How to Balance Life and Triathlon    

Monday, August 1, 2016 by Coach Lawrence

One of the hardest parts of training is balancing our life responsibilities with the need and desire to get out and train.  Most of us have other obligations outside of triathlon that stretch our ability to do what we enjoy.

While my job is pretty flexible and allows me to get my training in, my family puts many demands on my time.  I coach my boys’ youth soccer team and have to find time to allow my wife to get out and exercise as well.  There is not a golden ticket that will fit everyone’s demands, but here are a few tips that have worked well for me.

No matter what the limiter is in your time, you need to schedule time to get your work in.  I understand that nights are not the best time for my workouts, so I plan to get them in as early as possible.  During your scheduling process, understand that you are going to have to give time to your limiter (family, work, other activities), but also ask for the time you need as well.  Maybe not a good idea with work, but with family and other obligations you can be more demanding.  Give time to your partner to get done what they need.  This goes a long way in them giving you time back.

If you are being coached, make sure your coach has a realistic picture of what time you really have available.  Don’t let your coach put 15 hours of workouts on your schedule if you only have 10 hours to give.  This may limit what your goals are, but setting realistic goals is a very important discussion to have with your coach.  Our bodies can only take so much stress (work, training, family, life).  If you exceed what your body can handle, nothing good will come out of it.  You are much more likely to get sick or injured which doesn’t do anyone any good.

Get your family involved in your training.  I don’t ask my boys to go on my long bike rides, but 2-3 times per week, I go out for a 2 mile run with them.  It is exciting to see them progress and improve their fitness.  It also shows them how important being healthy and fit is.  For those that have younger children, this is not going to be very taxing on your body, but I am pretty sure your coach will never say anything about you doing a slow run with your family.  This is a little more difficult with older children, since they are usually faster than us already.  You could go to the pool and do an easy swim or go for a nice easy bike ride.  There are a lot of ways to get them involved.

Another way is to introduce them to the sport of triathlon.  You can get them involved in a youth tri team.  Even a youth swim or track team would be beneficial.  What better way to make time for training than to have them training with you or training yourself during their training with the team.  They will also appreciate what it takes to keep improving.

Like I said earlier in this blog, there is no one solution to fit everyone’s life.   You have to find a balance and be as scheduled as possible.  You will need flexibility in your schedule, but carving out time for yourself is essential.  Most importantly, you have to communicate with everyone affected by your training and make sure they are involved as much as possible.  Isolating yourself is not beneficial to anyone.   Remember, if you are not having fun, your efforts are wasted.

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