When training for a triathlon, the athlete really needs to devote the majority of their time and energy (both physical and mental) to training. The amount of training that goes into a triathlon is unfathomable, and those athletes are so intensely dedicated. So kudos to all those pros or wannabe pros out there busting their butts day-in and day-out. You’re the real MVP.

However, there are trade-offs to consider. Constantly evaluating the opportunity costs is the name of the game; adjusting fluidly when necessary, listening to your body closer than ever before. Do I spend an hour swimming, or do I go grocery shopping? Do I value my training higher than nutrition? How do I feel today? Sluggish? Need more food, more sleep, less cardio. Too energetic? I could use a good brick workout to take the wind out of my sails a bit.

Having decisions focused solely on triathlon training sounds like a dream come true. If only you had to decide between nutrition and training. But alas, the vast majority of us are not pros, and we carry full-time jobs and personal commitments on top of that. Truly dedicating yourself to triathlon means putting a lot of other pleasurable things on hold. No more happy hours, no more late night Netflix sessions (ok maybe a few), no more crappy food that does nothing for your body’s nutrient needs.

So why would anyone choose to wake up early to punish their bodies and stretch their capabilities? Well, because I’m pretty sure triathletes are insane.

I recently made the decision, the very conscious and painful decision, to participate in a half Ironman next year. 70.3 miles total, and infinitely more training than I performed this last season. I feel shockingly unready for it, and my goal honestly scares me. It’s almost unimaginable for me at this point. But, the only way you grow is if you challenge your abilities, right?  So, needless to say, I’ll be making a lot of trade-offs this next year in favor of triathlon training, just so I can taste that sweet victory at the finish line.

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