>When Life Gets In The Way of Tri

>Like so many other triathletes, triathlon is not my job.  It’s a hobby – and frankly one of many “things” that I do.  I have a career – one that often times requires me to invest copious time due to lots of work &/or travel (or both).  I’m a husband.  A father to three kids.  A friend.

Life in the TriMadness household can be chaotic.  As any parent will tell you, my kids get a lot of my time.  I have three kids, and they are all involved in sports of one variety or another.  For example, my oldest daughter is a cheerleader.  My son is a swimmer and plays lacrosse.  My youngest daughter plays soccer.  We have something going on literally every night of the week.  Sports practice.  Church.  Errands.  Often, some of our events and activities overlap, but when they don’t much of my free time gets vacuumed up.  Take this coming weekend, for example.  On Saturday we have a mid-morning soccer game, followed by an early afternoon lacrosse game.  After that, I have to tackle a “honey-do” list as long as my forearm.  Sunday morning will be tied up with a swim meet.

Trust me, I’m not griping about it.  I truly love watching my kids play sports.  I enjoy spending quality time with them – whether its playing a spirited game of Jenga, getting destroyed by one of them on the Wii, shooting hoops, catching a movie. Whatever.  I really enjoy time with my wife and our friends.  We eat out.  Have a beer (or several) together.  Celebrate life.

So why the heck am I writing about all this?  It’s because all of the “stuff” in life sometimes gets in the way of triathlon.  I find it really tough to fit in high quality training. 

How do I work it all in, then?  You see, I’m not a morning guy. I am not one of those fellows that rises at 5:00 with the birds and takes in a 2 hour workout before going to work. I just can’t get my tired bones out of bed.  So I try to find balance.  For example, I will often snag a run workout in while my son is at lacrosse practice.  I’ll swim while he’s at swim practice (which is often very demoralizing, because all the middle school kids totally kill me in the pool).  I’ll hit the bike trainer at 9pm at night.  Whatever it takes.

I also am not selfish enough to not change my race schedule when I need to.  Again, take this weekend.  Tomorrow is the annual Gate River Run here in Jacksonville.  It’s probably the largest road race in town – and happens to be the 15k national championship.  If you check my race schedule, you’ll find it there.  You just won’t find me running the race.  I’ve dropped it in favor of a soccer game.  There are at least two other races on my schedule (including one of my “A” races) that are at risk, too.

Occassionally, I feel like I’m selling myself short when it comes to triathlon.  I know that so long as I keep this approach to training I’ll never be more than a slowpoke.  I will never vie for a podium spot.  And I’m OK with that.  Nevertheless, I’m constantly in awe of how other triathletes seem to train more, race more, and have more involved lives than I. 

I think I’ve got the right formula…I just wonder how everyone else gets it all in.  So my question for you is how do you manage to get it all done?  How do you juggle work, family, and life in general with triathlon?


13 thoughts on “>When Life Gets In The Way of Tri

  1. >We don't have kids, but try to do the same thing you do – just fit everything in where we can. Take time off when we have to for family or each other. Try to find a way to make it all work πŸ™‚

  2. >This is one thing that has always bugged me about group rides and training. Saturday mornings I take our 2-year-old to breakfast and gymnastics, so I can't do Saturday morning groups. Sundays are for church. Both days I try to get in decent rides during nap time. I spend many lunches at the gym running, swimming and an occasional spin class. Otherwise it is late-night trainer rides.

  3. >I think you are making the right choices. My son is in college and my husband works all the time so I don't have those things pulling me away anymore. That works now but it wasn't always that easy!

  4. >I'm a morning person all the way, so I'm usually done with training before the kids get up. Don't know how it would be possible otherwise.

  5. >You and I have talked about this in the past and I am always in awe of you guys who do this with children. You got your priorities straight Joel – but I am telling ya – the 4am wakeups are pretty awesome once you get used to it (-:

  6. >I'm pretty sure all of us age groupers can agree with this post. Although I don't have a family (yet), I often want to hang out with non triathlon friends, get a beer, and my training is compromised. BUT I think about the life that I'm living and know that I'm enjoying every bit of it. I have heard of marriages falling apart because one of the spouses devotes TOO much time to training. that is just wrong. Have a great weekend – enjoy the soccer game!

  7. >If you ask me, you've got it 100% right. My family is always first in my mind. I'm lucky in that with my kids the age they are I can spend time with them AND train (I love the little on in the baby jogger, bigger one on his bike workout – he rides so fast anymore it kills me to keep up!). I have a friend who used to ride his bike on the trainer outside at his son's baseball and soccer games. I'm planning on doing the same when it's our kids time. For now I'm learning to love 4:00, after about a month it got a little easier. πŸ˜€ A podium spot isn't worth crap if you have to sacrifice your family's happiness to get there!

  8. >Great post! BTW I referenced it in my own blog post today. I'm in a bit of a different boat, but as a lot of folks have mentioned, early alarms are a standard in my house during the heavy training season. Balancing anything and triathlon training is tough.

  9. >As a father of 2 and a plan for a 3rd, as a first time 70.3 triathlete this year training hard, and as someone still working to get healthy and lose another 40 pounds (down 130~ so far) I completely understand what you're saying. It's hard getting up early or working out late … maybe even trying to get a workout in at lunch. I'd rather play with my kids then miss out on the experience of them growing up. I still have aspirations and make sure that when I do workout though that I give it 110% to make it worth the time I have.In the end family comes first and we'll do our best to race given the lives we live. We'll have fun and keep competing with everything we have. Keep it up!!!

  10. >I think that balance is the hardest part of being a triathlete. From what I know of you, you are doing a great job! πŸ™‚ I have mad respect for any triathlete that can work and have a family.

  11. >I love this post and discussion. Despite the issues that the balancing act presents, reading your experiences and the comments here gives me hope for the future when I decide to add kids to the (ever growing) equation.Thanks for a great blog! Check mine out sometime if you can fit it in :)http://trigeeksingingjo.blogspot.com

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