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Why you should do a triathlon with your friends

Why you should do a triathlon with your friends

Thinking of doing a triathlon? If we can do it, anyone can 

Triathlon is not just for elite athletes or fitness fanatics. It’s for anyone looking for a challenge! It’s a sport to bond with friends in a way that’s both exciting and slightly ridiculous.  

Here’s why doing a triathlon with your mates might just be the best idea you’ve ever had.  And one they might eventually thank you for! 

Context 

Hi ! I’m Olly. I work as Marketing Co-ordinator at ZONE3. That’s me in the photo above, third from the left (pausing for a team pic on our way from racking bikes in the Transition Zone to the Swim Assembly area), about to embark on my third successive Blenheim Palace Triathlon. Some of the team’s founding members have been entering Blenheim Triathlon since 2019. This year marks the 6th consecutive year at Blenheim for some. Over the years, the team has grown and evolved, by encouraging friends and family members to give it a go.   

WhatsApp Group Chat Check-Ins: The Rumor Mill 

Throughout the year leading up to the triathlon the WhatsApp group chat consists of check-ins which begin with wild rumors about who's secretly training and who’s barely moved from the sofa. These check-ins keep us connected and competitive, fueling our motivation, and serve as a great way to arrange training meet-ups, group bike rides, park runs and swim sessions.  

The Sacred Spreadsheet 

Happy smile... must have made a purchase?  Who cut the merch purch from the pic?'

After six years of sprint distance triathlon at Blenheim, we have a huge spreadsheet. We track our times, note our improvements, and argue over who really had the fastest transition. This spreadsheet isn’t just about tracking times; it’s a testament to our dedication, our progress at this distance, and our willingness to laugh at our own occasional stupidity.  It’s also has a telling tale that the years where our times are better than our average are typically those years where we trained more. 

The Preparation: Or Lack Thereof 

‘Swim assembly… and a last call’

Preparation for our annual triathlon is different for everyone. Some of us embark on structured training regimens, while others consider walking with the dog to the pub or a round of golf adequate preparation. Despite the varied approaches, the preparation phase keeps us in touch, sharing tips, tricks, golf handicaps and a lot of laughs.   

Admittedly, once you’re at the Swim Assembly point, the jibing and leg-pulling simmers down and the reality that you’re about to jump in the water gets the heart pumping.  There’s a moment to reflect: the preparation of yourself, your kit and observe the sportsmanship on display around you. Inside you’re thinking you wish you’d started training that bit earlier.   

And so the event seems to spur us into planning more group bike rides for the summer ahead, more swims at the pool and to soak up those experiences to keep fit and ‘savvy’ for going round the course the following year.  

Making sure you have the right race-day equipment does play a part in preparation, but there’s not much complexity to it: wetsuit, trisuit, bike, helmet, trainers, goggles, racebelt (very handy) and you’re good to go. If you prefer to avoid the upfront cost of buying a wetsuit, ZONE3 offers a great wetsuit rental alternative 

For those considering investing in a wetsuit, there are plenty of Open Water Swim (OWS) locations, where water quality is regularly checked that provide more great opportunities to use your wetsuit outside of race day. Open water swimming can also just be done for fun for people not training for an event. It’s another great way to socialise with people, experience the outdoors and offers physical and mental health benefits. For tips on how to do this safely read the blog on A Beginner’s Guide to OWS. 

Race Day: Pushing Equipment Boundaries  

‘Can’t see this catching on’

For our group, race day itself always sees a little something go wrong.  This year’s notable mention is forgetting to replace regular laces with elastic “transition laces” in new running shoes. 

Elastic laces save you time in transition because they make putting shoes on quicker without the faff of tying them up.  

Forgetting them led to an unexpected technical improvisation: the  "transition shoe horn".  Innovative as the idea might be “the Spreadsheet” confirmed Mick’s transition time did not benefit. The ‘new equipment test’ did however save the heel on these new running shoes from a squashing, making the added time a worthwhile sacrifice. 

Post-Race Revelry: Where the Real Fun Begins 

‘Commemorative team swim caps’

After we cross the finish line, friendly pre-race rivalry gives way to post-race revelry. 

We gather, exhausted but satisfied. The laughter is loud, the stories are exaggerated, and the camaraderie is palpable. 

Amidst the jokes, we realise that the triathlon isn’t just about physical endurance; it’s about long-lasting friendships. The shared commitment to keep going, the collective triumphs, and the endless ribbings that bring us closer together every year. 

Why We Keep Coming Back 

Sure, we could find less energy sapping ways to spend time together, but where’s the fun in that?  

Nothing says friendship like laughing at each other’s blunders and celebrating our small personal victories.  

Nothing forges stronger friendship than encouraging each other to overcome a shared adversity. 

Many people see triathlon as an individual sport, but our annual group event really highlights the fun of participating together. When you can train with friends or in a group, you’re more likely to get out and do it, it’s accountability, it’s time well spent and it’s a great deal of fun.  

Striving to improve your splits each year is addictive, and the sport offers a great opportunity to visit and participate in events around the UK or even abroad!  

What’s Holding You Back? 

You’re thinking of doing a triathlon? Don’t let fear or lack of training hold you back. If we can do it, anyone can. And who knows, you might just find that, like us, you’re in it not just for the race, but for the camaraderie and the unforgettable memories. Just remember to bring a sense of humor—and probably ok to leave the transition shoe horn at home,  Mick tried that one for you. 

Better still, maybe we’ll see you training with your mates on your personal “Journey to Blenheim 2025”  

Be sure to say “Hello!” 

‘They’ve got matching Trisuits!’

#WYBZONE3

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