The triathlon celebrates athletes of all ages.
It's an inclusive sport where at any given race, you'll see twenty-somethings, baby boomers and grandparents stepping up to the podium to accept their age-group awards. With each age group, however, athletes face different challenges.
Here, we asked triathletes at various stages of their lives to share their biggest challenges and how they've managed to conquer them.
The Age: Your 20s
The Challenge: Juggling a triathlon with a new career
You're transitioning from college life to the working world, and trying to fit training into your hectic schedule. Your friends want you to join them for happy hour, but your race is coming up.
Such is the story of a typical twenty-something triathlete. You don't necessarily have to sacrifice your social life, but preparing for race day takes dedication and serious planning.
"Making time for workouts with work and other things can be tricky," says Mike Espejo, a 27-year-old from Boston. "So I schedule my workouts in my planner as they are appointments. That way, I can make sure I follow through since I'll hold myself accountable."
The Age: Your 30s
The First Challenge: Balancing the demands of training and family
Many 30-somethings in the sport are trying to find the delicate balance between being a dedicated spouse and parent and being a great triathlete. Among those who shine in all three, there seems to be a common theme: Get up, and get it done.
"Training in the morning is key to my success. I start my day at 4:15 a.m., and I have time for a two-hour workout before heading to work.," says Karla Kaschub, a 36-year-old two-time Ironman athlete from Chicago. "It makes me sharper, more efficient, and more patient, and after work, I have time to spend with my family."