Do endurance sports attract nerds?

Writing mainly as a triathlete, but also as a marathoner as I am about to tackle my second marathon in a week, I know I’m a pretty big nerd/dork/geek when it comes to many subjects, including triathlons. You can read more about my general nerdiness on my old blog, but here are a few of the nerdier endurance related things I do: I listen to podcasts about endurance training, nutrition and recovery. I read up on functional strength training, sport specific workouts, and plant-based nutrition for during and after workouts on various blogs and websites. I discuss my own training with friends, family, co-workers and relative strangers both in person and on my own blog and social networking. And I also know, because of how many blogs I follow, books I read, podcasts I listen to, and people I meet at races, that I am not alone in this.

Are we a nerdy community because we were nerds already and were drawn to these sports, or are we all geeking out over gear, nutrition, and heart-rate training because we are so involved in the sport?

I read a very humorous article over at Triathlete magazine asking readers whether they were “Tri-dorks” after starting to draft this post. The writer was mainly talking about gadgetry and apparel, but also was about the personalities of endurance athletes. On the less humorous end of the spectrum John, the self proclaimed Fat Slow Triathlete, wrote a heartfelt post titled “Triathlon is not a sport.” Other than being an attention grabbing title, he personally reflected on why it isn’t just something that he does, a sport, or combination of sports, but instead he says “It is a way of thinking, or being. Triathlon … is a way of life.”

That might sound silly to non-runners or triathletes, but when it becomes normal for you to keep your trail running shoes in your car, your bike shoes clipped into your pedals, nutrition bars in your desk drawer and car console, and have had to tell friends on many occasions that tonight is an early night since you have a long ride or run the next morning, you realize that this is really a part of your daily life. I don’t track every meticulous piece of data about my workouts but I do keep a training log and on my “down” training weeks still log around 9 hours of training/workouts. Now that isn’t near as much time as a lot of amateurs spend on marathon and ironman/half ironman training, but when I get more into my half ironman training I’ll peak at around 17 hours of training during my biggest build week. This is just a part of my daily schedule, it is what I do and plan my weekly schedule around after work. It has become my norm, a part of my lifestyle.

Maybe our nerdiness stems from our passion for it? Because it isn’t just a sport to us, it is a lifestyle that is worth all the research, blogging, and reading about the science of nutrition and training. I welcome being called an endurance nerd, or a tri-dork, especially if it means that I can speak about something that I love to do with more knowledge. So whether we were nerdy first or a nerd because of the sport, I’m proud to be part of an endurance-nerd community!

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One response to “Do endurance sports attract nerds?

  1. I think that endurance sports do actually attract people that are already “nerdy” in some sense. For endurance sports you need a strong mind as much as you do a strong body. So I think that intelligent and nerdy people are attracted to long-distance running, etc., because it is challenging and not just about natural talent. And then the nerdiness of course translates to also being nerdy about the sport.

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