Now that I am well over 2 months into Coach-led triathlon training, I have some thoughts on the past, present, and future of my athletic career (and personal life).
1. Having a coach is not absolutely necessary, but I am certain that it has had a positive effect on my fitness and results. Yes, you can get fit, train for and compete in a triathlon, and be successful without a coach. But having her there to
obsessively review every single detail of my training and racing results and push me (really hard) in the areas I need to improve has actually had the results I wanted. I am being pushed much harder than I would have done on my own (mostly out of ignorance of training methods). And my body has made an amazing transformation in that time. I feel so incredibly healthy and fit and strong. I do feel it has been worth the money spent for me.
2. Training for a triathlon is hard but mostly time-consuming. Granted I have only been training for the max distance of an Olympic triathlon, but that requires 6-7 days/week of training and several of those days are 2x/day workouts, averaging around 12-14 hours of training per week. It’s one thing to train hard to excel at one sport, but for 3 sports is 3 times the time and effort. I do not have a lot of time for a lot of other things that aren’t training, eating, sleeping, or my job (that pays for my little tri habit). For right now that has been ok, because I have needed the distraction. But if I plan to do a Half Ironman next year, I can only imagine the amount of time that will consume as well.
3. If I do a Half Ironman next year, I need to get a roommate and a housecleaning service. The roommate for the human interaction as I will have little time for any interaction that takes place outside my training or my home. And the housecleaning service to control the mess in the house that I have no time to clean. (Also the extra roommate rent can help pay for the housecleaning).
4. I am close to experiencing burn out with training. While some of this burn out comes from coinciding outside personal life sources, it does make make me realize that I may have a limit to the amount of time that I can go 110% in training without a break. Next year I need to set up my race schedule to give me plenty of breaks, maybe even a real vacation, and also look at the timing of my goal Half Ironman and back up from there on when I start the serious training so I don’t burn out too soon before the race.
5. My body and mind are much stronger than I even imagined. The level of mental toughness and physical pain I have been able to push through in training or during a race is beyond what even I thought I could be capable of. I have had to overcome a lot of physical, mental, and emotional hurdles this year just to get to this point. And it feels like I am only scraping the surface below what I thought was possible, so I know I must have even more reserves that I can tap into when I need them.