Successfully coordinating a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and 26.2 mile run is hard enough. Add to that the demands for a quality family life, and it’s enough to leave you scratching your head.
Deep down, we all know that even if we meet our greatest triathlon goals, if we leave our families behind we haven’t really achieved much.
Creating a healthy balance between your training and family life isn’t as much about the amount of time expended as it is the efficiency in which you manage time. And it’s not as much in making great shifts in schedules and activities but in knowing what works for you and making adjustments here and there to stay on track.
Inclusion, creativity, and communication are the ultimate keys to achieving a happy triathlon/family balance. There are three primary ways to do this:
1. Achieve Balance at the Beginning Through Goal Setting
One way to include your family in your triathlon life is to involve them in your short and long-term goals. If they know your goals, they’ll know a lot about you: what you’re attempting to do, how you’re attempting to do it and why. When your family knows your dreams and aspirations, they can empathize with you when you suffer a setback and congratulate you when you succeed.
2. Achieve Balance in the Middle Using Your Training
Training is the most obvious and best way to merge your triathlon and family lives. Of course, you’re not going to ask family members to keep up with you on your hour swim, bike with you for your entire long ride, or try to keep up with you on your 5-mile tempo run.
But they can go along with you and exercise in another part of the pool, meet you for a quick picnic at the halfway point of your ride, or join you for your post-run cool down. The areas of inclusion are only limited by your creativity and desire.
And it’s not just in training. Balance can be a part of your collective family lifestyle. In his article, “Walking the Tightrope: How to Balance Training and Family,” Tim Hola sums it up well: “Share the love. We all want our kids to be healthy. Isn’t that what it’s all about, having our kids learn and grow? You might be surprised by how your kids embrace your healthy triathlon lifestyle.”
3. Achieve Balance at the End on Race Day
Just as there’s nothing like the anticipation, joy, and fulfillment of race day, add your family to the mix and you’ll only heighten your triathlon experience – while creating unity, community, and unforgettable memories that will last your entire lives.
If your family isn’t competing in the race, there are other options for involving them - like helping you with your pre-race preparation, encouraging you along the course or becoming a race volunteer. There’s no reason for anyone to be left behind.
Craig Alexander writes about the impact his wife and kids have in his triathlon life in his article, “Ask a Pro: Balancing Family with IRONMAN Training,” stating, “I have no idea how she juggles it all. I just come back exhausted at the end of the race day and she has everyone waiting for me at the finish.”
Sharing your goals, training with you along the way and being there when you cross the finish line are all ways you can balance your triathlon training and family.
That way, everyone wins.
TriDot Takeaway: You balance your training within the three triathlon disciplines. You can be just as effective balancing your training and family life.
TriDot Talk: What ways do you balance your triathlon training and family life?
“Walking the Tightrope: How to Balance Training and Family”
“Ask a Pro: Balancing Family with IRONMAN Training”