Most Ironman Triathlon athletes or hopefuls with spouses and kids at one time or another struggle with the healthy balance of life, family, work and training.I recently stumbled upon a post from Fit Old Dog that sums up some good points, and I thought I would share some of his points and a few of my own ideas.
- Explain and re-explain the race season. - This is all good unless you have more than one Ironman or long distance endurance race. I've packed in my fair share for 2014 with the fundraising efforts, and I try to explain to myself and my family that this is not how every year will be. Heck, I was even going to take this year off from full ironman distances. Life changes... :)
- Replace selected 6-hour road rides with 3-4 hour trainer rides. - The premise is that trainer rides work you harder than road rides. They can, but you can't slide in a DVD of Kona 2010 and spin your way through it. You have to get higher intensity on the trainer if you want it to do anything for you. Fact is, trainer riding is more safe than road riding and you have the sense of being home should you be needed in a moment's notice.
- Try to minimize worry for your family - Check in on long rides and runs. Don't go off the radar for hours on end and let them know what your schedule is.
- Substitute intensity for volume. - I like this idea. I HATE junk miles. Don't do them unless each workout has a reason or objective. If you're looking for fitness, fine. If you're looking to finish an Ironman on 10 hours a week, you better get running HARD!
- Get buy in. - At this point, it probably goes without saying, if the family isn't on board, training and racing will be miserable for everyone. Get buy in before you even sign up... and yes, that may be a year down the road for an IM event. Don't spring it on your spouse 6 weeks before, "oh ya, signed up for Ironman Chattanooga. No biggie, just a few more miles in the workouts."
- Include your family in your workouts. - What 5 year old isn't entertained by a walk on a treadmill at 1 mile per hour while you spin on your trainer for a 60 minute ride? Get creative. Kids love to be active. Carry them around for some weight training. Drag them around the yard. Get them in there with you.
- Be completely present when in the family. - Guilty of this one. I need to do a better job myself, but it's oh so true. What time you do schedule for family activities, BE THERE! Don't be on your phone surfing triathlon tips or checking out ebay for a bike seat. Get triathlon off the brain and focus on the task at hand. The family deserves as much attention as your training.