Over the last five years I have noticed the development of unique trends in the sport of triathlon. I am wondering if it is this way everywhere or if it's just me.
Trend #1) So, coming from a running background I started getting into triathlons in 2010 when Matt and I learned about Cleveland Triathlon Club's local indoor tri's. At this time triathlon still seemed like a relatively new sport in our little community of endurance athletes. Though the interest quickly grew and by the time 2011 rolled around it seemed like everyone was doing or interested in triathlon; not just those from running backgrounds, but people who had never done an endurance event in their life. Granted this could just be the "new car trend" where if you get a new car, you suddenly become more aware of that make and model and soon it seems like everyone is driving that same car. Regardless, triathlon seemed to be thriving as a sport! So, trend #1: 2010 triathlon seemed to become a main stream sport (in our community).
Trend #2) The next trend I saw in the sport of triathlon was the desire for everyone to be a part of a team. I have to admit that I have always enjoyed individual sports as opposed to team sports. Though 100% of the pressure is on you in individual sports, there is absolutely no pressure or guilt of letting anyone else down other than yourself (see my blog from 2011). I can handle being disappointed in myself, but I don't do well with letting down other people. People pleaser much?!?!?!
Looking back and finding out about Team REV3 in 2011 certainly changed my perspective on this topic. The thing I love about Team REV3 is that I am able to be a part of a team and share the experience that is triathlon with like-minded people, but there is still no pressure to perform well "for the sake of the team". Team REV3 welcomes all levels of athletes from complete newbies to Kona qualifiers and those like myself who will forever be a "middle of the packer."
So, in this respect I can now see why people want to be part of a triathlon team! So, trend #2: look around you at your next race. Doesn't it seem like everyone is wearing some sort of team kit? If you are fortunate to be on a Team like REV3 most of your teammates are in it for the camaraderie, like-mindedness, fun, and laughter. They are not judging you and they are not putting you down for not performing at a certain level, which brings me to the next trend in the evolution of triathlon...
Trend #3) Coaches! Now into my fourth year of triathlon I have come to find that everyone and their brother seems to have a coach or a personal trainer. Alot of the time I feel like I am the lone soldier holding down the "this is supposed to be fun, I don't want a coach on my back telling me what to do" fort. By no means am I saying that having a coach is a bad thing. The majority of my friends and teammates have coaches, and I personally know alot of really good coaches (I also happen to know alot of really bad coaches). However, coaching is just not a priority for me (at this point in time). My personality is such that I am self motivated, highly disciplined, and OCD when it comes to doing workouts as scheduled. In addition, I don't like people telling me what to do and I don't like feeling like I am being held accountable to someone other than myself. For me triathlon is supposed to be fun, a hobby, something I do to stay in shape and clear my mind of the daily stressors from work, marriage, family, and life in general.
Now there are certainly triathletes that I would say 100% need a coach, e.g. a triathlete who is working to Kona qualify or to become Pro; or someone who is completely new to triathlon and has no idea where to start (i.e. just needs a basic training plan to get through the first year). However, it seems that alot of middle of the packers these days all have coaches now. To me the only logical reasoning for a middle of the packer to have a coach is: 1) they really are looking to improve and just haven't found what works for them yet, or 2) they are the type of person that needs to be held accountable to someone. But if you are like me, a middle of the packer who is happy being a middle of the packer and just wants to have fun, what is the point of paying more money out of your pocket for a coach who really isn't benefiting you (as if triathletes don't spend enough money on the sport as it is). It seems odd to me that in other endurance sports, like running, coaches are few and far between unless you are an elite athlete. So, trend #3: everyone is getting a triathlon coach. Is it really just a trend or a fad where its "fashionable" to have a coach, kind of like the whole fancy bike thing (which yes, I fell into 100%....who doesn't want to have a badass looking bike even if you are not fast enough to enjoy the benefits)? Or am I completely missing something?
Anyways, it is certainly fun watching triathlon thrive and evolve as a sport. I really do like observing, and falling culprit, to the trends which develop over time. OR maybe they are not trends at all and are just my perception at that point in time. How about you? Have you noticed any major trends or have perceived notions in the sport of triathlon?