I was playing with the idea that someday I may want to do triathlons. After reviewing the triathlete training plans, time commitment and costs of entering these events, it really struck me that the reason I appreciate running so much is because of its accessibility and simplicity. I have a lot of respect for triathletes and their commitment to the sport, but the sport just doesn’t seem very accessible and adds more complications to life. Training for three separate sports at the same time requires a lot of planning, logistics, and quite frankly, sacrificing a lot of time with family and friends. Probably not a problem if your financially independent and have a lot of free time to commit to training, but it is a major undertaking if you have a full time job and family to attend to – just doesn’t seem like you would have space in your life for much else other than training and recovering. The costs of a wet suit, triathlon bike, gym memberships, access to a pool, race fees, digital gear, and travel to the major events could easily be several thousand dollars a year if you are somewhat serious about the sport. Sure you could probably get away initially buying cheap end stuff, but if you plan to commit yourself to the sport long-term, you will eventually want to get better quality equipment. Also, the sport has an element of heightened danger where it seems everyone has a story to tell about how they were almost killed crashing their bike or being hit by a car. That may appeal to some people, but I’m risk adverse in this regard, I could never see myself speeding down a hill on a bike at 40 mph – I guess that’s why I don’t enjoy riding roller coasters.
I’m all for challenging myself with new ventures, but being a simple and somewhat frugal person who wants to lead a minimalist lifestyle, I think I’ll just stick to running. Running is great on so many levels. First, it is accessible to anyone, regardless of height, weight, or socioeconomic status. All you need is a pair of athletic shoes, shorts and t-shirt to get started. And with the barefoot running boom, you may not even need the shoes. Running takes no special abilities, we all were born to run, albeit everyone does it a little differently. You can do it anywhere, just step out your front door and go, it’s really that simple. No need for any gym memberships. If you travel a lot, it is a great way to experience and see a new location up close and personal. There is no time constraints as to when you can run, you’ll see runners on the roads at all hours during the day – although I prefer to get my running in early in the morning. Running is a sport as egalitarian as they come, you get rewarded by the effort you put into it, no shortcuts or any special equipment will give you any advantage over anyone else. Running can just be a personal endeavor or you can challenge yourself against others by signing up for organized races. The calorie burn per minute of effort is probably the most efficient of any sport, so if weight loss is your goal, running will get you there faster. You can do it alone, with a friend, or a group of friends. In terms of costs, unless you are traveling around the country running marathons, shouldn’t be more than a few hundred dollars a year – but the health benefits of running will save you several thousands of dollars in the long run. The sport is relatively safe, but you do need to be cautious of your safety because you do hear of those unfortunate stories of people being hit by cars or taking a tumble.
So my fantasy of becoming a triathlete someday doesn’t seem to sync up with the reality of my lifestyle and the type of person I am, whereas, just plain simple running does. I’ll continue to cross-train with a little cycling, but that will mainly be to complement my running, and that will be the extent of it.