What does a multisport lifestyle really entail? A friend and trusted point of reference once told me long ago that becoming involved in triathlon and other forms of endurance training requires that certain sacrifices need to be made. To be successful, one needs to devote time to training. I’m not talking about random workouts chosen based on one’s mood that day but rather, strategic, scheduled events designed to get you ever closer to peak performance in time for your A-Race.
He said that triathlon was a “selfish sport”. I didn’t really think about what he meant until I started to become more involved. It wasn’t until I got my bike that I realized that a certain part of my life was being affected- my family. This doesn’t apply only to triathlon mind you. If you’re a golfer, then you fully understand the inconvenience placed on your family every weekend as you set off on a Saturday morning to play 18 holes. How long does that take? 4 hours? 5 hours? There’s countless other examples that I could name: Fishing, gold panning, trips to Vegas to play poker, etc, etc,etc. Triathlon on the other hand is a little different. Not only do you have to devote one Saturday to your long bike ride, you also have to spend time on Sunday for your long run. Then, there are the requisite workouts scheduled during the week. Hopefully you have the time to squeeze one in during your lunch break but for many people, this is not a practical solution. This is made especially true if you don’t have access to shower facilities and funk up your office for the rest of the afternoon. That leaves either the early morning or evenings for your Monday to Friday workouts. How do you find balance? How can you spend quality time on yourself and also on the family?
It’s all about balance. For instance, on the weekends, wake up VERY early, say 0530 to do your 3 hour bike ride or 2 hour long run. You’ll be home in time to make everyone breakfast, spend quality time with the family and not knock a huge hole in the plans that they themselves made for the weekend. On weekdays, try to either get up early or schedule your workouts for later in the evening, after dinner and even better, after the kids are asleep. Keep your spouse in mind as well and make sure that you are spending quality time with him or her. If necessary, don’t be selfish. Reschedule your workout for another time or skip it entirely. When you really think about it, it’s not going to have that much of an impact if you skip a day once in a while. You’re an age-grouper not a pro.
Here are a few ideas that you might want to consider to ease the burden and impact that your training might having on your family:
- Invest in a bike trainer- I have one and love it. It’s in our TV room and lets me get a killer workout in while still being able to interact with the kids. Granted, it’s a little hard to help them with their homework but at least you’re there in the same room. and can have a conversation with them. Also from a quality of workout point of view, an hour on the trainer is worth at least 75-80 minutes on the open road because you don’t have to keep stopping for traffic and pedestrians.
- Get a Treadmill- OK, this isn’t always an option for many people because of the cost factor but it sure is worth it.. for me at least. MultisportGeek Tip: If you do get a treadmill, make sure you get the extended warranty because these things always require tweaking and repairing. This was the smartest decision that we made for many years when it came to purchases.
- Get your spouse involved- What better way to spend time with your spouse AND get your training in then to have him or her join you? If not join you, then at least start their own workout routine. It’s much easier for them to understand where you’re coming from training-wise if they are involved in the same or similar sport. Spouse is not a runner? Have them follow you on a bike!
- Get your kids involved- I’ve got my kids involved in swimming and am really encouraging them to develop their skills. This is part of a three part strategy: 1. My own training is setting a good example for them to follow 2. It gives them something to do and a feeling of pride and accomplishment 3. You never know is a Stanford swimming scholarship is in their future. I also started taking them to the track with me on my track workouts. I would run and they would have a chance to goof around, ride bikes, etc. I also take the time to work with each of them on their stride, give them some pointers, and see if I can foster any interest on their part to perhaps become involved in multisport themselves.
- Communicate in advance your plans- This is the most important factor in maintaining a happy, multisport household. Make absolutely sure that your wife or husband if fully aware, in advance, of your plans, be it racing or training. Dropping a last minute “Honey, I’m going on a 4 hour bike ride” will only lead to tension so plan it out in advance and make sure that they are aware of it. At home, we have a datebook where all of the important family dates, appointments, etc are logged. I use this for training purposes as well to plan both my races and workouts. My wife knows what I intend to do well ahead of time and we can work out the logistics of the weekend so that everybody’s plans are covered. Plus, the datebook doubles as a handy workout and race reporting record.
Got any other ideas that you would like to share? Please let me know by dropping a comment.