Triathlons define mental toughness, determination

By Marissa Carney


The world of triathlons combines the art of running, bicycling and swimming into one — it is a sport that defines itself through not only extreme physical rigor, but mental toughness, as well.

The average distance race, also known as the Olympic distance, requires the athlete to participate in a 1.5 kilometer swim, a 40 kilometer bicycle ride and a 10 kilometer run.

Other variations in triathlon distances exist, with the Ironman series being the most popular variation.

The race requires triathletes to participate in a combined 140.6 kilometer event that is broken down into a 3.8 kilometer swim, 180.2 kilometer bike ride and a 42.2 kilometer run.

“Whether a professional athlete or an age-grouper, the most important element to successful

Ironman training is time management,” said Brandt Ferguson, professional Ironman athlete.

“It is critical because there are so many different variables you have to manage. If you can properly manage your time, you can stick to your training plan.”

The intensity and duration of training for such an extreme caliber of physical endurance requires much more than having a physically fit body.

It requires a discipline in food intake and supplements, as well as mental preparation to allow the body to go the distance that it needs in order to accomplish the task.

“Stay committed; I believe anyone of any level can do a triathlon as long as they stay committed to training and working hard,” said Eddie Muro, senior leadership studies and communication studies double major.

Muro has competed in one triathlon and many in tense mud runs in the past and is currently training for a marathon in February and an upcoming triathlon this summer.

Triathlons defy all standards that have been placed on the average athlete as a whole.

Not only do they break down the barriers of what the body can physically endure, they build confidence, mental strength and a winning attitude to achieve any goal in life.

Muro suggests that training with friends and fellow competitors makes the experience much more enjoyable and helps keep each other accountable despite the temptation to slack in training.

“Make it fun,” Muro said. “In the end it is all a mental game and if you have a positive attitude, competitive or not, you will finish.”

The sport does not put an emphasis on winning but it does value finishing.

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