It’s time for Piper to go back to basics – find out why she fell in love with our sport of swim, bike and run.

This is so much harder than I thought it was going to be.

I’ve been following the Box-Tick Method as outlined in my last post, and trying to just be consistent and turn up. But the truth is: this is going to take a lot longer than I’d originally hoped for. And the reality of getting my body back to where it once was is harsh.

Every run feels like it is the first one.

Every ride sees me getting passed by an old man with at least 20kg in his paneers. And no cleats.

Every swim, well, you’re familiar with that story…

I’m starting to feel like a fraud now as well. Every time I sit down to write about ‘my life as a triathlete’, I realise I have drifted further and further from the very thing I’m supposed to be writing about. Trapped in an ice-flow of unfitness, my ship is looking like it may be crushed before it comes close to being an athlete again (little Shackleton reference there for anyone who’s been following…). Every time I sit down to write, I think that I’ve emptied myself of any advice, guidance or anecdotes to help all you beautiful athletes out there. I’m a husk.

But that, I suspect, is the new lesson – the one that I have to learn myself, so that I can pass it on to the one person who might need it in the future. There is no guiding light, there is no goal, I’m simply drifting.

So I have to focus on the basics: the WHY.

WHY am I running?

WHY am I riding?

(I am not really swimming) WHY won’t I go swimming?

Challenge - WanakaWithout a goal, I need a different ‘WHY’ to get out of bed in the morning. Why do I run? I first started running many years ago to get fit, and then I fell in love with the feeling of exhilaration you get immediately after. So I guess I run because I love it. I am the real me when I’m running.

Why do I ride? Because I love riding my bike, plain and simple. It is a juvenile pleasure that delivers me back to my childhood every single time I head out on my bike. Because I like to race my husband as if we were kids playing out on the street. I am the child in me when I’m riding.

Why don’t I go swimming? Unless there is a race coming up, it’s rare that I drag myself to the pool. But why not? Maybe because I’m always cold, and the thought of jumping in a box of even colder water is ridiculous. Or perhaps because there is a step in between stepping out the front door and getting to the pool and I’m just plain lazy. Maybe I’m just out of the habit of swimming. Who knows. But it’s been a long-term problem. I’m lazy, and even when I do go for a swim, I always call it a day and get out too early. I never push myself in the pool. Maybe I am not the best version of myself in the pool – I make excuses and don’t deliver. I’m not ready to beat that right now.

This is so much harder than I thought it was going to be.

That’s the lesson though, right? Everything used to come so easily before; every run was fast, every ride was powerful, every race was a PB (apart from Vegas, but let’s not discuss that…). And now I have to learn what it is to start from the very bottom, to earn every shred of fitness, to carve out my strength from this shapeless block of marble – where every run will chip away slowly at each muscle and build up conditioning again.

I have no coach. I have no goal. I have almost no motivation. All I have is the ‘WHY’.

Why am I doing this?

I am doing this because I love it. Plain and simple. That is my ‘WHY’. It’s all I’ve got right now, but I’m sticking with it.

Text by Lucy Piper

Lead Photo by Challenge Melbourne | Getty Images

Secondary Photo by Challenge Wanaka | Getty Images

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6 Responses

  1. B

    I have some “Why” Explanations for you: :)

    Run: Its fun. You get faster every time. You see so much more than in a car and your slower than on a bike so you can take it all in. Its cheap fun. Without a watch no one can actually claim they’re slow (because there is no comparison) :)

    Bike: Because when you finally beat the men on $10k bikes. Its liberating. You feel indestructable. Muahaha…
    Oh and the wind in your hair is nice when its comings from behind. And we get to eat scones on our rides. Gossip for hours whilst we excercise. Meet people. And yes, race our partners. Oh and because you get to meet people like YOU! (or me in your case…….I think Im winning on that one though. I like to whinge… lets be honest….)

    Swimming: Thinking/ alone time (pure silence other than some splashing here and there). Just watch the black line and then begin your think time. Dont worry about whats actually going on around you. Its the only true alone time you’ll ever get. You can barely even hear coaches yelling at you when your under water. All I remember her yelling is….”UPPpppppp…… UPppppp…..Upppppp” To this day I dont know what “UP” even means? Of course I’ll come up for air. Its natural instinct.

    So theres some more whys and tips.

    • Lucy Piper

      This is the best! Thanks so much!

      Hahaha I love “we get to eat scones on our rides” – haha true that! Totally forgot to add that one in ;) And your ‘Why swimming’ insight – I had never thought about it like that before, but it’s so true. Absolute alone time. Aqua-zen. Hmm, maybe I’ll go to the pool tonight…

      See you out on the road tomorrow…?

  2. Misty

    Thank you for your honest posts. I believe you inspire more people to understand that, “It’s not just me that feels this way.” You should know you help all of us find the WHY within ourselves.

  3. Tahra

    I am going though everything you just blogged about Lucy…every day of training.
    I agree, the just show up method is not working for me. Today was a swim day and here in San Francisco it was cold, windy and gray out (welcome to our summer) and the thought of walking to the pool in that and then jumping in cold water under fluorescent lights was depressing and worth another hit of the snooze button.

    So I lay there asking myself, “If you can’t get of bed today what is the point of all this training, why do you care?”

    I care because, I love race day. And race day is so much better when I feel strong. I care because when I train my body feels so much better AFTER each workout. I love the feeling of a good workout when I’m done. Even in the pool I can retreat to my thoughts of my muscles and form.

    I also love when I get to that place in the season (usually not until July :(( )when I feel strong and my brain doesn’t focus on how hard this is but instead how great I feel DURING my bike, swim, run. And eventually I feel good BEFORE I start my workout.

    And I love being with my Viva Pink teammates as we alternate between working hard and playing hard together with wine and scones along the way!

    Struggling to get a workout done is better than than the alternative of not showing up. Reflecting on we care each morning is my new ritual.

  4. Lucy Piper

    Thanks for taking the time to write such a heartfelt comment – it is great to get this perspective on it. And such a good way to think of it; you love it because of RACE DAY and that is our WHY. I will be taking this onboard and reflecting every morning as a new ritual too :)


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