Triathlete Profile: John Shaffer
Understanding how to balance life with triathlon training, family and job responsibilities is the key to being successful in your triathlon journey.
We are showcasing beginner and seasoned triathletes so you can see how they do it!
How long have you been doing triathlons?
2011 marks my second season of triathlons. Though I only did one in 2010. So I am still pretty new.
How do you balance workouts with family/job responsibilities?
I spent a great many years making excuses for not exercising. What I found when I committed to a triathlon was that I needed to prioritize my time a little better. Did I need to watch that episode of whatever on TV? Or could I spent that hour or half hour going for a run or a bike. My wife and kids were incredibly supportive, and that helped loads. But really, after I stopped making excuses and put a higher priority on training instead of TV, everything balanced pretty well. I found that I looked forward to my workouts and didn’t really miss the TV time all that much.
Do you have a favorite triathlon moment (event or training)?
Oddly enough, my favorite moment wasn’t the finish of my first tri. Though that is my second favorite moment. My favorite moment came just before the start of my first tri, as I looked out over the water, pondered all of the hard work I had done to get to that moment, and realized that I had done what I set out to do – be prepared to compete in a sprint tri. It was an overwhelmingly Zen feeling of calm/gidddy satisfaction, and I was literally laughing as I ran into the water. I think I freaked out a few others around me with that maniacal laughter, but I was just so happy!
What is the best advice you can give a newbie?
I’m still a newbie myself, but from my limited experience the best advice I could give is don’t give up. It takes a radical switch in thinking to get off the couch and train for a tri, and it can get discouraging. I have missed workouts due to the dread diseases of “I’m too tired-itis” and “I can’t do this-itis” But the next day I’ll see my mantra on my training calendar “The only workout you’ll regret is the one you don’t do” and banish the whining in my head and just GO DO IT! Even running up and down the hill in our yard for ten or fifteen minutes is good. Something is always better than nothing. Stick as close as you can to a training schedule, and don’t give up! You’ll be surprised at what you can achieve if you promise yourself not to quit. If it was easy, everybody would do it. Oh, and for goodness sake DON’T try gel packs for the first time on race day.
What is your favorite workout?
I’m pretty fond of brick workouts. I know it blows peoples minds at the beach to see me come lumbering out of the water after a twenty minute swim of 1000 yards or so and race up the sand to my bike and take off for a ride. I’ve also been focusing more on the bike/run bricks, as those are my weak events. Triathlon training is great because it stays fun. It isn’t just run, then run, then more run. There is LOTS of room for creative workouts. Especially when schedules are tight.
What’s next for you?
The triathlon bug bit me pretty hard. This year I am entered in four sprint tri’s in three states starting with the Pigman Tri in Palo, IA, then the Rochesterfest Tri here in Minnesota, the Tour de Kirkwood down near St. Louis which I convinced my brother to join me for, and finishing the season with a race against Last Year Me at the Hickory Grove Tri.If this season goes well, and I have no reason to believe that it won’t, I am giving serious consideration to training for an Olympic distance tri in 2012!
While my hard work and determination are key to training for these events, I have to say that information and advice I’ve gleaned from TriathaNewbies.com has been incredibly beneficial to my success. Thanks to the crew there for helping make my transition from Couch Potato to Triathlete relatively smooth and much less stressful. If a guy like me can train for and complete a triathlon, anybody can!
Interested in telling TriathaNewbie.com readers how YOU balance YOUR life with triathlons? Email us with the subject line “Triathlete Profile” and let us know! We would love to hear from newbies as well as seasoned veterans. Your words just might inspire someone to get off the couch and to the starting line!
TriathaNewbie.com Recommended Resources:
There are Newbies Starting Triathlons Every Day. Today Just Happens to be YOUR Day!
Pennsylvania Triathlon – Connellsville Parks and Recreation Triathlon –-Great sprint triathlon for beginners!
New York Triathlon – Brooklyn Sports Club Mini Indoor Triathlon – This unique indoor event is perfect for first-timers
Running: Good for the Body and the Brain – Could running make you smarter? The answer may surprise you.
Triathlon QuestionWalking Instead of Running in a Triathlon –– The race promoters presented an award to a 69 year old female who had had 2 knee replacements…
New York Triathlon – Brooklyn Sports Club Mini Indoor Triathlon –This unique indoor event is perfect for first-timers
Georgia Triathlon – Tri for the Shelter Sprint Triathlon – USAT sanctioned, This triathlon takes place in the gorgeous Rocky Mountain Recreation..
My First Triathlon, Nicholas D’Angelo – It was the end of my life as I knew it and the beginning of the beginning. I decided that I wanted to live. I wanted to be a better husband, father, son, brother, uncle, and friend…
First Triathlon Story – Greg H. from Texas – just to raise your arms at the finish line and know that you accomplished a triathlon is such a great feeling.