Remember Don Quixote? He was this guy who imagined this mighty quest ahead of him. I think triathlon, especially amateur triathlon is like that. There is no one forcing you to get on this quest. There is no one pushing you to continue this quest. However, the quest is still there and is still looming out ahead. If you can grasp this quest in your life then it will especially be rewarding.
Some triathletes are simply in it for a once a year thrill. Others are in it to resurrect some far gone athletic hope. For others, it is a quest to get to Kona, Hawaii to the World Championships. Yet others want to try and win their local triathlon. Whatever your quest is, hopefully, your motivation will continue to spur you on toward your quest.
How do you complete or at least show progress on your quest is the big question. Here are some suggestions:
Every triathlete needs to build endurance. It doesn't matter whether you are competing in a Sprint Triathlon or an Ironman distance triathlon, you need endurance. Each year you can build further endurance. Start with using some exercises and training regiments that get you to train in your zone 2 or zone 3 range. You will need to bike, run, and swim in this range to increase your endurance. Each year, you can improve your race performance by increasing your endurance.
A lot of triathletes only do swimming, biking, and running. The continued training load will make you stronger, but you can also do strength exercises in the gym to make yourself stronger. These exercises should be race specific. You will want to build your shoulders and lats for extra full in the swim. You will want to build your leg power for biking and running. You will want to increase your flexibility as well to increase your strength. If you get 1% stronger in the offseason this will translate to minutes in the race season.
The information in triathlon is always increasing. There is more information about triathlon today then there was a year ago and especially 20 years ago. There are constant developments in training routines and training regimens. Nutrition is always on the move in terms of getting better. The information is limitless. There is so much information, you can easily get overwhelmed. I encourage listening to 1 podcast, subscribing to 1 magazine (USA Triathlon), reading 1 blog at a time, and reading 1 training book. If you do more than this you can get confused and overwhelmed as everyone is using different data. Get smarter on one particular type of training and you see the extra benefit in your outcomes.
Each successive year of triathlon should be more enjoyable and fun than the last. You are getting stronger, you have more endurance, and you are getting smarter. Because of your efforts, triathlon should be more fun. Always remember to have fun. If it is no longer fun, then find something else to do.
After all, no one is forcing you on this quest, Don Quixote!