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The Triathlete’s Balancing Act

By Elizabeth Vernon | March 19, 2014, 12 a.m. (ET)

elizabeth vernon

All throughout high school I was a cross-country runner — and running was one of my favorite things to do. When I transitioned into college, running took more of a back-burner position since I was trying to get into a competitive nursing program at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. I didn't plan to do another sport competitively until I heard of Liberty's triathlon team.

A previous member of the team told me that runners were best adjusted to the sport, so I decided to give it a try. Little did I know how much I would enjoy the excitement of triathlons and although this is only my first year being on the team, I am already in love with the sport.

The training is intense and time-consuming but also rewarding, invigorating and motivating. This past week Liberty has been on spring break, so I have enjoyed spending the extra time that I'm not in classes training for Nationals. I've been working on testing out and building my endurance base by trying to get in those longer swims, bikes and runs.

Even with extra time, balancing all three parts of a triathlon during training can be difficult, though the diversity in training is one of my favorite things about this sport. It is easy to spread yourself so thin between all three elements of a triathlon that you do not really improve in any of them. On the other hand, it can also be easy to focus on one or two areas of training and fall behind on training for the others. Learning how to balance the different elements of training for a triathlon reminds me of how we have to learn to balance different areas of life. If I put all my time and effort into just one area of the triathlon, say running, my bike and my swim will suffer. It's the same with day to day life. If I were to put every ounce of my time and focus in training for this triathlon, my education and relationships would suffer.

It’s a fine balance and requires good time management to learn to divide time evenly among multiple required tasks. It's the challenge of the triathlon sport. I'm so excited to be participating in the USA Triathlon Collegiate National Championships in less than a month and I look forward to competing with fellow triathletes from around the country!