If you ask any athlete who is training for a big race, they will tell you it’s all about the training. We all have been there when we are so focused on our training life that we are so focused on it and it takes over our daily life.
But guess what, there is a lot more to life than training. I say this with a bit of hesitation, as I am four weeks out from my second Ironman, IM Mont Tremblant and in a big training build.
But it is not the training that gets me through each day. It’s the mix of activities inside and outside of training that inspire and excite me about the sport of triathlon.
Over the past four years since I came back to the sport of triathlon after a 20-year hiatus, I learned early on that I needed a balance with the sport. When I trained and raced my first 70.3 in 2014, I didn’t have any friends who were also training so I relied on my Coach for a lot of the motivation. The next year as I decided to train and race my first Ironman, I wised up and joined a triathlon club (the Golden Gate Triathlon Club here in San Francisco). I met like-minded friends and training partners.
Last year, I signed up for a GGTC buddy (to mentor a new member of the GGTC). The first thing that the woman said to me when we met was that she hoped to race an IM someday. She hadn’t done a sprint tri yet. Flash forward a year and this mentee just competed her first 70.3 and has set her sights on training and racing her first IM next year! Was I the catalyst for this – I’ll take some credit. My story to her was inspiring and I have been encouraging, guiding, mentoring her ever since our first meeting. I not only get the reward of knowing that I have supported her to great things but I have learned things from her. Best of all, I have someone who is as much a cheerleader for me as I am for her – a win-win!
It’s no secret that foundation and support go along way to achieving success in sport. Give a person the right tools, resources and support and they have the ability to achieve great things that they didn’t know they could.
Last year my triathlon club was awarded a Women for Tri grant by the Ironman organization to encourage new women into the sport of triathlon. So my Club created a Women For Tri program that created two training programs to teach women of all ages and abilities to swim-bike-run-train and complete their first triathlon. In fact, we had planned on only running one program but it sold out in days so we added a second program.
I co-led the GGTC WFT program with a buddy/training partner and fellow Ironwoman. We had imagined that we would be doing the inspiring for these women from our experience but it was these women that were doing the inspiring!
To say that I was inspired every day by these women is an understatement. The women’s ages ranged from 22 to 72! To see the women take on new challenges, embrace new skills and conquer their fears was inspirational. Seeing the women cross the finish line at both triathlons was magical.
Do More With The People In Your Life Who Support You
Guess what, we wouldn’t be able to do all that we do without the people in our life that give us love, support, guidance, and kudos with our sports. It goes without saying that quite frankly a lot of us wouldn’t be able to train as much or as well as we do without that support from family/friends. So carve out time in your schedule to do nice things for them and with them too. A little goes a long way in this regard and its fun for everyone involved!
So I challenge you as I did in my last article. What are three ways in your training life that you are doing non-training activities that do good to the world around you? You are likely already doing some of them and it’s good to recognize them while you celebrate and nurture them.
Happy training, racing and inspiring!
Written by Carla McKay
Follow Carla on Instagram! @carlamckay