Have you ever had a conversation that goes like this?
You: “… I won’t be able to make it to ______ because that’s the day of my triathlon.”
Co-worker: “You’re doing a triathlon?!”
Co-worker: ”Oh, like an Ironman? That’s crazy! What are the distances? Don’t you have to, like, run a marathon?”
You: “No, I’m not doing an Ironman. It’s a Sprint Triathlon. I have to swim ½ mile, bike 14 and run 5k.”
Co-worker: “Oh, just a sprint… that’s not that bad… sounds easy. I could do that.”
Then you smile politely, but you’re really going crazy inside and thinking, “WHAT?! JUST a sprint triathlon? I’ve been training for 3 months for this race and you’re calling it easy?! Seriously?”
Or maybe you’re training for your first triathlon and you downplay it by telling people that you’re “just doing a sprint triathlon”, or “oh, it’s only a sprint distance”.
Calling a triathlon of any length easy is crazy talk. Saying it’s just a sprint triathlon or only a sprint distance? This drives me crazy. Like, so crazy I’m writing a whole blog post about it.
The reason this makes my blood boil is because it’s not just a sprint triathlon. It’s a freaking SPRINT TRIATHLON! There’s no just. It is still a challenging race that most people won’t even try to attempt. It’s still a TRIATHLON and it takes lots of hard work and effort to prepare for one.
The phrase, “just a sprint triathlon” really detracts from the magnititude of what a triathlon entails and besides that, it’s just plain discouraging and frustrating to hear that something that you’re training very hard for is easy or to let yourself think that because it’s not an Ironman, it’s not a big deal.
Training for a triathlon of any length is just as much of a mental challenge as it is a physical one. The reality is that there will be people who make comments and say things that will discourage you and possibly make you want to quit. But don’t quit. Keep on training and moving in the direction of your dreams.
Focus on what this race means to you and be confident in your ability to train for and complete a triathlon. Remind yourself that doing a triathlon is a big deal… because it is. (And while you’re at it, remind yourself that doing a triathlon is pretty awesome.)
You know from first hand experience that training for a triathlon is challenging. You make sacrifices and push yourself in your triathlon training.
My point in writing this post is to say that if you’re training for a triathlon, I think you’re AWESOME! It’s a big deal and a triathlon of any distance requires time, dedication, training, sacrifice and commitment.
So don’t downplay your goals by using the words “only” and “just” and don’t let other people minimize them by using those words either. Your goals are just that… they’re YOUR goals and they are important to you.
So get out there and swim, bike and run your heart out! You’re a triathlete and you’re AWESOME.