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Longevity of Triathlon as a hobby/life style
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I have been doing tri for about 12 years now with a break here and there. In that time I have seen so many people local and national come and go. almost none of my friends do them anymore.

Wondering why it does not having the holding power of some other activities

Hard work is faster then aero
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Re: Longevity of Triathlon as a hobby/life style [surfNJmatt] [ In reply to ]
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because it's very expensive and it consumes your whole life if you want to be good at it.

I'm racing 2019 IM Arizona as part of Team Smile Train. Will I implode? Will I finish strong? Donate to find out more!
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Re: Longevity of Triathlon as a hobby/life style [jkhayc] [ In reply to ]
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jkhayc wrote:
because it's very expensive and it consumes your whole life if you want to be good at it.

This times 1000000.

Recent tri retiree here, I left for the exact reasons above. I was so focused on not missing a workout that my social life suffered. Whenever I traveled, I was frantically trying to find a pool to use.

Now I am just enjoying training as I want, peppering in MTBing and dog walks as generally fitness gains.

Alex Arman

Strava
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Re: Longevity of Triathlon as a hobby/life style [surfNJmatt] [ In reply to ]
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Wondering why it does not having the holding power of some other activities


I think if you look at it are they doing any of the 3 sports anymore, you will find a lot of them in that boat. That is what I see anyway, and it moves around what folks do. And a lot of people just stop racing, but keep training, so all of those things I would consider still part of the lifestyle. People just dont go from doing triathlon for years to the couch, eating bon bons and Doritos, at least not here in CA...


And what other activity do you see having such holding power, bowling, darts, shooting pool??
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Re: Longevity of Triathlon as a hobby/life style [surfNJmatt] [ In reply to ]
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I got out of it in 1989. I finally came back when I retired. Now I have the time, and more available funds.

Athlinks / Strava
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Re: Longevity of Triathlon as a hobby/life style [jkhayc] [ In reply to ]
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jkhayc wrote:
because it's very expensive and it consumes your whole life if you want to be good at it.

bingo. triathlon sucks as a hobby because you can't put it to the side and do other stuff.

Strava I Instagram I Team Every Man Jack I #cleanupnice
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Re: Longevity of Triathlon as a hobby/life style [surfNJmatt] [ In reply to ]
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I kinda feel like triathlon as a sport is a product that you have to do in order for it to be "counted". It just feels like everything in the industry is tied to actual doing the sport, and the lost genre is the "lifestyle" athlete who's just doing some odd swimming, some biking and some odd running when they can.

I see "runners" all the time who probaly haven't raced a run race in 30 years since their HS does, but they run 1/2/3 times a week and they get claimed as a "runner". Whereas I sorta feel like triathlon is also a "measured" sport. It's always about race participant numbers, it's always about X race numbers. It's as if the people who just swim/ride/run don't count anymore.

And I guess it's because half of those "runners" who I speak of probaly also did triathlon but now because they dont do triathlon they don't get counted as triathletes but get marked as a "runner"...same likely can be said for cyclists....Our bike store manager hasn't raced in a few years, he's probaly to the point he doesn't even mind that he isn't racing anymore, hell he hasn't swam or run in a few years now, but he sees himself as a triathlete even if all he does is "cycle".

So I kinda feel like we are such a corporate made up sport that your only a triathlete if you do the sport.

-USAT L2 coach, M.S. Exercise Physiology
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Last edited by: B_Doughtie: Oct 9, 18 10:20
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Re: Longevity of Triathlon as a hobby/life style [surfNJmatt] [ In reply to ]
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Suspect a big part of the triathlon base just doesn't really care for at least one of the disciplines. So after the bucket list items are checked and the novelty of tri wears off, it's tempting to just focus on the disciplines you were passionate about to start with. I competed actively in tri for ~4 years and loved it, but after awhile I realized I mainly just liked biking and running. Excited about getting back into tri at some point, but likely not until I have more free time (ie I feel like I have time to bike AND swim in any given day)
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Re: Longevity of Triathlon as a hobby/life style [lschaan] [ In reply to ]
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I read something recently that said if you run your Runner, if you swim you're a swimmer, if you bike you're a biker, but if you run, bike, and swim you are not a triathlete. Strangely that's a true perception.
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Re: Longevity of Triathlon as a hobby/life style [lschaan] [ In reply to ]
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lschaan wrote:
Suspect a big part of the triathlon base just doesn't really care for at least one of the disciplines.

would agree with this. i got to be a good swimmer, but i never really enjoyed it. just did it because i needed to be good at it. biking and running i actually enjoy, but duathlons are even worse than triathlons.

I'm racing 2019 IM Arizona as part of Team Smile Train. Will I implode? Will I finish strong? Donate to find out more!
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Re: Longevity of Triathlon as a hobby/life style [surfNJmatt] [ In reply to ]
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When I got into the sport in the late '90s I trained with a large group of single, female friends. As my friends starting having kids they left the sport and haven't returned. There are only a handful of people I know in my local community who have been consistently involved with the sport over the last 20 years. I think people go through different phases in life, and triathlon is part of just one of those phases for many people. I now train with a lot of people who are retired, so I guess for a number of people triathlon is either part of the early adulthood or retirement phase.
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Re: Longevity of Triathlon as a hobby/life style [Etip] [ In reply to ]
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I am retiring this year after 7 years of racing. I am not FOP, but will finish anywhere from just off the podium up to 20th AG in WTC races (currently 35-39). I am quitting for a variety of reasons:

1) Wife and I both race and want reallocate our leisure dollar. We spent nearly $10K traveling to STG and Boulder Full this year. We would rather cycle and hike in Europe, etc.
2) We also want a family, and trying to fit SBR into that seems exhausting and unnecessary.
3) Lack of swimming improvement. We both would need a few extra minutes in the water to take the next step competitively, and despite various masters groups, lessons, training philosophies, we haven't seen much improvement in the last 3 years.
4) The lack of self-awareness in the triathlon culture has gotten old.

She has decided to try joining a local women's cycling team and do some team racing, and I am going to focus on running. I figure I can run and lift weights with more days off and in half the time that I could do 70.3 training.

I have one more race this month (Waco), so I am hopeful to go out on a high note and move on with life.
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Re: Longevity of Triathlon as a hobby/life style [surfNJmatt] [ In reply to ]
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This nails it:
jkhayc wrote:
because it's very expensive and it consumes your whole life if you want to be good at it.

After 16 years of doing at least one race per year, I did not compete in a triathlon this year.
I still swim, bike and run, but I also hike, kayak, gravel ride, bike race (cyclocross/road), nordic ski, trail run, SUP.
I do less organized events and now do more "adventure" type activities on the weekends.
I just got tired of dedicating all my time to performing at triathlon.

Call me jaded about social media, but I think the reason people are doing less competitive events you don't have time to stop and post pics of the experience.
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Re: Longevity of Triathlon as a hobby/life style [jkhayc] [ In reply to ]
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jkhayc wrote:
because it's very expensive and it consumes your whole life if you want to be good at it.

Agreed. I wonder about those who don't care as much about being good at it- what keeps them in the sport? To them maybe it is more about the lifestyle than the competition. For myself I enjoy the competition and that's probably my main motivation, but I also enjoy the atmosphere and the accomplishment of completing a race. Maybe the challenge is part of what keeps people hooked?

"One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time."
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Re: Longevity of Triathlon as a hobby/life style [surfNJmatt] [ In reply to ]
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1) It's too hard and time consuming to commit enough to it so that you can continue to progress in the sport over time. Heck, doing just one of them is hard enough - do 3, and the logistics alone will kill you, not even the training. Yet we diehards do it, but most of my friends look at my like I'm a freak for trying to juggle the 3.

2) Arthritis and injuries end a lot of running, and hence, triathlon careers, particularly M50+. I'm not quite there yet, but I'll actually be surprised if I can still race Olys at 50 given that I'm becoming gradually hobbled from joint arthritis in my 40s. Sucks, but it is what it is.
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Re: Longevity of Triathlon as a hobby/life style [B_Doughtie] [ In reply to ]
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B_Doughtie wrote:
I kinda feel like triathlon as a sport is a product that you have to do in order for it to be "counted". It just feels like everything in the industry is tied to actual doing the sport, and the lost genre is the "lifestyle" athlete who's just doing some odd swimming, some biking and some odd running when they can.

I see "runners" all the time who probaly haven't raced a run race in 30 years since their HS does, but they run 1/2/3 times a week and they get claimed as a "runner". Whereas I sorta feel like triathlon is also a "measured" sport. It's always about race participant numbers, it's always about X race numbers. It's as if the people who just swim/ride/run don't count anymore.

And I guess it's because half of those "runners" who I speak of probaly also did triathlon but now because they dont do triathlon they don't get counted as triathletes but get marked as a "runner"...same likely can be said for cyclists....Our bike store manager hasn't raced in a few years, he's probaly to the point he doesn't even mind that he isn't racing anymore, hell he hasn't swam or run in a few years now, but he sees himself as a triathlete even if all he does is "cycle".

So I kinda feel like we are such a corporate made up sport that your only a triathlete if you do the sport.

A couple of years ago my LBS was trying to put together a "racing team" and wanted both a Cycling and separate Tri team. One of the requirements they stipulated for membership was that you actually had to race. They didn't want people joining the team and only doing group rides. When they approached me to help build the Tri team and gave me that stipulation I almost laughed, and told them that wouldn't be any issue because nobody really "trains for triathlon" if they aren't planning to race.

There are plenty of people that just run, cycle or swim for fitness. But it's rare to find people that do all three just to stay in shape (and those guys are probably lurking on this very site).
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Re: Longevity of Triathlon as a hobby/life style [g_lev] [ In reply to ]
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There are plenty of people that just run, cycle or swim for fitness. But it's rare to find people that do all three just to stay in shape (and those guys are probably lurking on this very site).

-------

Yes and I'm guessing a portion of those single fitness sports are "triathletes" turned single sport fitness person. And so that was sorta my point is that the person who now doesnt race but rides 96%, runs 3% and swims 1% of his fitness time isn't an "triathlete" anymore; they are a "cyclist" or they are just a random fitness person. So it's why I said, it's like we are a sport that is marketed for the specific purposes of training for racing only triathlon only.....you aren't a "triathlete" anymore if you don't race and/or dont train as a triathlete, etc. It's a weird dynamic, I dont think that's the case for other endurance sports, as I'd say running is far more recreational/fitness based than "racing".

-USAT L2 coach, M.S. Exercise Physiology
http://www.aomultisport.com
instagram-@alloutmultisport
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Re: Longevity of Triathlon as a hobby/life style [surfNJmatt] [ In reply to ]
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What is the duration in years of people participating in triathloning?

High school last three years for most people. Those going to college spent probably 4-6 years on average in undergrad. Is triathloning participation duration longer or shorter than these time periods?

Triathloning starts after high school or college for the majority of triathletes now probably but would be interesting to have more data based info. For soccer, baseball, football, basketball, and track athletes; probably just the opposite with the majority starting before schools ends and the majority dropping out after school ends.

An average triathlete probably stays in the sport longer than they do in the same work position or even employer. Probably a lot longer.

Factors of lifestyle changes, finances, families, injuries, health, interests, influences from others, goals of journeys or bucket list destinations, and more all play a role in duration of a hobby. As do these factors have on how long of a holding power working in the same position, living in the same location, staying with the same spouse/sigo, maintaining the same friends, and more.

Probably add in the willingness to flex over time with the sport. I'm a much different triathlete and person now, than when starting out a few years ago. Much like probably the majority of posters here too. Less flexible may choose to drop out than change for extended duration. Don't really know, but would think some marketers from races and suppliers would benefit greatly from the knowledge gained in a formal survey.

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Re: Longevity of Triathlon as a hobby/life style [doublea334] [ In reply to ]
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I found that my life has gotten a lot more balanced once I decided to stagger all of my tri races either in the april-june or the october-november timeframe. This allows me to do quality travels with the family in summer or around Xmas/NY without the hassle of having to find a pool/stationary bike/etc. Now I just bring some running gear and do a run when I can when we travel - and that does the trick. If I had a job that required constant travel, I'd probably not race.

Next races on the schedule: La Quinta Desert Tri 2019, St George 70.3 2019, IM Boulder 2019, IMAZ 2019
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Re: Longevity of Triathlon as a hobby/life style [Sean H] [ In reply to ]
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Sean H wrote:
jkhayc wrote:
because it's very expensive and it consumes your whole life if you want to be good at it.


bingo. triathlon sucks as a hobby because you can't put it to the side and do other stuff.

Well yeah! I just looked at your Strava, 20+ hrs a week? Plus prep time, time on this site, time looking at your data, time researching the latest gear, looking at training plans whatever, Im guessing Tri is essentially a fulltime job for you! You must be young and single :-D
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Re: Longevity of Triathlon as a hobby/life style [jkhayc] [ In reply to ]
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jkhayc wrote:
because it's very expensive and it consumes your whole life if you want to be good at it.

Expensive is all relative. I came to triathlon from sailboat racing. Anything done at a really high level becomes expensive. I have a friend that spent $40,000 on a wake boarding boat. I probably spend less than a lot of golfers.

I think after a few years you run into your limits and at that point you either enjoy the lifestyle and can accept that you won't be a world champion, or you walk away.

I've been in the sport for about 20 years and still enjoy it. I can accept that I'm never going to win a race or qualify for Kona. At this point I'm mostly racing against my former self and losing a lot.
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Re: Longevity of Triathlon as a hobby/life style [DimaP] [ In reply to ]
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lol, that's probably why I'm so down on triathlon at the moment. it felt like a full time job this year for sure, but I had a goal and managed to barely accomplish it last week (KQ). i felt immense pressure to get that done this year because i don't think i'll get another shot for a very long time. i am married and have 2 boys ages 6 & 8 who's own sporting activities are starting to dominate our lives. safe to say i will never train like that ever again.

Strava I Instagram I Team Every Man Jack I #cleanupnice
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Re: Longevity of Triathlon as a hobby/life style [surfNJmatt] [ In reply to ]
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I suspect a lot of people get into tri because they want to be able to say they finished an IM or a half. They do that, maybe a half then an IM, or whatever, but they never really develop much love for it. The only thing they ever trained was just the ability to finish one of those courses, they were never really racing.

If every tri I did was a 7 hour half or a 15 hour IM, I'm not sure I would ever be looking forward to another one. I know a handful of people who got into it with that goal, built up to a single Ironman, and never toed another start line, even if they enjoyed it, it was never going to be a lifetime or even years-long thing. Just like that dude in your office who ran that marathon a few years ago. He was all in, did it, then it was over.
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Re: Longevity of Triathlon as a hobby/life style [Sean H] [ In reply to ]
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Sean H wrote:
lol, that's probably why I'm so down on triathlon at the moment. it felt like a full time job this year for sure, but I had a goal and managed to barely accomplish it last week (KQ). i felt immense pressure to get that done this year because i don't think i'll get another shot for a very long time. i am married and have 2 boys ages 6 & 8 who's own sporting activities are starting to dominate our lives. safe to say i will never train like that ever again.

Oh wow. Congrats and good luck!! Not sure how you're still married........I have a 7 and 9 yr old, I just started tri and the fresh young age of 48 (49 now) and with the 10+ hrs a week my wife wasn't always happy!
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Re: Longevity of Triathlon as a hobby/life style [DimaP] [ In reply to ]
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Thanks! Luckily my wife likes to run so she "gets it." but she's also probably more happy than i am that i qualified lol. Good luck with your tri journey!

Strava I Instagram I Team Every Man Jack I #cleanupnice
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