5 Reasons You Should Do A Triathlon This Year

You should do a triathlon this year. That’s my professional opinion. Sure, we’re a few days late in to your new years resolutions, but you should do it anyways. Add it to your list and make it happen. This year. 2012. Do it.

Why Should You Do A Triathlon?

Personally, triathlon has been one of the most helpful things I’ve ever done and I’m not exaggerating when I say that. It’s what started me on this impossible journey and the one activity that’s shown me there’s always something beyond what your own personal limitations tell you is possible.

The first time I dipped my toes in the water of my first race, I had no idea what I was doing. But, I did it anyways and it’s the thing that’s changed the way I think about what’s possible and what’s not. I might be a little biased, but I really do think you should do it this year. Here’s 5 good reasons why:

You Probably Haven’t Done A Triathlon Before

Have you? Didn’t think so.

If you’ve done one already, can you go farther?

There’s Someone Worse Looking Than You Doing One

There’s this stereotype that the only people who do triathlons are tall, young, strong, people will hairless chests and shaved legs on $5,000 bikes with more money than God and a body to match. Triathlons are only meant for people who rival Lance Armstrong, Michael Phelps and Zeus.

Not true.

I told you who I saw doing a triathlon, you wouldn’t believe me, but I’m gonna try anyways. Some of the people I distinctly remember seeing at a race.

  • A 250 pound 40+ year old woman in a one-piece (for the entire race!).
  • An 80 year very hairy man, wheezing throughout his running portion, sounding like he was going to die any second, and embarassing people decades younger than him.
  • A 6 year old kid (Dang. What was I doing at 6 years old? Watching bad cartoons?)

That’s just a few of the people I’ve seen (and that’s not even including the 52 year old woman who peed herself in the middle of the race). So if you’re worried about looking bad in your spandex – DON’T – so is EVERYONE else. Everyone else is entirely way too concerned with how they look in spandex or the fact that they’re about to drown that they don’t have the time or energy to notice you in a field of athletes who are all wearing the same type of outfit.

It’s Multifunctional (and entertaining)

This is actually the reason I started doing triathlon. When I finished competing in team sports, I knew I had to do something to stay competitive, challenge myself and keep in shape. Otherwise, I knew I would balloon up and channel all my energy into watching whatever new show was on TV – not a good option.

At first thought I should do a marathon (everyone does marathons, right?), but I brushed that off immediately because I knew I sucked at running and 26.2 miles was way too long of a distance to do something I sucked at (oops). So, being the bright person that I am, I decided to do a triathlon instead. Of course, in triathlon I knew I sucked at running, biking AND swimming, but I figured if I had to suck during the entirety of an activity, the least I could do was switch up the types of activities in which I was sucking at – if for no other reason than it would keep me from getting bored.

And it works. Triathlons are much more interesting than marathons because you’re always doing something different. But triathlons have another side effect to this multi-functional training as well. In addition to keeping you entertained throughout the race, having to do different movements means you have to have your whole body in shape. You can’t just focus on your legs and forget your arms, or you’ll drown during the swim. If all you do is swim, then you’ll end up swearing more than usual when you do brick workouts and have to start running after you get off your bike. Triathlon forces you to get your whole body in shape…which leads us to the next point.

There’s Someone Better Looking Than You Doing One

Eye candy. There I said.

If you were concerned from earlier about being in the midst of a bunch of scary looking people in spandex, don’t worry, there are good looking triathletes. Actually loads of ‘em.

Swim, Bike, Run.

Do all of that, you’re going to look pretty good if you keep it up. I’ll be the first to admit that some endurance athletes tend to look a little emaciated and aren’t necessarily the best reflection of healthy out there, but triathletes are different. When you have to exercise your whole body, your whole body gets in shape.

I’m a huge fan of functional fitness – the idea that purpose of fitness is to be allow you to do things, not just look good. When you’re functionally fit, you’re not only going to be able to do lots of things, but you’re going to look good – even if it’s not the skinny, skinny, skinny pictures that the models in the magazines say you should be (you shouldn’t). So it should go without saying that if you’re going to have to test your limits and do something you’ve never done before, it helps to be surrounded by some functionally fit eye candy to keep you motivated to keep going.

(And no, I’m not contradicting myself by saying there are good looking and normal looking people that run triathlons. Most people are normal, so there’s people that fall on either side of the spectrum. If you actually go to a race, you’ll be surprised at the wide variety of people that compete).

It’s Not Impossible

It really is not. It’s one of the fastest growing sports in the US and there’s a reason why. You can do it – if you want to. Lots of other people: older, fatter, more ignorant, less skilled, hairier people have done it.

When I started, I didn’t know anything about triathlons. I didn’t know anyone who did triathlons. Heck, I didn’t even know what all activities a triathlon consisted of. I thought it was impossible that I’d ever find out any of the answers to those questions and  But I jumped in and I did it.


Because I wanted to do it and I got tired of assuming it was impossible without every trying it.

One More Reason

Maybe those 5 reasons still aren’t good enough for you. You’re still not convinced. You still have questions. You still have doubts. You’re still not sure you can do it. I still think you can.

So I’m writing a guide for you.

The first ever Impossible HQ guide – Impossible Tri. It’s designed to get you off your butt, decimate any and all excuses you might have for not running a triathlon, get you over your fear of committment to doing one and have you sign up for and complete your first triathlon in the next 6 months. You probably can do in less time, but just in case you need the time, you got six months.

Unlike most products, this is going to be based around action. DOING SOMETHING and making the next few seemingly impossible things you do, a little less impossible starting with a triathlon. In fact, I’m going to try and actively discourage people who won’t take action from even reading it. Vicarious living and inspirational cocaine is one of the most dangerous drugs to get hooked on and I’m doing what I can to prevent you from just getting hooked on reading about other people’s stories and move you to writing your own.

That’s about all I’ll say on it for now, since I need to put my head in the sand and get to work, but if you have any questions on a triathlon, why you should do it, or things you’re confused on, let me know in the comments or in the league. Not only will I incorporate them into the guide, but I’m bringing in real people and stories, just like me and you to show that running a triathlon isn’t impossible along with triathlete experts to shatter any excuses you might have into tiny little pieces. BOOM.

Commit to it. Do a triathlon in 2012.

If you really want to do a triathlon, Impossible TRI is now here. You could be running your first triathlon in just 3 months. You just have to decide to do it. Sign up here. 

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  1. says

    Tri’s are a blast! My first one was with Team In Training raising money for Leukemia and Lymphoma. If you are new to the sport, that’s a great way to learn, raise money and have a lot of fun.

    They can take anyone and make the a triathlete.

    After I did Team In Training, I have done a bunch of 1/2 Ironman’s and now have signed up for a full Ironman in July. Training is pretty intense but it’s great to have a worthwhile goal.

    Looking forward to the impossible tri series and hearing people’s stories — that always inspires me to keep going.

  2. chuck Linn says

    Hey Joel,my goal last year was to complete our local aguathon, this was a once aweek for the month of July event. swim 200 yards run a mile swim 200 yards. I finished and inproved my time each week. Have been swimming,jogging and biking, going to do my first Tri in June at Castic,Calif. Your blogs are great.Very Inspiring. Thanks

  3. Mo Carleton says

    I’m already hooked on triathlons. Top of my impossible possibilities in 2012 is finishing my first Ironman Tri, Lake Placid on July 22. BTW, Josh, I did Tough Mudder last year too, LOVED IT. Joel, your blog is circulating BIG TIME among my local tri club, the Waterbury Y Triathlon Club. Thanks !! (Im waiting for my impossible t to come in the mail, too!

  4. Jim Davis says

    No triathlons this year. Just three bodybuilding competitons. One April 28th, in conjunction with the Kentucky Derby; one May 26th, the week after my 58th birthday, (I’m getting married June 23rd) and one in October.

    All this just five years after major lumbar reconstruction surgery.

    Besides, my sister-in-law to be is a world-ranked triathlete, after traumatic brain injury and epilepsy.

  5. Ian says

    Good article in general, Joel, but one minor disagreement – If you’ve done one already, can you go farther?
    There seems to be a real ego kick about who can go furthest – ultra marathons, long course tri, etc.
    If you want to be healthy – go faster, not longer.
    It terrifies me watching people struggle for 16-17 hours round an Ironman – hat’s off for perseverance, but you’re just going to hurt yourself.
    Set a tough target at a shorter distance and challenge yourself to get much faster. Do the hard work in training, not the race!

    • says

      Nope. Not about competing against others. Against yourself. There are competitive races, but a lot of the reason why people stop is because they put up mental blocks about what they can or cannot do.

      • Ian says

        Going faster is still competing against yourself, especially in endurance sports. The difference is that have to train smarter rather than just throwing more hours at it to be successful. Swimming, biking & running for hours and hours with basic technique issues or without a big base of fitness is a great way to set yourself up for injury. By focussing on the process of improving your relative speed (improved technique, researching structured training, working with a group) and taking things steady (no pressure to rush increasing fitness), you’ve got a chance of avoiding them.

        • Tobias Mullinax says

          I think that both going faster and longer are good goals to make for yourself (At least they are for me). It shouldn’t be about proving yourself to others. You should only go for either if doing so will help you reach your impossible. Proving yourself to others should just be a bi-product of proving yourself to yourself.

          • Mo Carleton says

            agreed, Tobias. As a mom of 3, all of my athletic endeavors – speed or distance – are not to prove anything to anyone else but me. If someone would have told me 7 years ago that I would be athletic, let alone a triathlete, i would’ve laughed. this journey, for me, is all about pushing my own limits and accomplishing impossible possibilities. we’re all pretty remarkable here, i think !

  6. says

    Doing an Ironman triathalon has been on my bucket list for years. So has walking across America. For both activities, my inspiration was reading about women who had done it and were over 80 years old. I figured, “if they can do it, why can’t I?”

    But my husband’s health issues and a poor coping strategy (stuffing my face) caused me to balloon over the years and it seemed like doing something an 80 year old woman could do was impossible. I got up to 326.4 lbs last year. I finally decided to take my life back. I started training to do that walk across America I always wanted to do.

    I’ve already lost 37 lbs. training and changing my eating habits, but I still can’t run. It kills my joints. Hell, walk ten miles and my joints protest. My muscles are having quicker and quicker recovery times but my joints still complain. But I’m sticking to it. I’ll be leaving in April, and plan to be done by Thanksgiving.

    I figure I’ll keep getting in better and better shape and lose more weight. When I get back, I plan to start training for the Ironman. It’ll be fun!


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