Sporting Past: The Benefits

New to triathlon or taking on new challenges in the off-season? Find out how your other sporting loves can impact on your triathlon progress.

by Jacqueline Wadsworth.

rowing triathlon
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Susan McCann rowed in a coxed four for Sons of the Thames, at Hammersmith, in the 1980s. Her interest in triathlon began when she worked in Bermuda for a year.

Benefits: Rowing demands incredible fitness if you’re going to be successful. My crew’s training schedule was full of running, circuit training, and hard sessions on the rowing machine, so I was well prepared to train for three disciplines. Rowing also prepared me for the open water - you can’t have any fear when you’re sitting in a rather flimsy boat in the middle of a deep, dark river.

Baggage: In triathlon you have to get used to motivating and pushing yourself as there's no cox telling you what to do. It’s so much easier to obey someone else’s instructions, even if it hurts, than to make yourself dig deep when it would be far easier to stop!

Biggest difference: When I took up the solo sport of triathlon, it was a relief not to have the group politics you get when part of a small team – arguments over who’s catching crabs, who’s not putting in the training.

 Verdict: Very helpful. On face of it rowing and triathlon have little in common, but I can’t think of a sport which would have prepared me better for the rigours of training for multi-sport. The Olympic rower James Cracknell may agree – he’s been very successful at triathlon.

Picture credit: Gandee Vasan/ Getty Images

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Discuss this article

sqush is a great game, nearly as good as running.
Posted: 02/02/2012 at 20:20

sqush is a great game, nearly as good as running.
Posted: 02/02/2012 at 20:20

is that the noise you make running in the snow or having sex in a bath of angel delight
Posted: 02/02/2012 at 21:28

I thought that said "Squishy is game"...
Posted: 03/02/2012 at 08:00

I was a squash player who turned to Triathlon for fitness, now its Triathlon that's my main sport and only play squash in the winter months, the extra fitness and stamina has made me a better squash player even though I have a 6 month break each year!!

Posted: 13/02/2012 at 12:19

I used to be a cross-country runner, but suffered ankle and achilles injuries so I turned to cycling to give me a new challenge and someone said why don't you try triathlon? That got me thinking...a poor swimmer, good runner, not bad cyclist could really improve overall if I really worked on my swimming. Definitely think that the benefits of my running past are good as you get a feel for how far you can push yourself.  Bring on the triathlon!
Posted: 16/02/2012 at 20:24

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