For those of us who have kids, we have all heard the phrase “It takes a village” to raise them properly. Neighbors helping neighbors with things like driving to school, practices and other things so that the entire day is not spent carting kids around eases some of the burden. The same can be said about being a triathlete!
Triathlon is an individual sport, but there are MANY people that contribute to an athlete’s success in the sport. Triathletes spend hours training each week, and therefore depend on family members to help with things around the house like cooking, cleaning and other things that need to get done. Without the support of our families, especially for triathletes with children, our success would not be possible!
Others also contribute to the success of the triathlete: coaches, dieticians, physical therapists, sponsors, and teammates. All of these individuals provide different things to the athlete, allowing him/her to get to the start line healthy and ready to compete.
Coaches provide the training and guide the athlete on their journey. I recently saw a statement from a boxing coach that summed up my belief in how coaching is different: “Training affects your body; coaching affects your life.” Coaches provide more than just workouts -- they assess the physical and mental well-being of the athlete, taking a holistic approach to optimize performance.
Dieticians work with the athlete to ensure that their body is properly fueled during training and racing. Nutrition failures lead to sub-optimal performance and the inability to reach one’s full potential! Sports dieticians understand human performance and how the body reacts to the stress of training, and the needs of the athlete.
Physical Therapists (PTs) work with the athlete both before an injury occurs to develop plans to strengthen the body, but also assist if an injury occurs. PTs help athletes to develop strength programs to ensure overall fitness, and work the accessory muscles that we, as triathletes, often do not utilize enough in our training regimen. They also work with injured athletes to rehabilitate injuries to increase movement and decrease pain.
Teammates provide support both on and off the field of play! In social settings teammates allow us to unwind and have fun, and during training push us to be a better athlete, thus furthering our success in the sport.
This is the time of year when I reflect on my season and feel grateful for the “village” that has helped me through the season! First and foremost, I am most thankful for my family’s support during the season. I absolutely love having them with me at races! I also want to thank my Coach, Nate, and the other coaches (Brad & Alison) on our team, as well as my sports dietician, Janet, for the support in 2021. The team of PTs at @Made2Move have been wonderful and helped me both recover from injury and stay strong during the season. My teammates at Axes & CTMC pushed me in training, but more importantly provided friendship outside of triathlon. And finally, thank you to the sponsors that support Axes and CTMC and provide us with the “goods” to perform at a high level!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!