Today when I was on the phone to a friend of mine, he gave me an analogy that I found incredibly powerful.
Imagine a ship sitting on a vast ocean. By itself it is subject to the currents, the wind and will ultimately get pushed around without direction until it is lost.
Take that same boat and moor it to something stable. The boat will get pulled; it will get pushed. The tide will raise the boat and lower the boat but at all times the boat has something keeping it in place.
Spoiler alert! In this little story, we are the boat. Each and every one of us. I see so many athletes out there who are currently floating around without direction. Some people have walked away from their training, some people have walked away from the sport and there are even people who are burying themselves by training like they have Kona next week. The point is, at the moment there is a lot of uncertainty. These are tough times for a lot of us and for many of us, we cannot see where we are being pushed or where the current is taking us.
I continue to write articles about this because I really think it is true, for me at least, triathlon is what I have moored my boat to.
There have been some amazing things happen over the past few months but there have also been some really horrible things. I am sure that most people have experienced some sort of uncertainty, inconvenience, fear or other negative experience since the start of this year. For me, there are times where I can feel completely overwhelmed or frustrated.
Then I get on my bike, go for a run or jump in the pool and suddenly it all melts away. My attention is no longer on everything that is going on at the moment. I am not worried about all of the challenges I am facing in the rest of my life. I am focused on my power, or my technique or my heart rate and before I know it, I am not feeling like I was before.
For me, training has become the one constant that I have had over the last few months. It has become the source of stability in an increasingly unstable world. I am not training because I have a big race coming up. I am not training because I am trying to qualify for a race or beat a PB. I am training because I love it. I love how being active makes me feel. I love how it takes my mind off everything else that is going on in the world. I love that for those precious hours I am not carrying the burden that I am becoming alarmingly familiar with.
When things get hard, it is natural for many of us to pull away or spend more time isolated. I have received emails from people saying that they just need to spend some time figuring everything out, or that they have nothing to aim for and are struggling for motivation.
Triathlon is more than just racing. Triathlon is a lifestyle that will endure beyond any global pandemic. Whether you are feeling overwhelmed or need to take a break from training to get yourself centred, there is something incredible about the triathlon community. I have heard stories of some of my tri friends going out of their way to help other triathletes who are struggling. I am blown away by some of the stories I have heard from our MX Endurance buddy system with people from all over the planet who have never met being there to support each other and hold each other accountable or even just check and see if they're ok.
All this shows me that by mooring your boat to triathlon, no matter how overwhelming, hopeless or uncertain things may seem for you at the moment, you have something holding you in place.
If you are looking for a way to stay connected to the sport regardless of your level or current schedule, MX Endurance has a membership option for you and a community of athletes and professionals waiting to give you safe harbour.
Tim Ford is the CEO of MX Endurance and a member of our team of coaches. He has gone from being a complete novice weighing well over 120kg to a top athlete with a 4:06 PB for a 70.3. Through his time in the sport he has learned skills which help him to assist athletes of all levels and abilities.