I am one that needs to experience something on my own before I am eager to share with someone else. And then, watch out!
My first Ironman was 19 years ago, I was 31 years old and had not been in the sport very long. I trained on my own in a way that I thought would bring me success. I read a few books on running and triathlon, rode every mountain I could find and took a couple of swim courses.
What I discovered is that there is a whole world of unknowns that had to be discovered. For instance; nutrition, recovery, micro and macro cycles, mental fortitude and of course, longevity. However, the most challenging of all was learning how to balance life with training and racing. No one ever tells you about what is going to happen to you in your life, which of course effects everything. The best news is that you do improve the longer you stay in the sport; you don’t get faster, necessarily, but you get wiser and more patient. I have always said there is one thing that a coach cannot give you, which is race experience. Another one is that he/she cannot give you life experience or wisdom. So, while reading books and going to seminars was helpful, ultimately the best thing to do was…do it!
The one thing that I enjoy the most about endurance sport is the repetitive monotony. It is actually meditative. Exercising outdoors for hours at a time can be very therapeutic. Good for your body, mind and soul. Being surrounded by nature cannot be replaced by a treadmill, a bike trainer, a gym or a pool. None of these are bad in and of themselves, but going outside is really cool. You get to see all kinds of neat things, like birds, deer, bear, trees, clouds, sky, mountains, desert, water and so on. Ultimately, this is where I like to be. Triathlon is just an extension and an expression of the happiness that is inherent in natural surroundings.
So get out there and swim in a lake, bike up a mountain and run through the woods and you will rediscover what we always knew as kids was the most fun.