How Training for Triathlons Has Made Me a Better Dentist

Five thousand people line up in front of a cold body of water just after dawn on a Sunday morning.  Most are wearing nothing but swim suits, a swimming cap and goggles and are about to voluntarily endure hours of continuous pain.

To most people, this does not sound like a great way to spend a weekend.  I suppose putting your hands in people's mouths does not sound like an ideal way to make a living to most people either.  I am well aware that my favorite hobby and chosen profession are not everyone's first choice, but I wanted to use my first blog post to explain how training for triathlons has actually made me a better dentist.

The main attraction triathlons hold for me is the variety involved in training.  Instead of lacing up my running shoes everyday like I have for eighteen years, I now get to enjoy the training diversity of swimming, biking, running and weight training.  The variety I experience as a general dentist is the same thing that attracted me to this profession.  Every patient has a different problem to solve and every appointment offers incredible variation.

Simultaneously training for multiple sports and studying through eight grueling years of undergrad and dental school both involve extensive hard work.  The same discipline it takes to follow a 30-minute pool workout with a 15-mile bike ride helped me focus during long days and nights studying in the libraries of Miami University and Ohio State.

The most important lesson that training for triathlons has taught me about dentistry is a life balance.  Treating patients while running a small business often means getting home just in time for dinner and getting our daughter ready for bed.  Also attempting to workout six days per week leads to many early mornings and long days.  Without the endless support from my wife, Katie, and maintaining a balanced life, I would not be able to enjoy both my highly rewarding career and favorite hobby.

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