Sunday, July 11, 2010

Triathlete or Runner?

My Daily Mile profile has really started to make me think about how I should label myself as an athlete.  I know labels are just something we use to describe ourselves and don't really define us as a person, but they are there for a purpose.  When I talk about myself, and let's face it, anyone who blogs likes to talk about themselves, I never really know how to narrow my endurance profile down to one word.   Am I a triathlete or a runner? 

To me, a triathlete is someone who only runs because they have to and never really truly appreciates the sport.  They dread the run portion of their day and only do it because it's a necessary evil to finish a race.  They also love biking.  It is their go-to workout if they don't know what to do that day.  They enjoy the miles on the open road and will do whatever it takes to ride, even if it means missing a run.  When they are injured, they can often focus on another discipline and be content.  They also enjoy swimming and hot weather which is insane.  Their racing season revolves around warm weather and sun.  To that end, a lot of these do not accurately describe me.  I am a triathlete in the sense that I have completed an Olympic distance race.  I also consider myself a triathlete because my training schedule is currently focused on marathon training with an Ironman base-building flair.  I bike and swim regularly because I know I have to keep those disciplines strong if I want to make  my Ironman dreams a reality.

Now, a runner is someone who runs and can't imagine doing anything else.  They dread cross-training and view it only as a nuisance.  They would rather be running than doing anything else in the world.  They get cranky if they miss their runs and often will lie to make sure they have time to run.  Their training schedule consists of 5 run days, 1 stupid cross-training day, and 1 rest day (maybe).  Runners hate heat.  They love the cool, crisp temps in the spring and fall that make runs seem almost heavenly.  Runners would go into hibernation in the summer except for the fact most are running fall marathons that require the dreaded 4 AM summer runs.  Their racing season revolves around moderate temperatures.  The thought of temperatures above 65 make it a less-than-perfect race day.  When a runner gets injured, it's like you stole their dog, talked bad about their mother, and peed in their cereal.  They are miserable and will make sure you know they are too.  Without running they are incomplete.   Lastly, most runners dread swimming.  They swim because it's good for them, not because it's enjoyable.  A lot of these describe me and that's why I continue to label myself as a runner on my Daily Mile profile.  Triathletes are good people, but I think I will keep my runner label until I become an Ironman.      


  1. Interesting. You could go with "endurance athlete" to cover all your bases...

  2. Interesting, I will say, when a triathlete is injuried, they are NOT "content" with just re focusing their training, luckly a triathlete has that option, like you said "When a runner gets injured, it's like you stole their dog, talked bad about their mother, and peed in their cereal. They are miserable and will make sure you know they are too. Without running they are incomplete" Luckly triathletes dont have to get that low when they are injuried, they can still go out and get in training.

  3. Thanks for the comments guys! I like endurance athlete. It's more accurate these days. I guess no one ever really is content when injured. It is a nice luxury of multi-sport training. I will say the tri community around here is very inviting to new athletes. They love the new folks getting involved.