlon introduces you to a new daily discipline of some kind of active movement for 20-30 minutes a day, 5-6 days a week. It has a way of shifting exercise from the bottom of your to-do list, if you have time and energy, to a top priority around which you will miraculously manage to work everything else.
The shortest distance triathlon will involve between 20-30 minutes of movement 5-6 days a week-News Flash: YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE DOING THAT ANYWAY!
9. Discover, or rediscover, commitment (see related post). Commitment to anything--whether it is a relationship, a healthier lifestyle, more time with your family--requires first commitment with and within yourself. Real commitment is not a one-time event, but rather a series of sometimes moment-by-moment recommitments. Triathlon training does not have to be all-consuming and it should not be for amateur lifestyle athletes. But it does require some level of training to prepare your mind and body to enjoy the thrill of the event--and this will require commitment from you. It will be cold and dark one morning or evening, and you will not want to go to the gym. But if you have committed to completing a triathlon you. will. go. to. the. gym. And you will be so glad you did.
8. Enjoy scenery like never before. If one thing can be said for endurance events, they do not take place in hum drum locations. Endurance events of all levels take place in some of the most scenic destinations in your community, and around the world (think Kona). It's a thrill and there is no better, more intimate way to explore a place than to swim, bike and run it on a private, closed course reserved just for you (and the thousands of other completitors [spelling deliberate] of course).
7. Sleep better and more deeply.
6. Automatically eat better. Yeah, you heard that right. When you get moving in a daily, systematic way, your body will begin to crave healthier food as fuel on its own.
5. Eat more apple fritters guilt free knowing you will burn 'em off. You don't have to be Michael Phelps to be able to indulge a little more here and there completely guilt free when you are training for a triathlon. And don't worry, if you stay with your training plan, #6 will keep you from complete gluttony.
4. You will discover your inner athlete (yes you have one - the body loves to move).
3. Stimulate new neural connections. Movement stimulates the brain as does learning new skills--Whether it is learning new aspects of cycling, or working on your swim stroke that you haven't touched since 4th grade swim team, triathlon offers you the opportunity to learn while doing and there is nothing more exhilarating than feeling progress.
2. Be happier-research is clear that exercise stimulates endorphins and the physical release busts stress on a daily basis. Rather than it building up in your body, you are burning stress as surely as you are burning fuel in your body. Get on that stationary bike (or better yet, head to the great outdoors) and feel the stress melt, go for that swim and feel your brain wash over with natural happy chemicals.
1. Amaze yourself at the awesomeness of YOU-when is the last time you truly amazed yourself? There is nothing more exhilarating than the feeling of meaningful accomplishment. Every day you complete your required workout, you will feel a meaningful sense of accomplishment. If you go no further, you will know your body is healthier and stronger today than it was yesterday. But you will also realize that if you did it today, you can do it tomorrow. And so it goes. And when you cross the finish line of your first triathlon, you will be amazed. At YOU.
A Triathlon or other active event can take you places you've never been before and may never have dreamt you could go--literally and figuratively, physically and mentally.
Here are ten ways to tell if a triathlon or active event vacay may be a match for you:
10. You have a passion (or think you could) for travel to beautiful (yet surprisingly affordable) destinations.
9. You love the idea of intimately exploring a new location, beyond the top deck of a double-decker tour bus.
8. You are ready to jumpstart or re-spark a wellness lifestyle but need a little inspiration.
7. You are not afraid to experience (pumping of) blood, sweat, and tears (of joy) for something you care about--YOU.
6. It's not enough to see a new city, when you could swim, bike or run it!
5. You need an exciting new update to report at your next high school reunion.
4. You want to take that European vacation but are afraid of being charged extra baggage fees after those cheese blintzes and croissants.
3. You want to know the event you are supporting exists to make the world a better place.
2. The idea of a destination triathlon sounds intriguing, if a little intimidating....until you realize there is an event type and distance to fit anyone with most triathlons and other active event vacations!
1. You want to expand your circle of friends and encounter other positive, active, wellness-oriented people of all ability levels from all walks, runs, cycles and swims of life.
If you answered YES to any of these, a triathlon or other active event may be for you. Spend a little time researching and pick something that draws you in, and challenges you to expand your sense of what's possible.
If you answered YES to MOST of these, a a triathlon or other active event vacay is definitely for you.