3. Pick a Race. Involve the family. Make it a “race-cation.”
Triathlon is a selfish sport. Yes, I said it, but I think we all know that. Instead of getting the family frustrated about triathlon and how it has changed your life, get them involved.
Pick a race that works with everyone’s schedule, not just your schedule but the family’s. Pick a race with the family. Show them a couple of options and find out what is available for what they can do at the race. For example, IRONMAN Mont Tremblant is a very family friendly race and everything is close by for the family.
Look beyond race day. Is there an opportunity to go explore with the family after the race? Another example, IRONMAN 70.3 Coeur d’Alene is a perfect opportunity to head over to Glacier National Park post-race to explore one of the most beautiful parks in the United States.
Tip: Get the family involved from picking the race, to involving them in the race as volunteers or doing the IronKids run and finding out what is available to visit beyond the race venue.
4. Hire people to help you out (at home, at work … and a coach!)
During the heavy long course triathlon training, doing every day chores can really take a toll on you. Sure, you could ask the spouse or the kids to help but as you know, they are probably getting tired.
Treat yourself by hiring someone to either clean the house, mow the lawn or take your laundry to a wash and fold. You spend top dollars on your bike, clothing and nutrition for your long course triathlon training—spending a few extra dollars to help you with your sanity will help.
Above all, understand that being an athlete/parent/attorney/whatever means you’ll always have to put a few things further down the list of priorities. And that’s how you truly find balance.
Another hire that you should look at doing if you haven’t already is hiring a coach for your long course triathlon race. What will these coaches do? To put it simply, they’ll take the guesswork out of your weeks. They will organize your workouts for your lifestyle and family time. They will keep you accountable and they will call you out if you are not getting the workouts done.
Tip: Head over to Angie’s List or Nextdoor to ask who can help you at home. Head to TrainingPeaks and check out the many amazing coaches out there to help you achieve your goals.
5. Listen to your body
Last but not least, listening to your body is crucial when it comes to your training. You truly need to figure out what is going on physically and mentally, as triathlon training can put a toll on your body, especially the long course training.
As a triathlete, we tend to stick to our ways with training. Like clockwork, you go to Masters swimming, every M/W/F and head out for a group ride on Saturday. Until life happens, the spouse is out of town and you have to take your kids to practice and suddenly you realize you’ll have to miss several of your regular workouts. That’s okay.
Take some time to regroup and adjust your training schedule until things calm down. Move your bike to later in the day, when you feel rested and have some good food in you. Your body will thank you for it.
Another way to determine if you are “tired” or that you are dealing with keep an eye out with your heart rate or if you track your HRV, it can really help with the whole idea if you are really tired or just mentally tired. Remember, as we get older and as we get closer to our races, it is all about quality over quantity.
Tip: It is ok to listen to your body, you know your body way better than your family, and your coach. Let them know that you need to take a couple of hours to Control/Alt/Delete.
As you are heading into your triathlon training season for the year, plan everything out on the calendar, with the family and with your coach. I promise you, the family will have a better idea of what you need physically and mentally, your coach will have a better idea of what you need to do with the family and YOU will be in a much more relax state of mine heading into your 2018 Triathlon Season.
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Jen Rulon is a USA Triathlon Level I Coach of 16+ years and owner of JenRulon.com. She received her Masters in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Exercise Science. You can find her knowledge shared in Triathlete Magazine, Runners World, on the TEDx State, Health and Wellness Expo in San Antonio, TX, Men’s Journal Online and The New York Times. She is a 13-time IRONMAN triathlete, who recently just participated at the IRONMAN World Championship with her husband, Chris.