Written by Joe Herman, Rev3 Ambassador Team Member, husband and father
As anyone that has raced a triathlon (especially long course) will tell you, training for race day requires commitment, dedication, discipline and time. Sometimes, the demands of training can create conflicts with family commitments, and can put a strain on even the healthiest marriage. I have put together some things that have helped me navigate these conflicts and minimize the impact that training has had on my home life:
1. Understand and communicate your training needs up front: Whether you have access to a coach or not, download some sample training plans for the race you have in mind and ensure that your partner understands (and accepts) the commitment that you are about to take on, and understands what it will mean to them. Put key workouts on a shared calendar (Google Calendar works great for this) so that your spouse is aware of what you have on the schedule.
2. Be flexible: Realize that your family is dynamic, and plans and circumstances may change on a moment’s notice. Realize that you may have to miss a key workout, or do it at another time if your family needs you. Having that flexibility top of mind will ensure that your training isn’t viewed as an obstacle (or becomes the target of resentment). Just like you need to adjust your plans for the weather, you need to be prepared to be flexible with your plans to accommodate those of your family.
3. When you are present, be present: Training takes a lot out of you. Make sure that the time you spend with your family is quality time. For me, that means getting my post-workout nutrition, a shower (and a short nap if feasible) so that I’m refreshed and ready to spend time with my wife and kids. My wife and kids know to give me some space to get my basic needs taken care of, then I’m all theirs. If I’m hungry, tired and irritable after a workout, I need to fix that (quickly) before I move on to family time.
4. Find ways to include the family in this journey: There are more ways than I could count to make this happen. Choose races that are at family destinations, purchase race clothing or other souvenirs for your family (make them feel like they are a part of your team), or find ways to incorporate workouts into family plans (plan a long ride to end up at the location of a family activity). I try to find opportunities for kids races, so that my children can feel that they are training with me. A big part of why I do this is to role model positive behaviors for my children.
5. Make sure to show your gratitude to your partner (and your kids): You put yourself through a lot to compete in this sport. Spouses often wind up bearing a lot of it, whether it’s time spent without you, or having to manage the kids solo. It is really important to stop once in a while and show gratitude for the support that you are getting from your spouse (or else that support may be short lived). Make sure your spouse also has opportunities to do the things that are important to them.
Training can take a toll on even the healthiest family, but good planning, communication and consideration can go a long way on keeping the family together, and supportive of your goals.
Joe is a husband, father and triathlete based in Northern New Jersey. As a returning member of the Rev3 team, Joe is passionate about the brand and the community built around it. When Joe isn’t swimming, biking or running, he can be found in the kitchen (cooking) or volunteering at his local Fire Department.