Beginning tri training week 12: relationship dynamics and new triathletes

I've got a hard topic to write about this week. So let's get right into it.

A little background on myself: I am a man. When I have had romantic relationships, they have been with women. I am married to just such a person -- a woman, that is. It is my first marriage, and we've just celebrated eight years. "Congratulations," you might way. "He's a sort of mini expert at it, 44 years old and still on his first marriage."

Do not believe a word of it. I am not self-deceived. I do not know women in the least. Women are like calculus to me. I barely hang on in class. I don't get them whatsoever. I copy off my neighbor's work. I just try to get through the tests.

While I don't understand women, or love, or relationships, in the least -- while I'm only smart enough to know that the older I get the less I know -- I am observant. I am able to see what goes on, and I've noticed some curious dynamics in the relationships of triathletes. Specifically, about triathletes and their mates. Well, specifically about their mates. Especially when the triathlete is a johnny-come-lately athlete.

Here's what I've seen, and it's been the case with both sexes. You're a beginner, I'm guessing, and I surmise this because you're doing a "beginner's training schedule." That tells me that -- unless you've always been some hotshot athlete and you're just transferring your attention to triathlon -- your significant other (if you have one) is watching you become something you perhaps weren't in the past. Perhaps you are fitter. Leaner. Perhaps you've got a spring in your step you didn't have before. You're more tanned. You're stronger and more confident.

On top of that, you're busier, and you're busier in a way that doesn't involve work, but also may not involve "him" or "her." So, who are you doing all this with? Your soul mate may not know who your training partners are, but it's a lock they're cute and tanned and fit (that's how a significant other's mind works).

You get my point.

There's another thing that sometimes happens, and I just crack up when I see it. This is when the athletic guy -- the jock since high school -- has a homemaker wife who decides to take a few pounds off after popping out a kid or two. She finds she has some talent, one thing leads to another, and voila, he's getting his arse kicked by her in triathlon. I shouldn't laugh, of course, but I do. My wife coaches triathletes, and she's seen this happen more than once. I know whereof I speak, because I -- school record holder, BMOC in high school -- can't tie my wife's shoelaces in a triathlon. Never have been able to. And (I'll tell you a secret) I think that's a turn-on.


None of this has anything to do with training. But it has a lot to do with being a triathlete. What is my advice? I have little. Yes, I've seen these sorts of relationship dynamics, but I have few answers. I'm just letting you know that if this is part of your experience, you're not the only one.

I guess the only thing I can say is, while you've got to do what you've got to do -- for you -- realize that this is a powerful process you're going through, and it can be very threatening to your loved one. "Handle with care."


You did a lot last week. So you'll take an easy week this week. No quality sessions. If you fell short and didn't do many of last week's workouts -- i.e., if last week was unintentionally your rest week -- then by all means do last week's workouts. But if you did those workouts faithfully, you'll need a rest, and do no more than the workouts below.

  • Swimming: 2 or 3 sessions x 1,000 - 3,500 yards per session
  • Cycling: 1 or 2 sessions of 60 minutes each
  • Running: 2 or 3 sessions x 25 - 35 minutes per session
  • Ready to catch the swim-bike-run bug? Check out our Give it a Tri section

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