Monday, November 2, 2009

Lifestyle

Some months ago I was reading a piece in Runner’s World (!) and in it, Marty Liquori explained the reason why his training group lived in Gainesville, FL: It was a cheap place to live, with good weather year-round and decent places to run. And I immediately thought, how many pro triathletes would be caught dead in Gainesville, let alone live there?

I coach athletes that live in Alabama and Louisiana. When they mention that, they might as well have said they lived in Iraq or Afghanistan, given the scorn they receive from other triathletes. It seems that in our sport, unless you are living in Boulder, San Diego or Tucson, you are a loser. If you can’t live in one of those places, then at least it needs to be a place with at least one Whole Foods (Boulder has FOUR!) and several independently owned coffee shops populated with thick-frame glasses hipsters and fixies. All this because, in triathlon, the established culture tells you that living the lifestyle is more important than performing. Living the lifestyle is more important than winning.

But let’s face it, unless your name is Matt Reed or Laura and Greg Bennett, or you work 60 hours a week or you’re independently wealthy, you can’t afford to live the “cool” lifestyle. If you coach a few athletes and you’re spending more money traveling to races than winning in prize-money, you can’t afford to live the lifestyle. And you end up having to make options in order to live the lifestyle. You compromise and every day you’re further away from your goals.

There is a lifestyle culture in triathlon that is detrimental to (high) performance. Because it tells you that being cool and living in the right place is more important than doing what it takes to be successful, to win races. But one thing I’ve come to realize, not every elite athlete is interested in winning, which is somewhat puzzling. The subject for a future blog.

8 comments:

Zach Ruble said...

Hey we agree on this one :-). And Central Florida is a good place to be if you ask me.

Jot said...

When did Tucson become "high rent"?

Boulder and SD are, but Tucson?

-Jot

Sharon said...

I don't think any of those areas are conducive to training. Give me central Cal (San Luis Obispo any day) but who can afford that. The best place to train is at home.

Sharon said...

I don't think any of those areas are conducive to training. Give me central Cal (San Luis Obispo any day) but who can afford that. The best place to train is at home.

Dave said...

Tucson does have good weather all year round from what I've heard.
Not a spot that has great weather - but hosts the Canadian National Training Centre - Victoria, BC. Simon Whitfield and Dave Reid used to be neighbours I believe out there. And apparently some good coffee spots...

Dave said...

Good lord - what the hell am I thinking? 'Peter' Reid. Not Dave Reid. (delusions of grandeur?)

Barry said...

Yes, Alabama sucks!lol

You can just about pick any degree weather you want to run in on a particular day. 30 in the morning to 60 and 70 most days. And, it takes all of about 3 minutes to get out of town and hit miles of roads where there is almost no traffic. But lets keep that a secret!

Alicia Parr said...

"...not every elite athlete is interested in winning..."

True if you define winning as _winning races_. I know, I know...who would be so literally obtuse as that?

Joking aside, the "win" might be "escaping corporate cube-dom" and "living the dream."

Just an observation from edges of amateur elite athletics.