As many of you know, Kristen Seymour is a great friend of ours and she's back again with a wonderful blog about some of the life skills you may pick up during your triathlon career!
Triathlon Training's surprise benefit. Weird Life Skills
As triathletes, we have mad skills. But training for triathlon doesn’t just make you a better swimmer, cyclist, and runner. I mean, YES – it does make you better at those things. Or, at least, it should – if it doesn’t, I don’t know, maybe find a new coach? Just a thought.
As we become more adept at this crazy three-for-the-price-of-one sport we’re all so fond of, I find that we can’t help but develop a few other skills. Life skills.
This occurred to me last weekend when – well, I live in a midcentury home with midcentury pipes and so, when there’s a plumbing issue, it is an issue, which meant that I was without a working bathroom for a couple of days. But you know what triathletes are great at? Planning pit stops and being able to go on cue – and, when absolutely necessary, making due with less, shall we say, conventional restroom options. (Also tremendously helpful on roadtrips – maybe the sport should consider a new tagline.)
Also, consider your math skills. Wait, wait, wait, you say. I’m no mathstition! Well, neither was I back when Mrs. Humbracht was returning my algebra homework to me dripping with red ink. But, if you’re gunning for a PR, I bet you don’t need a graphing calculator to tell you exactly what you need to do to achieve it – or what you need to adjust at any given time during your race in order to stay in contention.
Based on my ability calculate how many more minutes I need to run at a certain pace in order to reach the coffee shop in time to take advantage of their Sunday morning BOGO bagel deal, I suspect I’m just a few training runs away from pulling a Good Will Hunting. How do you like them apples, Mrs. H.?
Related to those late-onset math skills is our incredible capacity to quickly and accurately convert distances from the metric system to miles. What, you think everyone can immediately tell you how many miles a 25 kilometer trail run equates to, or approximately how far a 1500 meter swim is? Just try asking a few of your friends who aren’t athletes (or Canadians) and watch the gears start grinding.
Transition has taught us a few things, too – like how to get out the door fast. Apparently getting in and out of the locker room in 90 seconds flat isn’t normal. (And timing it with a stopwatch? Even less normal.) When it comes to packing a bag, well, nothing compares to fitting an entire race day’s worth of necessities into a transition bag. Suddenly packing for a weekend getaway – you know, one where you’re able to bring multiple bags, and maybe where you don’t even plan to sweat through your morning attire – seems a whole lot simpler.
Triathletes also tend to be excellent at eating on the go. Some people might balk at the idea of eating a burrito while driving down the interstate, but we can successfully grapple with almost any food one-handed after taking down multiple meals in the saddle on training rides. A burrito in the driver’s seat? Please. Talk to me when you’ve got a real challenge. (But also talk to me when you’ve got a burrito.)
But you know, even if it were a challenge … we’d figure out a way to do it anyway because we can EAT. Yes, of course, we have an uncanny ability to stomach a surprising number of gels and nutrition bars – even the ones that honestly do taste like cardboard because, when you need nutrition, you need nutrition – but that’s nothing compared to what we’re capable of post-race. I suppose it’s possible that consuming three sweet potato pancakes, each the size of my head, in one sitting (alongside a couple eggs over easy, please) isn’t considered a valuable life skill in some circles, but among my peeps, it’s a matter of survival. If I don’t claim those flapjacks, someone else will.
And here you were thinking that all you were getting out of triathlon was a stack of race tees and increasingly athletic thighs. Think again – you’re getting better at life while you’re at it!
To learn more about Kristen and to read and hear more from her, check out her site Fit Bottomed Girls!