Recently there has been quite a shift happening in the athletic world. A shift that athletes are making for reasons that vary between them, but all have a very similar nature to them. Runners are becoming mountain athletes, rock climbers are ramping up their yoga practice and single sport professionals are diversifying and trying out multi-sport races. Why is this happening? Maybe people are getting injured too often, maybe their getting bored, we’ve all read articles about Over Training Syndrome (OTS), and really each athlete is entitled to their own decisions.
We feel very happy being in amongst this thriving movement, after taking up ultra marathon running as fast and hard as we could, and notching off the usual race resume of 50km, 50 miler, 100km, 100 miler, we felt an urge to diversify a little bit with secondary disciplines. After all of our blog posts about Yoga Teacher Training and Acroyoga Teacher Training, we obviously see benefits, both physically and mentally, in our yoga practice. We’ve also always enjoyed rock climbing wherever we go, I think it just gives us a different challenge, recruiting more of the finite muscles to help slow movements. And earlier this year, Mel and I tried out our 1st adventure race, the Bruce Peninsula Multi-Sport Race, which spurred our passion for mountain biking, and has pushed both of us into a lot more kayaking lately.
And we’re not the only ones diverting good portions of our training time into secondary sports, we’ve noticed even some top athletes making the shift.
Krupicka has had quite an amazing ultra running career, after jumping onto the scene in 2006. However over the years, before and during ultra running, a few injuries have forced Krupicka to branch out into things like climbing and skiing. Trail Runner Magazine did a great interview with Krupicka earlier this year, where he shared some great insights about still competing as a ultra marathon runner, but spending time in the off season to develop himself as an all around mountain athlete.
“Running used to be my main motivation and goal. Now, the landscape and the experience—the mountains—are my primary motivators. Running becomes just another tool in the pursuit of light, fast, efficient, self-powered movement in the mountains.” – Krupicka (Anton’s Blog)
Ryan Sandes – Long Distance Athlete and Runner
A relatively unintentional long distance runner with an interesting entry into the ultra marathon running world. Sandes quickly gained credentials after sweeping through and winning all of the 4 Deserts Races with a few wins in the roving races. This is where we had the pleasure of meeting with Ryan, during the Roving Race in Madagascar, and it was amazing to see a person so well accomplished in a sport, yet still so humble and willing to cheer on runners crossing the finish line sometimes many hours after him.
Ryan has an incredible athlete page on Facebook to follow, sharing interesting articles from running magazines and websites worldwide, to photos of his mountain training runs with his dog and wife, and of course (wouldn’t fit with this article otherwise), his adventures and training in sports ranging from ice climbing to cycling. Obviously strong in the endurance and stamina category, it is quite nice to see Sandes still switching it up in distances, locations and sports on a regular basis.
Visit Ryan’s Blog to read up on his upcoming races and FKT Projects (Fastest Known Time)
Common Trend in the Entire Athletic Industry
There are similar stories popping up all over the globe and in all kinds of sports. Athletes who were specialized, driven, almost even obsessed with their next race, have shifted gears to look more at the bigger picture of their athletic careers and lives.
I think there is somewhat of a correlation with the massive “naturalistic” movement going on these days as well. Athletes and non athletes are taking a more natural approach to their diets, way of lives and who can forget Born to Run‘s influence on our approach to running technique and movement in general. These all fit in so well with this new found appreciation of athletes that want to become fit and healthy adventurers rather than simply “podium finishers.”
My closing thoughts are quite simple, do what makes you happy. If you have just taken up a new sport and nothing makes you feel more alive than the next time you suit up and do it, then go for it with every cell in your body. If you’re a “jack of all trades” in the athletic world, own it!! But always remember it’s not one of these extremes or the other, you can find your sweet spot somewhere in the middle, blending in whatever hobbies or sports (new or old) that ignite the fire inside of you. Just like companies that re-brand themselves, pivot niches, grow or downsize, people and athletes can do the same, so never be afraid to go after what you want! It is never too late to change….never.