For our inaugural blog post, we want to dispel the myth that pro triathletes just train, sleep and race. We are responding to a comment we read posted in response to a Triathlete Magazine photo shoot. They thought it was discouraging to see a pro triathlete running through a park midday when everyone else was working. They then went on to proclaim the magazine should showcase more working people. It got us thinking that there is a misconception floating around as to what pro triathletes actually do during the day (we will dissect this in greater detail in or soon to be released Life of a Triathlete manuals). We do not think the comment came from a malicious place, just one of misinformation and not knowing the triathlete’s ‘daily’ job.
Triathlon is NOT one of the high tiered sports where can get paid the big bucks for winning races, promoting products, or making appearances, especially if you finish on the outside of the podium. In reality the sport is extremely popular, races sell out very fast, the average age grouper triathlete is well educated with a six figure salary, and the crowds are stupendous. The math doesn’t add up as far as race incentives but we will save that topic for another blog. The bottom line is unless you have a trust fund or are independently wealthy, the pro triathlete has to hustle like everyone else.
Meredith Kessler toiled away in the ‘real world’ for ten years before turning pro, working sixty hours a week at an investment bank plus finding the time to train. She even maintained that work schedule her first year and a half as a pro before biting the bullet and saying goodbye to her day job. There is a delicate tight-rope one walks to keep from being overwhelmed; you need to find time for friends, family, job and training or you may slip off the rope. The path to becoming a pro, for Meredith, involved intense planning and to build the foundation for a business that ensured there was enough income to live on a day to day basis. This did not come easy and still takes up the majority of her time today.
It would be nice if the life of a professional triathlete involved training in gorgeous locations, massages, eating properly prepared nutritious meals, and sleeping to your heart’s content. In the ‘real triathlete world’, you have to put in the hours training to be competitive but the rest of your time is spent working on your business which could include coaching, teaching cycling classes, building your brand, etc… Meredith spends just as many hours on the computer now as she did working 60+ hour weeks for an investment bank. The pro is still punching the clock but performing different functions as salesman, marketer, human resources, and event planner of their own business.
Triathlon is a beautiful sport. It is one of the only sports where pros compete among age groupers on the same course to try to reach the same goal…the finish line. When you are out on the course, remember everyone is enjoying the ability to race and compete, whether you are a pro or an age grouper. After the event is over, all the athletes go back to work on Monday, trying to generate income in one form or another and plan for their next wonderful race!
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