For some people, the ultimate dream is to become a professional athlete. The recognition, esteem, and money that come with being a professional are what a lot of athletes aspire for. This is why they dedicate the best years of their lives to training. However, becoming a professional triathlete or acquiring a professional status is something that you should think about carefully before you proceed, especially if you are in the US.
Who Are Considered as Professional Athletes?
Professional athletes refer to those people who make their living through their chosen sports. They are usually seen on the covers of magazines, on television shows, and on social networks. People know them while others even imitate them. You may have always dreamed that one day, you can compete against them and even imagined winning like them. Professional athletes excel in their sport and in triathlon as well. However, before these athletes became professionals, they are part of the top amateur athletes.
What Will It Take to Become a Pro?
According to the theory of Malcolm Gladwell, if you want to become an expert in something, then you need to do 10,000 hours of practice. However, for professional triathletes, this is not enough. If you really want to become a professional athlete, you will need more than 10,000 hours of training. You must train harder than your competitors. It could help significantly if you have good genetics and a perfect lifestyle. You should have time for your friends, family, and for socializing. Ensure that you have resilience, motivation, self-esteem, sacrifice, and most of all, connection with the right people, and if possible, a bit of dumb luck.
To be a pro athlete, you should dedicate 100% of your life to your specific sport. Most often, you will be supervised by a team of professionals, such as a personal trainer, sports doctor, coach, physiotherapist, etc. Your daily routine will comprise of everything geared towards achieving your optimal performance. In other words, planning for appropriate volumes and intensities during a particular season as well as for recovery and sleep. It is also important that you eat for fuel to ensure that you meet the specific needs for your training.
Even though they have traveled all over the world in order to compete, most often, the life of a professional athlete is quite simple and boring. When it comes to finances, they usually depend on sports grants, sponsors, as well as institutional and governmental supports for funding their seasons. Top pro athletes will also receive prize money. However, when it comes to triathlon, only the top three or top five can receive prize enough for making a living. That is why it is common for some pro triathletes to look for other complementary activities in order to obtain extra income. Some of them will work as a coach while others set up their own business.
Pro Athletes Vs. Age Groupers
On the other hand, in any event, you will find that there is a vast majority of participants, including amateur triathletes or Age Groupers. The fact is, they are even more passionate than the pro athletes since they love the sport very much. But unlike pro athletes, these Age Groupers have other commitments in their lives, such as raising a family or working in a full-time job. In other words, they cannot devote 100% of their time to the sport. Hence, their performance will not be the same.
If you are an amateur, it is important that you will be able to manage your training so you will have time for other things. For instance, time for your full-time job, as well as for your friends, family, children, and social commitments since these can likely affect your training. Also, the volume and intensity of your training will not depend on what is best for you, but rather, on what fits with your life. As an amateur, you will be responsible for paying for everything, from entry fees, travel expenses, coach fees, and equipment, to frequent visits to a physiotherapist. Most of them don’t even have proper nutrition. Although there are some who do, however, they do it halfway since it will require a lot of sacrifices and will be difficult to incorporate into their lives.
Somehow, there are some amateur athletes that belong in between these categories. Ultimately, there are also more athletes every year that belong to a new category, which is known as Pro Age Groupers. These are the group of athletes that cannot make a living out of triathlon since they are amateurs and are living as if they were professionals.
Who Are Included in Pro Age Groupers?
These Pro Age Groupers are very well organized and are very motivated. Step by step, they are close to becoming Pro Athletes. They typically have flexible jobs or are changing their jobs so they can adjust their lifestyle around the training and not the other way round as anticipated. As a result, we can see a lot of top athletes that are competing against professionals. There are many brands that are endorsing this kind of triathlete. These brands believe these athletes have the capacity to become influential and prove to the world that combining their life and performing at the top level can be possible. For instance, during the last Challenge Shepparton held in Australia, out of the overall top 10, 4 athletes were amateurs.
Regardless of what category you belong to, it is essential that you are aware of where you are and where you stand. It is apparent that at any level, triathlon is the best sport that provides you with personal achievements and a lot of highs in your life. But let’s not forget not that when you are setting a particular goal, whether as an Age Grouper, Pro, or Pro Age Grouper, you are putting pressure on yourself, and this will vary extensively depending on how serious you are about your sport.
What Is It Like to Be a Professional Triathlete?
Professional triathletes reveal the realities and perceptions of what it takes to be at the peak of the podium. For an age grouper who is already getting used to working in a cubicle, the life of a pro triathlete may sound amazingly incredible. Obviously, who wouldn’t want to have a chance to travel around the world, free cutting-edge gear, as well as live a lifestyle whose main goal is to run, bike, or swim?
What makes triathlon different from other sports is that you’ll get the chance to race on a similar course with the professionals. Additionally, you can relate to their feelings about a successful PR or an epic workout strike. However, for the professional group of athletes excellent enough to win races, there is too much pressure in their way of living.
Misconceptions About Professional Triathletes
There is a huge misconception about pro triathletes that all they do is eat, sleep, and train. However, most of them spend plenty of time in front of a computer working 60 hours per week, just like the age groupers. As a pro triathlete, it is important that you must develop a brand so you can attract more sponsors and earn money so that you can pay for your races. Typically, these pro triathletes do not have any support system compared to athletes in the four leading American sports. They do their marketing, sales, event planning and human resources on their own.
On any given day, they wake up and train, energize and hydrate. Then, they work on their own businesses which include social media marketing, coaching, answering fan questions, handling sponsor/media requests, ensuring gear is in order, etc. All of these are vital components of their job. Also, they are constantly trying to look for ways to ensure that they have alternative income since their race winnings are not enough for keeping up with their racing schedule.
As a start, if you want to become a pro, then you should be good enough to become a pro. Typically, you will be working full-time while trying to do your best at training so that you will become good enough. Perhaps the perception of the amateurs is that if they could train all day, then they could be as good as the pro triathletes. It’s like you must work full-time so you can reach this point.
The Lifestyle of Professional Triathletes
What makes this sport amazing is that almost everyone can compete since they are very enthusiastic to run, bike, or swim. In every race, there is always camaraderie, which is great. In fact, the spirit of triathlon is friendship, passion, and belonging.
Team Enduro can train you so you can become a professional triathlete. We offer different programs so you can choose which one is best for your needs. For more details and information, you can get in touch with us at 858.336.7410 or send us an email at [email protected]