I suspect that due to my fragile feet, my running days may well be over. Although this is frustrating, I’ve been looking at other options. My recent training for Swimathon has demonstrated that my swimming technique is so poor; it’s preventing me from enjoying my sessions in the pool. I therefore doubt I’d enjoy training for a triathlon, the go-to alternative to running for injury-prone runners. Hopefully some swimming lessons will make me consider entering a triathlon in the future.Embed from Getty ImagesFormer tennis player Martina Hingis walks next to her horse after a fall during a jumping competition – I’ve been there and done that Martina, I feel your pain.
I then started to think about the number of athletes who have switched from running to triathlon. Some switched from running to triathlon due to injury issues, others due to the lack of opportunities to compete as a runner at the highest level. I’m not naming any names but there are several examples.
Although switching from running to triathlon comes with an element of risk, some athletes have made some slightly riskier moves. I found the outcome of some recent research carried out by SBO.net interesting so decided to share it on my blog.
SBO.net created an infographic illustrating some of the athletes who have ventured into new sports in their careers. Some of these moves were successful, some weren’t quite so successful.
- Martina Hingis, the winner of multiple Grand Slams, took a break from professional tennis at 22 to compete in show-jumping competitions. Martina returned to the court in 2005.
- Victoria Pendleton, a multiple track sprint Olympic and World Champion, switched from cycling to horseracing, definitely a slightly random career move.
- Adam Gemili found his fame on the football pitch until he switched to full-time athletics in 2012. I think Adam made the right choice.
- Rebecca Romero, silver medallist in rowing at the 2004 Olympics, apparently became the first British woman to compete in two sports at the Olympic Games when she switched from rowing to cycling. Rebecca went on to take gold in the individual pursuit in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
The research also identified athletes who have decided to downsize when switching sports. Although it’s clear that money isn’t always the deciding influence, I suspect that having enough money to support a career move helps. For example, Michael Jordan took a break from basketball in 1993 and switched to baseball, as a result his earnings dropped substantially. I suspect the majority of athletes wouldn’t be financially secure enough to change sports.
More recently Gwen Jorgensen, the current Olympic triathlon gold medallist ran the 2016 New York Marathon in 2:41:01. Four time Ironman World Champion Chrissie Wellington is running the London Marathon next month. I can’t wait to see how Chrissie approaches the London Marathon.
If professional athletes can make risky and in some cases rather random career moves, perhaps I’ve still got time to find an alternative to running. Just don’t expect me to enter a triathlon any time soon. It would take me all day to complete the first two phases.
If you had to give up running tomorrow, which sport would you consider as an alternative? I might do a Martina Hingis and return to show-jumping.