I was recently invited to join iAmTri.com, a social networking site for triathletes.
Which raises the question, what is the value of these kinds of social networking sites for triathletes?
Here are a few benefits of these types of social networking sites for triathletes…
Many of these tri sites provide an arena for triathletes to group together and converse about a specific niche interest or area of triathlon.
For example, on iAmTri.com you have group options such as:
- Triathlete Singles
- Vegetarian Triathletes
- Type 1 (Diabetic) Triathletes
Any member is free to start a group based on their specific interest.
So, let’s say you are a vegetarian, and you decide to take up the sport of triathlon. By joining the Vegetarian Triathlete group, you can draw upon the knowledge and experience of other vegetarian triathletes. Perhaps you’re wondering about vegetarian alternatives to sports nutrition, you post a question about it in the group and off you go.
Or perhaps you are a diabetic and want to get into the sport of triathlon. It might be helpful to interact with folks in the Diabetic Triathlete group.
Another benefit of social networking sites specific to triathletes is the opportunity to gather information about specific races and their venues, which you plan to compete in.
For example, as I was preparing for the Atomic Man Half Ironman, I inquired on a tri site if anyone had ever done that race before. Indeed there were some folks who had, and they had some helpful information and tips specific to that event.
Because the bike ride was so hilly, one person suggested that I at least drive the course in my car prior to the race to get a good feel for the course and where the big hills were. Especially in the case of longer distance triathlons such as a half Ironman or full Ironman, it can be helpful to interact with others who have previously done the specific race you plan on competing in.
Though triathlon Internet sites often offer a glut of information about training and competing in triathlons, some of the information isn’t that good.
It’s important to carefully weigh and evaluate the personal opinions and preferences that get tossed out in discussion forums and blogs on triathlon Internet sites.
- Just because Kevin in Kalamazoo hasn’t had a day off in 3 years doesn’t mean you should do the same.
- Coach Connie may think everyone should focus on biking in the off-season, but that may not be the best decision for you.
- Ironman Andy may have a home remedy for your chronic shoulder pain, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have it checked out by a professional sports doctor.
Before a new triathlete begins absorbing the gobs of triathlon information on the Internet, I would encourage you to lay a basic foundation of understanding by reading The Triathletes Training Bible by Joe Friel, and Triathlete Magazine’s Complete Triathlon Book by Matt Fitzgerald.
Though sometimes I share some of my own personal triathlon experiences here, The Fun Times Guide to Triathlons focuses on researching relevant topics to training and competing in triathlons, and providing the best and most substantiated information possible — even if it means presenting opposing views on a specific topic. The goal is to equip you with quality information so you can decide what’s best for you and your training or how to get started in the sport of triathlon.
Time Well Spent
In the end, only you can decide if the time you invest participating in a triathlete website is worth it or not.
On the one hand, it’s nice when an Internet triathlete friend sends you a word of encouragement or congratulations about a specific triathlon event you are planning to do or you recently successfully competed.
On the other hand, how much emotional energy do you want to expend being concerned about some guy in Idaho who has a slight groin strain the day before his big race?
For me, I have found that being involved in a local triathlon club has made this type of mutual encouragement and support more meaningful and valuable. You can decide what is most enjoyable and helpful for you.
Internet Resources For The Sport Of Triathlon
TriFind.com – A comprehensive calendar for triathlon events.
USAtriathlon.org – The official governing body of triathlon in the U.S.
TriathleteMag.com – Triathlete Magazine website.
TriRadar.com – Various reviews of triathlon gear.
Online Triathlon Gear Shopping Sites
I’m over 40 years old, but I don’t give up easily. It wasn’t too long ago that I was exploring the idea of doing my first triathlon. If I can do it, you can too! I'm proof that with a little determination and training, you can get a great deal of fulfillment participating in marathons, triathlons… even ultramarathons.