— By Luke Yates
As triathletes, we all occasionally take things a bit too seriously. It’s a tough sport, and it takes a lot of dedication to do well. But to an outside observer, a lot of our habits can make us seem no fun. Here we take a light-hearted look at some of those traits, and explain why a some of them actually make us a blast to hang out with!
1. We’re always obsessing about food.
We call it fuelling, not eating, but however you describe it, those calories burnt in training need to be replaced. Looking on, it might seem like food is all we think about, and whatever you do, don’t leave us alone with your fridge. But this also means we should be top of your list when you need someone to go grab a bite with.
“Lunch?”… “Well I just had brunch, but why not.”
2. Getting up before dawn…
Trying to fit in hours of training around busy work and family life inevitably means some early starts. This can be pretty frustrating for those around you and is tricky if you have a partner that isn’t into triathlon. But it also has its advantages. Getting workouts out of the way early means you have more time later in the day. And if you can get the family out there with you, early morning adventures await. Afterall, sunrise photos look great on Instagram.
3. And going to bed before it’s dark
The counter to getting up with the sun, is that some days getting to bed early is a must. Friends will want to go to the pub (as if we’re allowed a drink) or your partner will want to catch a movie, but sleep is an important part of training. Some days there is nothing you can do but say no.
Fair enough. A lot of triathletes pass on a beer after work to fit in some extra training, or avoid a glass of wine with a meal. Alcohol doesn’t mix too well with recovery and hinders good sleep, so during big training blocks or in the lead up to a race, so we do often steer clear.
Just wait for the end of season party or a happy hour though. Suddenly the athlete that denies themselves the most is the one buying shots for everyone. And half the time, going out on your bike is just an excuse to stop in at the pub afterwards.
5. You have to come watch us race
Popping down to your local sprint may only take a couple of hours, but if you race longer distances, spectating can be an all day event. Factor in the travel and you’re looking at whole weekends spent going to races.
It’s not all bad at least. So many races take place in beautiful places, you can factor in some extra time to enjoy yourself. Did anyone say a summer getaway to Whistler or Mont-Tremblant?
Just don’t forget to thank those that take the time to come with you, and don’t be that stroppy race day athlete.
Tight fitting, technical clothing is necessary. It’s cool. It’s comfortable. It makes you feel great when you’re out on a ride.
That said, it’s rarely flattering, and outside of racing or training, please leave it in your bag. What is it with triathletes wearing their race suit at the airport or at the expo? Do you own other clothes?
The exception is at the cafe after a group ride. Sometimes you just have to own it!
7. But my coach said…
Coaches are minor deities in a triathlete’s life. We rely on them to plan our training and get us to the start line in optimal condition. A good coach will do just this, and your results will speak for themselves. A great coach will do this while keeping balance in the other areas of your life.
If you find yourself starting sentences with, “But my coach said..” when talking to friends and family, then there is clearly some level of conflict. We all love triathlon and want to take it seriously, but unless you’re aiming to make a living from it, please don’t forget the other important things in your life.
8. Metrics obsession
“If I put out this many watts I’ll finish the bike in this time but then I might only be able to hold this split for the run, but if I ride with this many watts…”
“My fastest time up that hill is…”
Metrics are great for training and racing with precision, but other than in a discussion with your coach, they should not be a topic for conversation. Bringing up your KOMs or fastest splits on Strava on a date; I’ll let you see how that goes…
9. Gear, gear, gear, gear, gear…
“I need some deep section carbon wheels for race day, some shallower ones for crosswinds, some lighter ones for climbing…”
The list of gear and tech for triathletes is seemingly endless. I love it. I love talking about it, reading about it, writing about it. You get the picture. A lot of triathletes feel the same, but step away from the sport, and you’re likely to be met with a bored look and a yawn.
Talking gear to a non-gearhead is definitely no fun.
“But look at the hidden pockets on my race suit.”
Still not fun.
10. Disgusting race and training stories
Every triathlete picks up a few disgusting stories along the way. From stomach problems out running, to blisters, chafing and road rash. Your significant other might be able to deal with it, but beyond that, there’s no need to share. There are parts of race stories that everyone will thank you for leaving out.