5 Reasons You Should Do A Triathlon

By Zach Adams | Feb. 28, 2019, 12:53 p.m. (ET)
You should do a triathlon. But before you scoff in rebuttal, here are my top 5 reasons why YOU should do a triathlon.ZA5

1) Triathlons Are Fun!
First and foremost, they are fun. The races themselves, the training, the learning, the adventure, and the sense of accomplishment. It. Is. Fun. There really is nothing like the day of a race. From the pre-race butterflies to those “finish line feels”. There is something about spending the day with up to 3000 of your closest friends in a swim, on the bike, and finishing with a run. It is FUN! Which brings me to reason number two: Friendship, Community, & Camaraderie

2) Friendship, Community, & Camaraderie
I was not using hyperbole before when I said you are going to race with up to 3000 of your closest friends. While triathlon is a “race”, everyone out there is really just racing themselves. I’ve never competed in another sport where I have run past somebody and they cheer me on and tell me “You’ve got this. Go get’em! Looking strong!” Aside from your friends cheering you on as you pass them (and you doing the same when you get passed), there is the community and camaraderie.

There are triathlon clubs everywhere, formal and informal. People meeting up to swim, bike, run, and have fun together. Gatherings at 5am at the watering hole to swim, and at 5pm at the other watering hole. Friendships are forged through these gatherings. I have made friends and forged relationships through triathlon that I never would have made otherwise. My life has been indelibly enriched through the tri community.

3) Fitness
Yes. Triathlons are fun. But one of the best perks of the sport? It is healthy! There are very few hobbies out there that have so many physical and mental benefits as triathlon. Train for a triathlon, and my bet is you will exceed your World Health Organization recommended 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity per week most weeks (and sometimes in a single day!). The sport is marked by stories of athletes who have lost incredible amounts of weight, or who have used triathlon as a vessel to battle tough diseases and overcome other physical challenges. ZA4

Your mental fitness will improve too! Your fortitude will be tested as you grow in the sport and you push beyond your (self-imposed) limits. To push your body to do what your brain thinks it cannot requires a lot of Jedi-like mind tricks. This kind of mental resiliency through exercise is proving to help stave off late in life ailments like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

4) Adventure
When you first start triathlon, EVERYTHING is new, and this is just the start of the adventure. Paraphrasing one of my athletes, waking up and seeing what workout you have in store for the day is like waking up on Christmas morning. It is like opening a gift, with all the same excitement and uncertainty of what is in store. Every workout and race is an adventure in its own right!

They say that triathletes are people who decided ONE sport is not hard enough! That is the truth. Triathletes are people seeking adventure. There is something magical about doing something you have never done before, about learning something entirely new. It is an amazing unending journey. There is nothing quite like accomplishing something for the first time. And then, doing it better and better.

5) Competition
Maybe the fun, camaraderie, healthy living, and adventure aren’t what you are all about. Maybe you live to compete. Lucky you. You can compete on so many levels. First, I am talking about self-competition, about “beating” yourself, about pushing yourself to be your best, to give your best, and then being better than what your best was. This is what the crux of triathlon is all about.ZA

There’s also the gold medal winning, podium placing, national championship type of competition. You can compete locally and qualify to compete at the National Championships, and potentially even represent Team USA at the World Championships. Also, did you know there are college teams, and even professional triathlon leagues? The level at which you choose to compete doesn’t matter, but every time you zip up for a training session or race, make no mistake, you are competing.

Still not convinced that you should do a triathlon? Yes. I know I said it would only be 5 points, but I couldn’t keep it to 5. Perhaps the best reason you should do a triathlon is…

6) Because You Can
If there is one infallible truth in all of this, it is that you can do a triathlon. Seriously. YOU. CAN. DO. IT. You don’t need to be in perfect shape. You don’t need to look like an Olympian. There is no one perfect body size, shape, or type. You are not too old or too young. There are triathletes in their early teens and into their nineties.

All you need to do a triathlon is the desire to do so: the desire to have fun, make some friends, get/stay healthy, go on an adventure, and be your best self. So, next time someone asks you to do a triathlon, take them up on the offer, it just might change your life!