Why I Love Triathlons!

If someone had asked college Jen to do a triathlon, she probably would have laughed in your face or called you ridiculous…most likely both.  Although I have always been a runner, I hadn’t owned a bike since elementary school and my swimming skills consisted of sitting on a float at the indoor lazy river on Sundays with my hungover friends. TRUE STORY!


Cruise '04 001


If you read my running history, then you have some idea of how college Jen grew into a half marathoner and eventually a triathlete over the last 10 years.  I’ve completed 4 sprints and 1 Olympic distance triathlon since falling in love the sport in 2010.  Truth be told, my initial motivation was…well, if my younger brother can do, so can I.  And last year, I beat him in a race (sorry kid!). 




The idea for this post came to me during Monday’s BRICK workout.  With my first triathlon of the season rapidly approaching (less than 4 weeks away…yikes!), I was excited to get back into my training schedule.  As I was riding, I started thinking about what makes a BRICK workout so exciting and why it is I keep sign up for these demanding races. 

So without further ado…


The Top 10 Reasons Why I Love Triathlons


1. They make me feel strong and capable

If you can swim, bike, then run with a smile on your face, then can’t you take on anything?




2. I remember to treat my body well

This means eating right to fuel long workouts, getting plenty of rest, and dealing with stress.


3. They challenge me both physically and mentally

Anyone who runs knows that it is as much of a mental challenge as it is physical. Rising to that challenge is an indescribable feeling!




4. Triathletes are a warm and welcoming crowd

I love meeting other athletes, especially during local races.  Before my first triathlon, I went swimming in Lake Michigan to face my fear of open water.  After 15 minutes of wrestling into my wet suit, I was beyond intimidated before even sticking a toe in the water.  The nicest man (and fellow triathlete) talked me through it, gave me tips, and gently encouraged me.  That was the day that I learned that finishing just one race makes you part of a supportive community.


5. Training makes for good dinner party conversation

People are amazed to discover my triathlon hobby.  I think because they don’t realize that anyone can complete a sprint triathlon, you just have to train.  Before I knew anything about tri’s, I was always interested in what motivated someone to try this race and what the training looked like.  There’s always a lot to talk about in regards to equipment, workouts, and chaffing stories.


6. They give my weekends direction

I am motivated to get up and at ‘em Saturday morning when I know that I have a scheduled workout to do.  They get my day started and the weekend started right! (See Number 1)




7. Cross training prevents injuries and boredom

Each day is a different combination of running, cycling, and swimming.  For me, this prevents burn out because if I don’t want to swim, I can grab my bike and head outdoors and if I’m not in the mood to run, I know where to find the pool.  Cross training (along with yoga) keeps my muscles balanced and prevents overuse injuries.


8. It’s a healthy hobby that gets me outdoors

I’ve never been very crafty and don’t collect coins or stamps.  It’s good to have something non work related that interests and challenges you.  It’s even better if it supports a healthy lifestyle!




9.  I learn something new each time

I am a total rookie at the sport and love soaking in the knowledge of experienced triathletes and learning tips and strategies along the way.  In every race, I face a new fear (hi, open water!), overcome an obstacle, and push myself farther.  Although I still haven’t learned to braid my own hair : )


10. My entire family gets involved

My brother and mom have both done tri’s and my dad is the best photographer out there.  The BOY is the first one to put my bike on the car in the morning and has the strength to take it off after the race when I am heading straight for the shower.  There’s always someone to celebrate with me after a nap.  This upcoming triathlon will be really fun when the BOY and I host our families for a Father’s Day BBQ after the race.






Have you ever done a triathlon?

Do you want to?

What do you love about your hobbies?

27 thoughts on “Why I Love Triathlons!

    • Thank you Abby! I must say that most of it came together on the bike (prob another amazing thing about tri’s) but the more I wrote the more I realized how happy I am that I discovered the sport. At all levels, we feel so similar and it really is a fun way to spend your weekend. Thanks for the comment!!!

  1. I love your list! I’m sold on doing a tri… just need to get over my little fear of sharks 🙂 The Tri community IS amazing. My husband’s part of the SD tri club and whenever I go to events with him, the people are always so welcoming and awesome. Best part of running? Hands down its being outside and alone with my thoughts. It’s my daily sanity check 🙂

    • Cheers to that! I have a tshirt that says Running…cheaper than therapy : ) So true! I know you live by the ocean, but if you did your tri in a lake, it might help with the sharks!

  2. Great post! I’ve never done a triathalon but you may have just sold me : -) I love that my hobbies always make me smile. Even when a run is tough, it always makes me feel better!

    • That I just worked through a challenging run feeling really is the best. I think that’s why we sign up for marathons : ) You should definitely give a tri a try! It’s fun to train and a wonderful feeling of accomplishment!

  3. for me fear of open water…. overwhelming,… ! but please count me in to braid your hair!

    you go girl! and with that new wet suit…. PR?

    hugs, mom

  4. I have not tried a triathlon….it’s a huge time commitment and I lost my love for swimming back a few years ago when it was all I could do (b/c of injuries). I love to bike and run though! Maybe I should look into a duathalon. 🙂

  5. I loved reading this list. 🙂 Your enthusiasm for training and competing really come through. And that photo of you and your mom when she’s competing is priceless. I wish my mom was that awesome. I am terrified to try a triathlon because I am the worst swimmer in the world (there should be a trophy for that and somebody should give it to me) and they can also be really expensive, especially because I also don’t own a bike. Maybe someday I’ll make some money, take some swimming lessons, and try (tri? haha) one out. I do love that my running hobby keeps me healthy, too. And that it burns major calories so I get to eat more food. 🙂

    • The calorie burn is another huge bonus for sure! It is tough to do a tri without a bike, but I’ve seen people do the back stroke before, so you don’t have to be a great swimming.

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment! I love when my passion shines through in my writing!

  6. I have been toying with the idea of doing my first triathlon for about 3 years…but I have a mountain bike (vs the fancy road bikes) and am not overly comfortable riding it on city streets (our city is not very bike friendly, nor are the drivers bike friendly).

    • So, my mom rode her bike across Iowa and it is a comfort bike. Why am I sharing this??? She also did a triathlon with it, so the bike is not an issue. : ) Finding a place to ride that is safe can be tough for sure. I am lucky to have a great path and quiet hilly roads near by but I think a lot of the people in the city have to take their bikes elsewhere to get in a long ride.

  7. Good luck on your upcoming race. I can’t wait to read all about it. I did a sprint tri a few years ago. I have to admit that the swim was pretty tough for me!! I trained hard for swimming in a pool but the actual swim took place in a lake. All the people and the murky water freaked me out!! I made it out alive and the rest was a breeze compared to that!! I would love to try another one but I don’t have access to a pool anymore to train. Good job on beating your brother!! 🙂 Definitely bragging rights forever!!!

    • Forever! We are thinking rematch this year and I am already training…ha ha!

      The swim in the lake is always the worst. My goggles fog, someone swims over my head, and my heart is pounding out of my chest. I’ve definitely had a panic attack before in the water, so I totally get it. Hope you find a pool soon!

  8. Good luck on your race! How does the apparel change happen when you do it? You swim in a wetsuit, then bike and run in it? Or do you strip down to your skivvies and roll with it? I was a swimmer for 10 years and have uber crappy shoulders because of it but I think I could definitely still do it. I love biking and I love running! Seeing as I won’t be running for a while after surgery my doctor said biking was going to be my thing so maybe this is the universes way of telling me I should start training for something in addition to just road races… I definitely think it would be fun!

    • You definitely have a lot of biking and swimming in your future and you know you can run, so a tri seems inevitable! The swim can be whatever stroke you want, which is the best part.

      As for the apparel…I have tri shorts (waterproof with a little padding for the bike ride) and a tank top that I wear under my wetsuit for the swim (if I use a wet suit). After the swim, I lose the wet suit and add a helmet, shoes, and socks. You’re still wet while biking but someone it works. Then another shoe change and remember to drop the helmet for the run. So far it has worked but I know there are tons of different options out there!

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