Training for any type of race, whether it’s a 5K, a marathon or an Ironman, can be a challenge. But trying to train for that race while juggling responsibilities as a spouse and parent can prove to be very difficult.
Sometimes we question whether it’s even possible to be a competitive athlete and still be the spouse and parent we need to be.
When I decided to jump into the world of triathlons with my husband, I told him I didn’t want to take any attention away from him or our three little boys. It has proved to be difficult at times, but with a little push and pull I have kept that promise.
Here are four tips that have allowed me to do this:
- Plan ahead. I believe this to be by far the most important step in maintaining balance. I am a huge planner. I sit down on Sunday nights and plan my week. While not absolutely necessary, having a coach helps in doing this. My coach has all my workouts planned for that week so it is not a guessing game on what I need to accomplish in training. A good coach will also help maximize your workouts for the time you have and work around your other obligations. For me, there is fitting in my boys’ school and sports schedules, along with my husband’s work and training schedule. Somedays this means I have to get up early or stay up late to get it done.
- Include the family. This tip is my favorite. I never want my kids or husband to hate me doing Ironmans. I want it to be fun for everyone. I love getting my kids involved. Putting them in a jogging stroller or having them ride their bikes alongside me while on a run is a great way for them to see what I do and enjoy it too. I also love taking our kids to races with us. This takes some planning—and someone to go along with us to watch our boys on race day—but is worth it to have their support and see their faces during the race. It’s a win-win: We get to race and they get a vacation!
- Communicate. This is especially important in my family with two of us training for an Ironman. Sit down with your spouse and go through what needs to be done for the week, discussing all your various schedule requirements. Ask for help when needed and don’t assume that your spouse just knows.
- Don’t stress. For most of us, this is easier said than done. If you cut a workout short or miss one, don’t let it stress you out. Life happens and missing a workout is not going to break you. There are those times when your spouse and kids need you more than you need that workout.
While these tips may not be for everyone or for every situation, they are something to keep in mind when juggling your training with family. Remember: It’s about creating balance in your life for the things that are important to you.