Three's the Magic Number

Lots of good things are related to the number three. Triple chocolate cookies, for example. Or the three wishes granted by a genie. And then, of course, there’s triathlon. The fact that triathlon involves three different disciplines is the reason I initially gave it a try. I was intrigued because it seemed like both a way to challenge myself and an opportunity to expand on one of my favorite activities (running). Now that I’ve completed several triathlons, I still find the multi-sport nature of this activity to be one of its most exciting aspects. Here’s why.


  1. A more varied training regime. There’s something appealing about being able to train in three different sports. It affords a fuller body workout, breaks up the week and makes for a more entertaining season.

  2. Less chance of injury. Some of the less sport-inclined members of my family are often on my case about how hard running is on the body (I’m still trying to convince them to read Christopher McDougall’s Born to Run). I don’t agree, but having experienced some injuries in the past, think that training in different areas helps reduce this risk or on the flipside, lets me continue my endurance training if I do experience any pain from a particular motion.

  3. Opportunity to build cross-community connections. As a triathlete, I have been (and am) on triathlon-focused teams but have also joined groups that specialize in either running, swimming or biking. For example, I do some of my recovery runs with a casual run club in Calgary and participate in a coached swim through the Kronos Triathlon Club. This has helped me learn from experts in each discipline and introduced me to people I wouldn’t have otherwise met who have now become close friends.

  4. Everyone has a forte! Most of the triathletes I know can quickly tell you their weakest and strongest legs of a race. I see my strongest part of the race as my secret advantage. I always look forward to the run and find it motivating to know that I can excel in that area (even if I ended up a bit behind on the swim).

  5. Finishing a race is extra rewarding. Crossing the finish line having completed not just one, but three activities brings with it a sense of personal accomplishment I haven’t experienced in anything else. I can always find something about the race I’m proud of, whether it is a new personal best in one of the legs, a smooth transition, or improved overall time.  If you haven’t already, I encourage you to triple your fun by giving this sport a try. Before you know it, you’ll have been at it for three years...thirty years...or maybe more!

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Courtenay Smart is a T1Triathlon High Performance athlete.  She has been competing for T1Triathlon since October 2016.