What’s Your Motivation?

We all have some reason that we participate in endurance sports.  We Tri for a reason.  As unique as each of us are, so too are the things that compel us to swim, bike and run.

For some, triathlon is a way to get into shape and lose weight.  Others pursue triathlon as a bucket list.  Or a right of passion.  Some people seek to prove something to themselves.  Surely there are those that tri so they can gain what they perceive as admiration or glory from others.  And you know what?  All of these reasons are truly spectacular reasons for doing multisport.

Earlier this week, I read a blog post written by Meredith – otherwise known on the web as Swim Bike Mom.  In her post, Meredith covers a lot of territory (including how she got a triathlon hickey) – but for me, the real meat of her post is close to the end where she talks about what motivated her to sign up to race Ironman Coeur d’Alene in 2013.  She lays out six reasons that are part of her motivation to “go long”. 

Meredith is motivated to tri.  I am motivated to do tri.  You’re motivated to swimbikerun.  Something or someone got your juices flowing. 

Why do I do triathlon?  Surely not because I’m going to win races.  Heck, I’m more likely to be a last place finisher than a first place finisher.  I started doing triathlon because I had a friend who did them, and I wanted to be more like him in some regards I suppose.  Plus, I had a cycling and running background, so it seemed like a natural progression.  But now, for me, triathlon is no longer about losing weight or winning races or crossing off things on my bucket list. I think my main motivation now is that triathlon in general is my great escape.

When I’m running or swimming or biking I literally check out.  It’s the one time in my day where I am free from my work.  I don’t take my blackberry with me, so I’m not constantly checking emails.  It’s my time to daydream.  To think about what is going on in my life.  To pray. 

See, I don’t have a great cause.  I’m not triathloning (is that even a word) to lose weight – although I need to lose some.  I’ve gone the distance all the way to iron, so I’m no longer trying to prove to myself that I am capable of doing the distance.  I am not raising money for charity with each of my races.

I just ENJOY this hobby of ours.  I like how I feel once I get out of the pool.  For some sadistic reason, I love it when I have DOMS the day after a hard workout.  Perhaps like most of us, I like the way I look (or at least see myself looking) when I’m in shape.  Like many other hobbies – golf, needlepoint, cooking, roller-coaster riding – triathloning is something that I look forward to.  Something that I think about frequently.  Something that I wish I could do more of.  This enjoyment, coupled with the fact that I use swimbikerun as a method to unplug, motivates me to continue to participate in this sport.

So…what about you?  What’s your motivation?  Why do you Tri?

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3 thoughts on “What’s Your Motivation?

  1. Great post. My initial involvement was pretty much a happy accident. I was running to lose weight and get some other things together and out of the blue – *boom* I got it in my head to try a triathlon, though I’d not been on a bike since the 80’s and could barely swim. So I suppose my initial motivation was a desire to put my new found exercise efforts into some sort goal oriented and baseline perspective. Yeah, that’s how my brain works.

    Four years later and I can still barely swim the 1500 meters or 1.2 miles. But you know what? Funny enough I’ve managed to become an OK runner and absolutely cycling mad. Like “I measure my ride in kilometers because it’s euro” cycling mad. And I love every minute of it – even the slow swims. So my motivation now is definitely to follow some passions it took me 38 years to figure out I had.

  2. Great post. I have less than 12 months tri experience and fell into it by accident – scored a free ticket into an Olympic distance event and then had to quickly purchase a bike and start training. It was the best thing that could have happened. I had grown tired of three years of running and I am so much happier to be cycling once again. I’m not fast but, as you point out, it’s not about winning. It has become my escape too.

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