Triathlon has opened up a new world of socialising and relationships for age-grouper, Amy Kilpin

As we immerse ourselves deep in training, races and performance data, we can sometimes overlook why we are taking part in triathlon in the first place.

Quite often, we even forget to have fun.

As I spend hours and hours grinding out training sessions on my own, I get so caught up in diligently executing my training plan that I almost forget that training can be a social affair as well.

I decided a long time ago that if I rely on other people, stuff won’t happen. So, I started booking trips on my own, going on adventures and doing my own thing without needing other people around.

As my life gradually moved into the world of triathlon, nothing really changed.

I trained on my own, travelled on my own and raced on my own. Owing to the brilliant innovation of social media, this gradually changed. Nowadays it’s rare for me to turn up at a race on the other side of the world and not know someone from social media or past events. Either that or I always end up meeting someone and staying friends with them and then meeting up with them at another race in the future.

So, while I say I’m alone I’m not really, but somehow it’s still not quite the same.

This hit home to me just before Christmas when I went on a training trip to TriSports Lanzarote. I had some friends who were going there to train anyway (we were all doing our own thing so it wasn’t a structured camp), but I also made some new friends, too. In fact, a group of us got on so well that we are now planning a number of other training trips together again this year.

You’re probably thinking “Yeah? So what. Loads of people do that.” Yes, they do. But I don’t. As I’m not a member of a triathlon club and have relatively few triathlete friends living close to me, it is definitely a novel experience. What I like about it is that we weren’t just all members of the same club, we were all pretty much randoms who came together as a result of triathlon. Again, probably not that unusual.

But it made me think how I now have a great group of friends, all of whom I met through my sport. To me that’s pretty special, mainly for the reason that if we took triathlon completely out of the equation, we would all still be really good friends. I’m not just talking about a group of people who only discuss power output and energy gels (although I’m sure these topics crop up from time to time). We have a genuine connection, and that is far less common in my experience.

Sometimes we take stuff like this for granted. Not only am I doing a sport, which is brilliant (need I say more), but I am meeting some awesome people along the way, who will be lifelong friends. Our planned trips will involve all of us doing our own training but when we come back to the villa and all hang out “apres-ski” style (we need a triathlon term for this!) then to me, that’s just perfect.

Having spent years training on my own or with people who I have only triathlon in common with is all very well, but now I see, if you can go to the next friendship level, do it. One of my old coaches criticised me for having a “social” angle to my triathlon endeavours, yet I think this was only highlighted because of how much I value these types of relationships in all areas of my life. If you can do what you love with great friends who you’ve made along the way, then that’s a win-win right there as far as I’m concerned. Creating memories is what it’s all about. At the end of the day, if you’re not having fun, is there any point?

Read more from Amy Kilpin on her blog.