You can have excuses or you can have results… But you can’t have both.
One of my favourite sayings, it’s on my pinboard right next to my weekly program. Sometimes it crosses my mind when I am trying to justify to myself skipping a training session, more often than not it works. But when my alarm went off at 4.15am this morning I didn’t need any inspiration to get me out of bed, I practically bounded out. I was going to ride with my friend Sarah, the plan was ride, chat, coffee, more chat and more riding, all the things I love to do (ok with maybe a stop for a photo thrown in, don’t judge, we are gen Y afterall).
Sounds pretty perfect doesn’t it? It was. Also sounds like we probably wouldn’t have worked very hard right? Wrong. Two hours of solid riding, both of us with tired legs from training the day before. We did chat A LOT and enjoyed a few laughs but we worked hard and finished hot, exhausted and on top of the world. Which brings me to the point of this post… Whilst you can’t have excuses and results, it is actually possible to have results and fun.
Every session isn’t going to be a barrel of laughs and endless chatter with your friends. There will be long solo runs, difficult swim sets where you follow that black line and think your arms or legs (or both) might actually fall off and rides that need to be done by yourself, afterall you will be out there all alone on race day (as I’m frequently reminded by my coach). But if you mix up those hard ones with some fun social ones, keep it real and genuinely enjoy the process, you will stick to the training and stay in the sport. I guess this theory is applicable for anything, not just triathlons, but it’s easy to get caught up training alone for triathlons, compared to say netball, where you train and play as a team regularly. Triathlon seems like an individual sport, but if you have the right crew around you it’s anything but.
Apart from your family and friends who will support you unconditionally, your training buddies are probably the few people in the world who understand what you’re doing and why, they see it all, the good the bad and the ugly. They see you at 5:30am on a Monday morning after your epic weekend training, when everything hurts, you can’t reach your usual swimming pace but you persevere and they are struggling just as much as you are. They have their own tri goals, hopes and aspirations, they also have their own families, jobs and lives, you may or may not see them outside of training, but when you’re there training- they are it. Use them as inspiration and to push you, and return the favour, support and be supported.
So if you’re new to the sport and yet to find a ‘crew’ my advice would be to join your local tri club or training group. If you’re not quite up to joining a tri club start with even just a swim squad, running group or weekly bunch ride. You will (hopefully) meet like-minded people and grow your network. I moved to Noosa 2 years ago and knew no-one, for the first 3 months I had only met the handful of people that I worked with. I then joined the Noosa Tri Club and suddenly everything changed, I now have an awesome group of friends and training buddies. Broaden your horizons I promise you wont regret it.
You may even find that if you start to love the process you wont have to worry about the ‘results or excuses’ dilemma. Training wont feel like a chore, it will be something you look forward to.
Until next time remember, success is a journey not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome.