It’s Friday morning, finally some respite after a long work week. Being a triathlete, I’m supposed to feel happy about the upcoming vacation. The moment I woke up in the morning, I felt crap as hell. My body totally broke down and felt a little feverish.
A good goal should scare you a little and excite you a lot.
These are the moments when I doubt my decision to “become a triathlete” and wonder even if I want to carry on swimming, cycling and running any more.
Sure, long office hours in Ramadan had its’ effects. But is it only the physical exertions that makes it difficult?
The answer is, not really. Physical stress is only one part of it. In fact, stress can manifest in so many ways and most of them are intangible.
For sure, the sport of triathlon can and will make you very obsessive.
Being a triathlete, you’ll continuously think of fitting all the training around your work hours. Plenty of head scratching how to plan and schedule your training sessions. And how about missing a planned session? It’ll eat you up deep inside.
Not to mention, all the obsession with the gears. The right shoe, right helmet, right bike and so on. All these add up and soon you’ll find yourself struggling, fighting to stay out from a quicksand of stress.
Then, once you win over that battle, now comes the point of time commitment.
Setting a goal is the easiest part but sticking to it Is a whole different ball game. How much are you willing to sacrifice? Ever faced such conversation:
Person1: Why can’t you go out tomorrow?
You: I have got a bike and run session tomorrow.
Person1: How about in the afternoon?
You: Well, that’s scheduled in the afternoon.
Person1: So, you would rather train than to hang out?
You: HELL YEAH!!
Person1: F*** Off (:p)
The problem of triathlon is not the difficulty of the sessions but to balance all three disciplines together. I often struggle to squeeze in all the training and mentally it takes a toll.
Mental support is a key factor and without it, all these factors get even more amplified.
Whatever you do in life, you need that support from your friends and family. Such endeavor is often unappreciated in our society and it pains me to see so many people sacrificing their goals just to bow down to all the external stress. Even if you fight through the odds, you’re already tired, jaded and constantly doubt about your steps.
Even after overcoming all these challenges, the uncertainty remains.
Am I following the right plan? Can I train more without burning up? Is it improving my goals? – all these questions conjure up. There are so many variables in triathlon that you can fail on race day even after having the best possible preparation.
You can have a major mechanical issue on your bike, you may get a severe cramp during the last couple of miles of your run or simply you may pull out from the swim due to adverse conditions. It’s a common sight in triathlon, athletes suffering and DNF unwillingly. When it happens, it’s easy to beat yourself up and very hard to recover mentally.
Hence, you can never be prepared enough for a triathlon.
“Just do some swim, bike and run workouts. How difficult it can be?”
I wish it was that easy. The training aspect of triathlon is pretty different compared to other sports and just doing a bunch of training isn’t going to work with no planning. To elaborate this point, I have written an article on running training for a triathlon if you want to set your running PB in the next triathlon.
On the event day, you’ll get kicked, hit during the swim. On the bike leg, it’ll feel like slow-motion suffering. And on the run, your body will be in pieces. No matter how much you train, you’ll not be enough prepared for that.
To add salt to the wound, triathlon is a very expensive sport indeed.
The race fees, the gears and all the traveling aren’t easy on the wallet. You pay all the costs, keep your fingers crossed and can only hope nothing bad happens till the event day.
Those are just race expenses but it brings along other overhead costs as well. There will come a point where you have to decide where to minimize cost and where you need to spend the cash. All those mental calculations are just yet another stress to your brain.
Then why do I do this? Why do I go through all this pain?
Valid questions and the ones most often people ask me. The simple answer is “Because triathlon is HARD”.
This sport isn’t just a hobby. It’s a lifestyle. You take this challenge on not because you can do it, rather you want to do it. I have even bigger admiration for those people who play the support role, the family, spouse, friends, etc. because they are also a part of the lifestyle.
We all have our own personal reasons to do triathlons. I choose to do triathlons because I love the challenges. Looking back almost 5 years back, what I was and what I am now, the difference is pretty contrasting. Growth is a painful process and I’m glad that I went through the pain.
It was something scary, something unknown at the beginning.
I didn’t know how to swim then yet I still took on that challenge. I forced myself into the uncomfortable zone. There were times I felt like stopping but giving up wasn’t an option.
It gave me so much. The process brought me resolve, planning, efficiency, learning, and so many other aspects. Triathlon has served a different purpose for me over the years.
I am certainly not the most “talented” in this sport. Yes, I’m getting better with the time. Am I doing it for fun? Not really. I’m a competitive person and I would love to stretch my abilities from being mediocre to be at the top.
I keep going because it keeps alive something within me. A dream, a bigger challenge. An impossible, maybe. IRONMAN World Championship, Norseman or maybe even more.
Is it scary? Yes. Is it hard? Yes. Is it worth it? ABSOLUTELY.
That’s why I get out of the bed after the fever. I make myself ready to go through the grind. You know what, I love that pain. Sure, I might doubt myself from time to time but I keep coming back for more. Pain is only temporary but the dreams are never-ending.
Do you want to do triathlons? Do you want to be a TryAthlete? If so, why? Please let me know your reasons in the comment section down below.
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