Okay, so I suspect it has happened to most of us. You are chatting to non-triathletes who ask about your training. When they hear about the early starts and the long training hours, the eyebrows go up and the question you hear is but Why?! The funny thing is the bemused unbeliever (yes, let’s face it, we can appear as a cult to outsiders!) does not realise how often we ask ourselves the exact same question.
For me, it typically happens on those cold winter mornings when the alarm kicks off telling me to abandon the cosy duvet for the embrace of cold pool waters or when I look out and the rain is pouring down as I am lacing up my runners for that long run. It is at times like these that it is important to be able to answer yourself what is your reason why is.
Over time your answer may change. For example, I initially took up triathlon to raise money for charity and that was a powerful answer. Thinking about the people who had sponsored me and the desire to not let them down was the push I needed.
Another time, it was because my friend had scoffed at the notion of me doing an Ironman event. Quite different to the noble fundraising motive but an equally powerful driver. It was thinking “Sod you John, I will show him” that got me through the hard sessions when the body was sore and I wanted to skip training.
Then, for a while, my why became all about the time goals. Chasing PBs, beating club mates became my focus. However, I found out focusing on performance goals turned out to be a poor motivator in the long run. Focusing on outcomes that could be derailed by outside forces like a badly timed puncture or other uncontrollables left me disillusioned and took the enjoyment out of my chosen sport. In fact, my solo focus on chasing PBs almost ended my triathlon career from a combination of disappointments from missed targets or injuries as I chased unrealistic goals too hard and too often.
That said, I am lucky enough to be part of a great club and as such have made some great friends and training buddies over the years. So, when I was contemplating chucking it all in, I realised how much I would lose from my life without the friendships and network I had gained through triathlon.
In the end, discovering my answer to “why should I bother” was the reason I am still training and racing 15 years later. I love the triathlon community I am part of, I not only love the training process myself but I have gained so much by working with others to achieve their goals. So, in a nutshell? I have found my tribe.
In today’s strange times with numerous cancelled races and training restrictions, I urge you to look at identifying your own why. But remember, some are more powerful than others. Identifying your why will help you continue to train and connect with triathlon and the triathlon community in a time when we all need that connection more than ever.
Stay safe, stay healthy and above all, stay positive folks.
Steven Moody has starred in the corporate rat race but found his greatest source of satisfaction came from his 20 years of endurance racing including numerous IRONMAN finishes and world championship qualifications
Realising this fact, Steven abandoned his cubicle and moved into full time coaching. Steven is now Tri Sutto, IRONMAN UNIVERSITY ®, ITU and Training Peaks level 2 certified and in 2017, was awarded Triathlon Ireland Coach of the year.
Browse his pre-built training plans by clicking here or if you have triathlon queries you can contact him via firstname.lastname@example.org