When I tell people I race triathlons, people almost always ask “So have you done an Ironman™?” quickly followed by “s0 when are you going to do an Ironman™?” It seems that Ironman™, thanks largely to the ingenious and massively successful marketing campaign of the WTC, has become the bench mark for all things triathlon. The m-dot logo is everywhere that you go from that Timex watch on your wrist to the person’s calf right next to you. Triathlon and Ironman have practically become synonymous, and consequently, in many people’s mind you are not a real triathlete until you have done one. Well, I hate to break it to you (and yes I mean you Mr. Ironman bumper sticker, m dot branded athlete), there are other distances besides 140.6.
There is nothing wrong with doing these other distances. Personally I think going sub 2 in an Olympic is just as amazing and inspiring as going sub 10 in an Ironman. Now don’t get me wrong, the Ironman distance is a major achievement but just because it is such an undertaking does not discredit the other distances.
Moreover, some of the best triathletes, are not only good at the IM distance but they are also incredibly fast at sprint, olympic, 70.3 and everything in between; they are diverse and versatile in their racing. This ability is partially what makes them great.
While I love the Half distance, I occasionally will throw an Olympic. Here’s why:
- They do not break down and stress your body as much allowing for quicker recovery and a faster return to normal training
- You can race more frequently
- Shorter races are cheaper-No $700 price tag just to enter
- They only take a morning leaving the rest of the day to hang with the family
- Do not take as much time to prepare for. Average weekly training times for an Olympic distance rarely exceeds 10 hours
- The intensity is greater: You can “red line” your effort from beginning to end and if you bonk at mile 6 at least you know that you are only .2 away from the finish.
- More racing venues: Compared to Ironman, which only has one or two races a weekend, there are hundred of local Olympic races every weekend.
- They are simpler to plan for-No need for elaborate nutrition and pacing plans.
- Perfect tune ups for “A” races
- They are fun (not to say that any other race is not)
What are you waiting for? Go out and race one!