Thursday, 26 April 2018

5 Years Young

So, here we are, 5 years in. 5 years ago today I decided to give this blogging thing a crack, wondering if it was something I could stick with. Well I think I can consider this well and truly stuck.

Writing this blog has been an interesting experience. I have learnt a lot, been baffled a few times, stumped for motivation more times that I can count, been surprised often, hopefully improved my writing and largely had quite a bit of fun. I can honestly say I am still surprised when people come up to me and say 'I have been reading your blog'. I guess having people reading what you write is part of putting things on the Interweb, but it has never really been a motivating force for why I write this, so I guess it always surprises me when people do.

In fact, why I write this comes up fairly often and I guess it is because I like to hope that what I am writing is helping people. Starting this blog seems like such a long time ago that I sometimes forget why I started, but that was the fundamental reason, helping people. When I started this blog way back in 2013 I had been doing triathlon for a few years and was a bit sick of not being able to find what I wanted on the Internet, and I thought I could probably provide some of that information myself. The information I originally set out to provide was about races and also about how I went about training and life in general. I didn't want the blog to be a 'guide to training for a triathlon' as I have seen those and feel they can be a bit dull, which is why I rarely talk about what is actually contained in sessions that we do. Instead this blog was always more about the life that you live around triathlon, and the little things that you sometimes wonder about but struggle to find anywhere, like what sort of water bottles they use on a race course, whether a race course has rough roads or smooth, just how much elevation a course actually has, that sort of thing.

On the whole I like to think I have succeeded in my mission of being informative. Yes there are junk posts in between, full of waffle, but between them I like to think I have provided value. When I look at the posts that are read the most, they are the ones where I have been providing information, race reports, gear reviews, equipment guides, that sort of thing. About a year ago when I stopped racing I was worried that it would also stop me being able to provide informative posts, but I think I have been able to manage it, at least I hope I have. I still have plenty of junk posts and waffle and I think it has taken me a while to find my stride, but at the moment I am finding that coaching is providing me almost as much blogging ammunition as training did. Coaching certainly gives me inspiration about what questions people are asking.

Putting up a blog every day has always been a challenge, and one that I suspect my wife wishes I would stop, but I have always sort of been proud of that achievement. Yes, that is probably why there have been so many junk posts, but I also like to think that blogging every day has also helped there be some informative posts too. I can't count the number of times when I have sat down to write not knowing what to write about and then finished up with something that I was quite proud of. Those posts wouldn't have existed if I hadn't sat down to write in the first place.

Doing a post every week, or every two weeks etc would be easier than every day, but I remember being told once, if you are going to do something like this then make it regular and make it reliable. I was never sure I could have done this blog reliably if it was every two weeks, I was just worried that I would forget about it or things would come up. The number of neglected athlete blogs is a testament of how easy it is to become distracted. I was always determined that if I started a blog it wouldn't become one of those and I am very proud to say it hasn't.

Every year I ask myself, 'okay is that enough', is this still relevant, is it still fun, should it continue? I asked those questions particularly loudly last year and I am asking myself those questions again now and I think for now the answer is yes. I am still enjoying this and people are still turning up and reading it so I think I will stick at it. If I get to the point where it is just day after day of junk then I think I will reconsider, but as long as I can keep producing bits of usefulness among the junk then I will keep it up.

Here's to another year.

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