Why do you train?

What am I chasing? What is it that I’m trying to do? Sure I have goals to complete a half ironman but what’s the bigger picture. Why do I REALLY do this? Why do you train? Have you ever asked yourself that question?

While on my Kinetic bike trainer the other day it came to me! I was watching Band if Brothers (crossroads episode) and it connected the dots for me. In the episode there were two officers briefing each other, walking along a railroad track that was within their friendly lines. A sentry yells out “HALT!” and before they could answer he opens fire on them killing one of the officers with friendly fire.

This scene outlined the importance of being well trained, disciplined and an importance to always know what’s going on. Mistakes aren’t just things we get scolded for they’re more than that. They’re what happens when we aren’t well trained or disciplined enough and those are the reasons why things go wrong. In the military a mistake costs lives. In banking a mistake costs money. In construction working with tools can mean a loss of limbs or worse a life. In triathlon it’s missing your podium finish, missing your personal best or worse getting in an accident or getting injured. It can be as simple from over training. Is the podium or having a safe bike ride the bigger picture, the end to my means? I say no.

Being a triathlete means something bigger. It means that I am fit enough to save my wife and kid from a perilous situation, making sure that I’m healthy enough to be around in 40 years and be healthy enough to pick up my grand kids. It’s about a pursuit to making the most of myself: constantly learning and growing. All aspects of my life are open for me to review. There is no part that I can’t improve on. I can always be a better husband, father, employee, friend and triathlete.

Being a triathlete forces the process of improvement: set a goal, train, evaluate, train, perform, repeat.

It teaches you to solve problems. Figure out where you want to go, what you want to do. How are you going to get there? Now let’s walk the talk (my favorite part). Take time to reflect on what you just did. Now set a new goal slightly further that the last time. If you weren’t successful maybe you try to achieve the same goal but revise the plan for a better chance of success. We should all take this approach.

In society the better the individuals we are the better we can come together as a community. For example doctors have to work incredibly hard to practice their profession. Would it be better if we lowered the standards to perform surgery? Out standards of health would deteriorate. Should soldiers be trained any less when we’re asking them to put their lives on the line? More soldiers would die and we would be less protected. The same question applies to any job. These individuals have to continuously improve and sharpen their skills. As a member of society should we each stop training and improving ourselves so we can sit back and enjoy the hard work of others? What if everyone stopped trying to be the best that we can be? Our world would fall apart. Half efforts have no place and we all depend on each other.

Being a triathlete is a constant reminder of the oath I pledged to myself: to always do better. I’m smarter and stronger because of it and that benefits everyone that I come in contact with.

Physically, mentally we all have a duty to become the best that we can be. That’s why I train.


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