By Philip Hauserman
After seven seasons of swimming, biking, and running, I’ve come to realize that triathlon truly is a team sport
2015 was a great season for me. I PRed every distance I raced, including two big A races – Chattanooga 70.3 and Ironman Chattanooga. Neither build up was without its challenges, but the last big training block before Ironman number four packed the biggest challenge of all – injury. Training had been going great. I was hitting all my key workouts, my body was responding better than ever to the increased workload, and my mind was in the right place.
Riding a jet ski six weeks before your big race is probably not the smartest idea in the world – especially if you have a history of back problems. After two hours of zooming all over the lake, I couldn’t stand up. My back was completely locked up. I basically looked like Ms. Potts (you know, the teapot in Beauty and the Beast) with my right arm on my right hip and my left arm out to the side to maintain balance. The resulting 11-day layoff helped put things into perspective.
Mrs. Pots from Beauty and the Beast. And what I looked like in mid-August.
I realized something that almost all triathletes inherently know but sometimes forget to take the time to fully appreciate: we get to train, race, and enjoy this lifestyle because of the team of people around us. And most of these folks care more about our safety and enjoyment of sport than they do about the time
on our Garmin.
In my experience, here are six team members that every athlete training for an endurance event should always have in their corner:
1) Family – Training for long distance races is not possible without the support of your family. I’m still
learning how to balance being the best husband and father I can be while still doing the things I enjoy, but I can tell you that having a spouse who supports you makes it that much easier. As I’m sure my wife will agree, waking up at 3:30 am on race day to carry a bike pump, equipment, and various pieces of
clothing (not to mention watching Emma for the better part of an entire day) is nothing compared to sacrificing eight months’ worth of her Saturday mornings so I can go ride my bike. And I’m fairly certain that my parents had much better things to do than babysit so I could get in a midweek swim.
2) Local bike shop – If you’re like me, you have no idea how to fix a bike without making the problem worse. But even if you’re MacGyver with an allen wrench, you will always need the expertise of a reliable bike shop. From bike fit to tune up, Matt and his team at Podium Multisport are always there to make sure everything is dialed in and running smooth.
3) Friends and teammates – Triathlon is a fun sport. But it can also be a lonely sport. Trust me, being on a team or just having a group of friends to train with or talk to makes swimming, biking, and running
that much more fun! My teammates at Podium Multisport helped me mentally just as much as they did physically this year.
Team Podium at the start of Ironman Chattanooga
4) Coach – Many triathletes I know benefit from having a coach lay out their training plan from day one. There is absolutely a benefit to having your entire week’s workouts emailed to you Sunday evening. That would sure save me a lot of time! Coaches know when to push and when to pull back. They know that junk miles don’t do anything but get you hurt, which is something this self-coached athlete has learned from trial and error and the occasional kick in the ass from his wife.
5) Physical Therapist – We all get aches and pains, but some are harder to get rid of than others. This past year I worked very closely with Kate Edwards of Precision Performance to address and prevent injuries that commonly result from overuse, muscle imbalances, or improper technique – as well as injuries inflicted by jet skis.
6) Massage Therapist – In addition to working full time jobs, taking care of our families, and managing all of our other responsibilities, long training hours beat up our bodies on a weekly basis. I didn’t start going to Corey Dobyns at Core Balance and Wellness until after I turned into Ms. Potts, but I am now a firm believer in regular massage. Corey literally worked the spasms out of my back, the soreness out of
my legs, and the injury anxiety out of my mind.
So yes, while I was the only person wearing bib number 1718 on race day, I had an entire team of people wearing it with me.
Me with my wife, Ashley, and daughter, Emma
Who’s on your team?