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2023-04-26 9:20 PM

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Subject: Embracing the "Multi" in Multi-Sport
The original professional triathletes are lauded for their grueling training, astounding tenacity, and primitive equipment; yet, their athletic origins are often overlooked. 6x Ironman World Champion Dave Scott played collegiate water polo at UC Davis; Scott’s rival, 6x World Champion Mark Allen, swam at UC San Diego. At the time, triathlon was not (and is still not, for men) an NCAA sport. Hence, neither of these men competed as triathletes until after their collegiate careers. Furthermore, neither of them had the opportunity to specialize in the triathlon as children, since it didn’t become a sport until 1974. To this day, top professional triathletes continue to find success after successful careers in other sports, such as Morgan Pearson, who came to the sport of triathlon after a successful Division 1 running career. Athletes like Pearson prove a very important point: it is never too late to become a triathlete.

I stumbled upon triathlon when the snow melted in the spring of my freshmen year of high school. Super League Triathlon captured my attention and filled me with a desire to start racing. There was only one problem: I wasn’t a triathlete. I am a competitive cross-country skier, headed to compete at the Division 1 level next fall. I thought it would be impossible to race triathlons during the off-season, when training requires me to spend my time rollerskiing, trail running, and lifting weights, but I was struck by inspiration when I learned about Cameron Wurf: after all, if he can balance professional cycling with Ironman, I could surely race triathlons while remaining a ski racer. Wurf proves an important point: triathlon seems to require specialization on the surface, but it is really a sport of capacity. The fittest athlete tends to win on any given day. Nordic skiing, too, is a sport of capacity. Both sports share traits necessary for success: muscular endurance, aerobic capacity, and mental strength. These shared traits are not limited to skiing and triathlon. People who participate in any sport, from soccer to squash, are constantly building these traits, and athletes from any of them can race a triathlon if they set their minds to it. It is clear that to be a great triathlete, one must be active and build an incredible aerobic base; however, there are myriad ways to do this. One doesn’t need to stick to swim, bike, run, every day of every week. Furthermore, one could have never swam, biked, or run and still become a competitive triathlete! With an active lifestyle, triathlon is always on the table. Whether wrestling, rowing, kayaking, or playing basketball, staying active and moving one’s body will allow for success to be found in triathlon, no matter when you start.

What is your story? How have you become involved in triathlon racing? What is some advice you would give to those that want to get into the sport?


Edited by NordicTriathlete 2023-04-26 9:21 PM


2023-04-26 9:25 PM
in reply to: NordicTriathlete

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Subject: RE: Embracing the "Multi" in Multi-Sport
Love this post (and congrats on heading to a D1 sport next year!). I was a D1 swimmer and found triathlon (long) after college, much like the pros you mention (except the part where I am very much not pro). Do you think that a big part of the success that other athletes find in triathlon is the level of dedication it takes? I know that, for me, finding triathlon after years of struggling to enjoy exercise post-swimming career was a relief. It gives me purpose, goals and because of its variety, doesn't get boring.
2023-04-26 9:27 PM
in reply to: NordicTriathlete


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Subject: RE: Embracing the "Multi" in Multi-Sport
This article reminded me of my own journey to becoming a triathlete. I was a competitive soccer player for most of my life, and I never imagined that I would eventually find myself in the world of triathlon. Reading about the diverse athletic backgrounds of professional triathletes like Dave Scott and Mark Allen, I felt a sense of camaraderie and encouragement. Thanks for reminding me of all of the other people out there who love triathalon as much as I do! It reinforced my belief that anyone with dedication and perseverance can succeed in this sport. My advice to those looking to get into triathlon is to believe in yourself, be open to learning new skills, and embrace the multi-sport community.
2023-04-26 9:30 PM
in reply to: TriDad75

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Subject: RE: Embracing the "Multi" in Multi-Sport
I think that the dedication it takes to succeed in the triathlon is a huge draw for athletes. In my experience, it can be difficult to maintain a high level of motivation to train and compete in one sport; however, I think the three triathlon disciplines allow training to feel dynamic over a long period of time. Additionally, I agree that the level of dedication it takes is something that can allow triathletes to find true fulfillment in the sport. I know that personally the triathlon is something I hope to compete in for the rest of my life.
2023-04-26 9:32 PM
in reply to: NordicTriathlete


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Subject: RE: Embracing the "Multi" in Multi-Sport
I started triathlons after a long career in cycling. I had always been curious about the sport, but it wasn't until a friend convinced me to sign up for a local race that I took the plunge. The biggest advice I'd give to someone looking to get into triathlons is to be patient with yourself. It's a challenging sport, but the rewards are immense. Take the time to learn each discipline and invest in good equipment; it makes a world of difference in your enjoyment and performance. This article was insightful - thank you!
2023-04-26 9:34 PM
in reply to: TriDad75

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Subject: RE: Embracing the "Multi" in Multi-Sport
Totally agree with this TriDad75! It's all about the fun of it - makes me think of when I used to play soccer and could spend hours running around with my friends - it didn't feel like exercise. Triathlon is the same - whether its going on group rides, doing Masters swim practices or even going for runs with a buddy, the social aspect of the sport keeps me engaged and the variety keeps me excited. Plus, I don't have to worry about scoring - just not getting any flat tires!


2023-04-26 9:35 PM
in reply to: triathalon_love

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Subject: RE: Embracing the "Multi" in Multi-Sport
I really appreciate your perspective on taking a long-term approach. I hope to race professionally after a collegiate skiing career and its a great reminder that triathletes get better over time with consistent training and racing.
2023-04-26 9:36 PM
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Subject: RE: Embracing the "Multi" in Multi-Sport
Love your post! It resonated with me as I started triathlons after a long career in competitive cyclocross - I loved the biking. Your emphasis on athletes from different backgrounds finding success in triathlon shows that it's not limited to those who have been doing it their whole lives. My advice for newcomers is to be patient with yourself. Triathlon is a challenging sport, but the rewards are immense. Take the time to learn each discipline and invest in good equipment; it makes a world of difference in your enjoyment and performance.

Edited by cycling_triathlete 2023-04-26 9:37 PM
2023-04-26 9:38 PM
in reply to: crosier.malware0d

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Subject: RE: Embracing the "Multi" in Multi-Sport
This is a great insight and exactly what I am trying to get at! There is a general athletic skillset that people can learn from many different sports that will translate to the triathlon.
2023-04-26 9:39 PM
in reply to: cycling_triathlete

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Subject: RE: Embracing the "Multi" in Multi-Sport
@cycling_triathlete -- you did competitive cyclocross? That's so cool. I started gravel riding recently but not sure how I feel about running WITH my bike on my shoulders.
2023-04-26 9:52 PM
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Subject: RE: Embracing the "Multi" in Multi-Sport
@SwimBikeFUN - you should really try it, it's a lot of fun! Kind of like triathalon minus the swim . The running is the best part!

Edited by cycling_triathlete 2023-04-26 9:53 PM


2023-04-28 3:33 PM
in reply to: NordicTriathlete

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Subject: RE: Embracing the "Multi" in Multi-Sport

Originally posted by NordicTriathlete ...What is your story? How have you become involved in triathlon racing? What is some advice you would give to those that want to get into the sport?

The first I heard of triathlons was when I was about 11 years old.  I was at a park for a service projects and there were a handful of people on the opposite side doing a triathlon.  I did see the race or athletes but our leaders told us there were some people doing a triathlon and what a triathlon was.  At the time I was already doing competitive running and I like biking and swim which I did a lot of non-competitively.  I was curious if I would be a good triathlete but no one I knew did triathlons and I never had a chance to find out growing up.  My younger brother must have taken the same curiosity and fascination as I did because when he was 22 years old he decided to do a full Ironman.  I was still focused on competitive running at the time and had not interest in doing anything that would split my attention from that, so it wasn't another dozen years before I did my first triathlon.  In my lake 30's I was living in a rural town of 5,000 people build on a lake the hosted two triathlon series every year.  I wasn't a running club in that town or any road races, so I got interested in doing the local triathlon.  I figures when in Rome do as the Romans.  I also wanted to connect with my brother.  I had talk to him multiple times about his one hit wonder with a full Ironman race but didn't really understand what it was like to do a Triathlon.  I want to do the race to have that shared experience with my brother.  I was a little more sane than my brother and signed up for the 70.3 distance race rather than the 140.6.  I trained for 8 months and was in the best shape of my life on race day.  I thought I would be a one hit wonder like my brother, but when I went back to running discovered that I was faster than I have been in 15 years so I stuck with triathlon as my running plan.  I didn't do any open running events though.  All my races were triathlons for the next 3-4 years.  I moved back to a town that has a running club two years ago so I am doing a lot of running events now, but still do all my training as a triathlete.

2023-04-30 12:27 AM
in reply to: NordicTriathlete

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Subject: RE: Embracing the "Multi" in Multi-Sport

A great post and gets to the heart of it all -  "a sport of capacity".  Recently my journey has taken me away from triathlon to ultra trail running (completed my first 100 mile race last year). And that discipline too is one of muscular endurance, aerobic capacity, and mental strength. So I've gone the other way and used the disciplines of tri to compete successfully in other events with similar requirements.

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