The paradox of triathlon training

While training for my first triathlon almost seven years ago I had no idea what I was getting myself into. That was probably a good thing. I didn’t know how to train, and, I didn’t know there were groups of other triathletes who trained together so I spent those few months training alone.

At my first race I noticed there were a few groups wearing uniforms, club branded tents and athletes cheering each other on. Wasn’t this an individual sport?  I found it intriguing that while there was no explicit team work that you see in typical team sports. However, I saw more team work and camaderie within these groups of people than I experienced in my years of team sports play. I was hooked.

So that next year I joined a triathlon club and haven’t looked back and haven’t looked back. And that’s the paradox:

The seemingly solo sport of triathlon is anything but if you want it to be. I’m sure there are triathletes who prefer to train alone. However, in my experience, most of us participate in the sport for very individual goals that requires the discipline to complete the training. But we enhance the fulfillment we receive from reaching our individual goals by sharing the highs and lows it takes to get there with others.

It now seems that most triathletes participating in races are part of a club.  The governing body, USA Triahtlon has embraced the formation of the clubs by supporting and encouraging their creation. If there is a group of triathletes there is like a triathlon club.  If you haven’t joined a club yet, check one out, I think you’ll be glad you did.

Are you part of club? Why did you join?

One Reply to “The paradox of triathlon training”

  1. Interesting post David. I like it a lot. I tend to train alone most of the time due to the desire for time flexibility but do unofficially "belong" to a training club. What I love about the sport is we are one of the few sports left at the Ironman level at least where ipods and cell phones are prohibited. There is always a sense of doing an individual sport but never alone and always in a very open and generous community. We don’t isoloate ourselves inside headsets at these events.

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