As the new year settles in, the triathlon world turns its eyes towards qualifying for Hawaii and the World Ironman Championships, with Pros and Age Group athletes alike looking to bag an early spot on the pier.
As it does so, it is important to remember that you don’t have to do an Ironman to be a triathlete.
A common misconception is that you cannot call yourself a proper triathlete until you have done an Ironman - much like many runners will say you must run a marathon to consider yourself a proper runner. In my opinion, this is a load of rubbish.
For those that don’t know, a triathlon is a swim followed by a bike followed by a run. The distances vary but start at 400m swim, 10km bike and 2.5km run for what is known as a super sprint. For the most common race in the UK, just double the bike and run (the swim takes place in a swimming pool). Very manageable for most people. Not quite the extreme sport that it is made out to be.
But, what’s to stop you doing a swim one day, a bike the next and a run the day after? Does that not make you a triathlete? You’ve completed all the disciplines. Triathlon really is accessible to absolutely everyone and at its base level it provides a good level of general fitness for the whole body, keeping injury free and healthy.
Your training will also help with your mental health, as the endorphins released while training help to improve your mood. Additionally, regular training will help create that calorie deficit that will help lose weight and, for some, improve their own body image and self esteem.
So next time someone tells you you are not a proper triathlete , roll your eyes and think of the bigger picture.