Is Triathlon Antifragile?
“How can you think yourself a great man, when the first accident that comes along can wipe you out completely.” - Euripides
“Specialization is for insects.” - Robert A Heinlein
Nassim Taleb defines the term antifragile as anything that is the opposite of fragile. And unlike resilience which resists shocks and stays the same, the antifragile gets better.
Well, what about Triathlon?
Let’s look at the origins the discipline. The earliest record for a triathlon-like event was in 1901, named “Les Trois sports”. It was advertised for ‘sportsmen’ and consisted of a run, bicycle and canoe. Eventually, the canoe was replaced with a swim across a river.
Nowdays, the triathlon that we recognize today emerged in the mid 70’s, by Americans who had apparently never heard of the French origin story and is much more standardized. The ITU accepts no more than a 5% margin of error in the cycle and run course distances.
A competition that’s only been around for 40 years, with very exact distances and rules, sounds fragile to me. Doing ‘trois sports’ in a haphazard and dangerous way. Now that’s antifragile.
Let’s take a look at the individual legs.
Vibram fivefingers - fragile
Old runners - antifragile
Stretching - fragile
Taking it easy - antifragile
HR zones - fragile
Hill sprints - antifragile
Treadmill & tv - fragile
Long walks to recover - anti fragile
Camelpak bladder filled with gatorade mix - fragile
Stop at cafe for glass of water - antifragile
Bucket list marathon - fragile
Trail run after work - antifragile
Drills - fragile
A mile a day - anti fragile
Roka Propel 2 Wetsuit - fragile
Speedos - antifragile
Pool - fragile
Ocean - antifragile
Aero - fragile
Power - antifragile
Only use trainer unless racing - fragile
Riding in the rain - antifragile
Tubeless - fragile
Patching inner tube for 1000th time - antifragile
FTP - fragile
Riding without a Garmin - antifragile
General Classification - fragile
Le Prix de la combativité - antifragile
Gravel bike - fragile
Riding on whatever surface you feel like - antifragile
Kristian Blummenfelt obsessing over his lactate numbers in a Sierra Nevada compound is inspirational, but fragile, and not a good model for an everyday athlete.
If you take things a little less seriously, look at the data a bit less and stop worrying about the latest gear and gadgets, you’ll more likely to last longer in the arena.