Three things Adults can Learn from a Kids Triathlon

Have you ever participated or witnessed a Kids Triathlon? It’s quite the experience. For you “hard core” athletes, it’s also a breath of fresh air. (I say hard core in quotations because I think this is completely dependent on what you consider to be hardcore. So for the sake of being on the same page, let’s define it here as: the active individual who thrives on competition, winning, or pushing their limits. Limits? What limits?)

This past weekend I led warm up sessions at the OC Kids Triathlon held at Costa Mesa High School. In reverse order to traditional triathlons, these kids ran, cycled, and swam their hearts out. To prep them for the three unique movements required in this race, we moved through a dynamic warmup with rotation, arm movement, jumping, and then some. Yet for me, the real experience was seeing these #futureolympians (one of my favorite hashtags) compete in the race!

Whether you call yourself a weekend warrior, professional athlete, lover of watching sports, athlete, yogi, traveler, or #futureolympian, you will benefit from these lessons learned at the OC Kids Triathlon 2014:

For all those who have said “I can’t do a Triathlon because I don’t have the right bike or equipment” (myself included):

oc Kids TriYou just don’t think you have the right equipment or bike. And yes, you’re using this as an excuse. I mean, why can’t we do a triathlon just for fun? And then if we get more serious about it, commit to finding a quicker bike on the road. By the way, if you want to give yourself a really intense physical challenge, using a bike cruiser or a mountain bike will be way more demanding on the body than a proper road bike with all the fixings. Just saying.

**Add a vibrant and furry seat cover for bonus points.

For most adults, we make things pretty complicated…

I respect that many of us are competitive folk – hardcore – yet it’s still pretty hilarious how methodical we can be about our warm up. I put on my favorite playlist that starts slow and inspiring (the score from Gladiator) and speeds up with electronic awesome beats (the score from Tron), 10 minutes of light yogging, 2 minutes dynamic movements, 6 rounds of sprints, go to the bathroom in a port-a-potty (awesome), eat my favorite pre-race energy gel pack (Vega), get in a few more rounds of dynamic movements followed by calming movements, and then I keep jumping around because standing still feels weird. I’m ready! If that’s not complicated enough, we start the race at a strategic pace we know we can maintain for the well-rehearsed mileage (I know the route like the back of my hand – save some gas for the last 10% incline), followed by our 110% in the last 100 yards. We made it! Ya, after a poop load (literally) of mental planning and physical maintenance. What would happen if we just raced for fun? Gasp!

*Because I don’t know your personal experience of training / racing / competing, I recognize this may not speak to you. Yet if you are the competitive sort, I highly recommend trying out a new race and doing it “just for fun”. See what happens. You never know what you may learn about yourself. And then feel free to get back to your competitive routine.

** Hopefully you also know that I am not saying that young athletes only compete for fun. Each young individual is unique in their ambitions and goals. Yet I’ve noticed most young folk have a lightness to how they take on any challenges and release stress. I am merely making a general observation to how these kids prepare, compete, and recover.

Kids Tri PicBe fit enough to go all out and still have energy for play time

After many adults run / cycle / swim / paddle through the finish line with as much gusto as they can muster, we sit on our bums the rest of the day with a beer in our hands (we deserve it, right?) and barely move. Maybe it’s out of fatigue, maybe it’s because we think we deserve these hours of lethargic behavior. Be forewarned, we probably wake up sore & stiff the next day too….which can have a lot to do with the whole barely-moving-the-rest-of-the-day-and-drinking-beer-at-the-same-time thing. Wow, that was a lot of -‘s.

My personal favorite experience of this was running a half marathon in Marlborough, New Zealand as a part of AYT’s 15 Days & 15 Ways to Sweat, where we received a bottle of wine at the finish line. Marlborough is a major wine region after all, so why wouldn’t I enjoy the after-race picnic on the vineyard, followed by an afternoon of wine tasting at local vineyards? Yep, I do it, too. I’d like to reiterate, however, that we cycled to these vineyards…I would also like to confess that it took only a couple minutes to reach each vineyards. Hey, it was movement none-the-less, right?

NZ TriPicThank you again to all the young athletes of the OC Kids Triathlon for teaching us silly, hardcore folk how to get the most out of every experience (and still have enough energy for a dance party of our choice).

So what race would you compete in…just for fun??

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Great success!