We’re often told by our triathletes that doing triathlons is “just a hobby”. But, sometimes we wonder, based on the amount of time devoted to this “hobby” if that’s indeed what it is…
What exactly is a hobby one might ask? The dictionary defines it as “An activity done regularly in one’s leisure time for pleasure”.
Now, let’s put that to the test saying triathlons are a hobby. First off, triathlons require the knowledge and skill of three very different sports. Second, the amount of time needed to train for many races amounts to a part-time job. And third, although the three different disciplines may be classified as a hobby, the three together are plural – HOBBIES! We will not even get into the whole “leisure time” part, as we realize that may cause a riot. Still a hobby?
Assuming, yes it is, there will come a point in time when it will have to be put on hold or stopped all together. And then what? We know there must be many more reasons, but here are the TriWivesClub’s
4 COMPELLING REASONS TRIATHLETES NEED A HOBBY
Something To Do If There’s An Injury…
An injured triathlete is a miserable triathlete, as so much of their world is wrapped around swim, bike, run, and fueling their bodies. And, unfortunately, as in most sports, injuries or accidents come with the territory. The chance is high with the amount of training and racing each triathlete does, that at some point, an injury or accident will happen.
But, being a triathlete means you are leading a very active lifestyle and will need something to replace all of that activity. Recently, both of our triathletes have been injured and it is not happy times. But, one thing we are grateful for is that they each had other hobbies in their pre-triathlon lives, so had something to fall back into. Carl loves to golf and David loves to fly fish and luckily, both are easy to pick up after a long time off. Just like riding a bike!
Conversations Beyond Triathlons…
True this! Hands up if you have been at a dinner party with other triathletes and you just cringe a little, because you know what will dominate the night and the conversations go way beyond training to things we don’t want to know that happen on Century rides. Or how about the opposite of being at a dinner party with a group of people who don’t do triathlons.
One of two things happen. Either triathlons still become the main topic of conversation, because someone just had to ask how was the last race and once they get started…Or your triathlete is bored, because no one wants to talk about exercise, much less triathlons and you get a sad, deflated triathlete.
They need to be fluent in more than triathlon. Triathlon should be their second language, not their first. That’s where having another hobby comes in.
Taking A Break Helps To Rejuvenate…
Honestly, from personal experience, I feel as though it is a good thing to take a break from your routine. I have found that a healthy break from what you do regularly makes you go back even stronger and love what you do even more.
For example, both of my children have hit burnout with there being nothing else in life but school and gymnastics. We actually required them to take the summers off and go to camp. Now that neither are gymnasts for different reasons, both are still athletes; Sam is a NCAA diver and Sydney is in a professional dance program in NYC. And, both still take a good portion of the summer off. They stay active and engaged in physical activity doing something outside of their chosen sports or they travel the world.
Sometimes The Family Needs A Break
The triathlon lifestyle can be very difficult for a family and the triathlete needs to be attuned to know when it has become overwhelming for the family and take action. Sometimes it’s difficult for the spouse/partner to bring this up, so it’s incumbent upon the triathlete to watch for signs of family burnout. This is the time to either find that hobby or at least know it’s time to pull back and think more sprints and olympic distance races.
Factors To Consider In Choosing A Hobby
If your triathlete is looking for a hobby, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Is the hobby accessible year around? You really don’t want to pick something that you can only do 3 months out of the year. For example, with fly fishing, David ties his own flies and has a practice rod to use inside that drives the dogs nuts. And bonus for me, you can travel anywhere in the world to fly fish. For those with a golf hobby, you can now use indoor ranges and even have putting greens at home and virtual games with golf. And much like fly fishing, the world is open to you. Both hobbies can be done solo or with others. In fact, Sherry golfs with Carl and I tag along with David while he fishes and I read, work, or just relax.
- Cost. Keep in mind that hobbies can get expensive. Make sure you and your triathlete communicate about cost and/or adjusting triathlon spend to the hobby. Because let me tell you about the “oh, a hobby doesn’t cost anything”. I think you probably have the idea about greens fees and the cost of a golf club or how much a new fishing vest is.
- Impact on the family. Think about the time and type of time this hobby will take. This is an extreme example, but the truth. I have a friend whose triathlon days were on hold, so he started to follow car racing. They lived in Florida, so he had lots of availability and races to attend, but they were all weekend long. The locations were less than desirable for family getaways, but they were just the weekends. So, his wife was happy that her husband was home in the mornings to hang with the family and get the kids off to school and there in the evenings for sports, homework, and dinner together.
I, too, have seen burnout in my triathlete, but he always goes back. Again, in no way am I a professional in this field at all. I’m just speaking from my personal experience and observation of those in my family, that tells me everyone needs a break sometimes. Triathlons will always be there if, in their heart, they’re ready to race again.
DOES YOUR TRIATHLETE HAVE ANOTHER HOBBY?
Sherry is one of the TriWivesClub and LifeDoneWell co-founders and contributes to multiple blogs. She is a former co-owner of the California Apparel News and had a career in the healthcare industry. Her passions include traveling, real food, the environment, and animal rescue/welfare. She lives a healthy lifestyle and has been a vegetarian since 1987. She and her husband are parents to two rescue pups and reside in Connecticut.