Back in the day (well like 5 years ago), I was one of ‘those’ people. Those super fit crazy freaks who thought nothing of getting up at 5am every day of the week and spending 10-20 hours a week training for a sport that involved a lot of pain and suffering come race day. Yes, that’s right, I was a triathlete.
On this weekend just gone, some 1300 of my former peers went for a gentle trot around the town of Busselton – a trot that would take the fastest of them around 8 hours and the slowest (or as I like to call them, the most enduring) 17 hours. Yes that’s right – 17 hours. Ack.
While I myself have never fallen prey to the siren call of that ridiculous event called “Ironman Triathlon”, the weekend’s race did make me stop and reflect. Where I used to spend a disproportionate amount of time swimming, cycling and running, now I spend a disproportionate amount of time reading, writing and tweeting. This of course got me thinking about all the ways that blogging is like triathlon.
1. Triathletes love newbies
I’ve played a lot of sports in my time and common to most is the fact that you have to prove yourself before you are ‘accepted’ into the community. Not so with triathlon. As a newbie triathlete you will have an entire community of people falling over themselves to share their training knowledge, lend you a wetsuit or even a bike and provide massive encouragement. Triathletes LOVE it when someone new takes up their sport.
So too with blogging. There is a big community of established bloggers who LOVE it when other people take up blogging. They are there to advise about how to get started (just do it!), whether you should go with Blogger or WordPress, which are the best plugins and what memes are great for finding new blogs and meeting other bloggers.
2. Triathletes are really nice people
I may be a little biased as pretty much all my friends are people I met through triathlon or running, but again, having played many sports in my time, I am yet to come a group of people who are, as a whole, so nice. In triathlon we may all be competing against each other on the day, but both on AND off the track, triathletes love to cheer each other on and celebrate each other’s accomplishments.
Bloggers as a cohort are lovely people too. Maybe it because if you want to be a blogger, you need to be engaging and have a desire to help people. I have met so many incredibly lovely people through blogging, it sheer blows my mind! And the way that the blogging community gets behind their own is something to behold.
3. Triathletes have a language all to themselves
In the triathlon world, you need to be able to talk about heart rates and intervals and bricks and cadence and doing 5x1km leaving on 6 mins. This is the stuff that makes the eyes of the non-triathlon people in your life just glaze over.
I can hear the bloggers nodding their heads from here. There is nothing more fun for another blogger than to be able to talk with other bloggers – people that know what Feedburner and a widget and a meme are. People that don’t need you to explain what BLOGGING is!
4. Triathlon takes up a lot of time
For the better part of ten years I trained 2-3 hours a day, 7 days a week. There were no days off and there was little or no ‘off-season’. Those people who trained the hardest generally came out on top. In addition to swimming, riding and running, there was also recovery and physio and massage and all the millions of things you did to keep your body going.
Nowadays blogging takes up 2-3 hours a day, 7 days a week – because blogging is not just about writing! Blogging involves reading other blogs, writing comments, tweeting, facebooking, meeting with other bloggers, meeting with brands, tweaking your blog design, pimping your blog … the list goes on!
5. Triathlon’s rewards are quite intangible
I competed at a fairly high level for a number of years and the rewards for racing well were seldom monetary in nature. I didn’t care because the simple joy of racing well and watching my hard work result in improvement was all the reward I needed. I loved the friendships I made and the relationships I formed – most of which endure even though I have been out of the sport for 5 years.
The same is true with blogging. Sometimes it is hard to justify the amount of time I spend doing all the things that go hand in hand with blogging. But the joy I get when I write something I am proud of and also, just the simple joy of having an outlet for my writing is worth more than its weight in goal.
So what about you? Did you use to do something else extremely time consuming and find you have swapped it for blogging?