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Tips for Balancing Training, Work, and Life as a Triathlete Parent

The most common question I get about my training is how I find the time to do it all. The truth is, it's not always easy. My journey as an athlete has ebbed and flowed the last Balancing work, training, and family life as a triathlete can be challenging, but it's definitely achievable with some strategic planning and prioritization.

getting a 70.3 bike course PR at Indian Wells 70.3
2022 Indian Wells 70.3

However, the one thing that has remained consistent for me is finding the time for myself to move my body. I haven't always had a race on the calendar (although for me, having SOMETHING I am training for keeps me motivated and also is just something I really enjoy doing...). But, for me, fitness isn't about suffering or being extreme. It is my therapy, my joy, and it brings me self-confidence and discovery with every training cycle and goal set.

That being said, training for an endurance event is hard. Training for an endurance event with a full time job and a family is harder.

. Here are some tips for balancing training and life to help you find that balance:

Finishing my first IRONMAN 140.6 - trained for it with working full time and being a parent to two daughters
IRONMAN Arizona 2021 - Full Family Support!

1. Create a Schedule: Plan your week in advance, blocking out specific times for work, training, and family commitments. This helps ensure that you allocate time to each aspect of your life and avoid overcommitting. I keep the same structure to my week most weeks so even my husband and kids generally know what Mom is doing on Thursday and Saturday mornings. I write down my workouts on a calendar so that it is literally scheduled like an important work meeting. If you had a 6am work meeting, you'd show up wouldn't you?

2. Prioritize: Identify your top priorities in each area—whether it's meeting work deadlines, completing key workouts, or spending quality time with family—and focus on those first. This may involve making some compromises in other areas, but it helps prevent burnout and ensures that your most important responsibilities are addressed. Sometimes this means changing your set schedule or rearranging workouts. That is OK! This is also where a coach can be helpful to help you figure out how to best arrange the week so that you are where you need to be.

3. Set Realistic Goals: Be realistic about what you can achieve within the constraints of your schedule. Set specific, achievable goals for your training and work, taking into account your other commitments. This helps you stay focused and motivated without feeling overwhelmed. You don't have to do what everyone else is doing.

4. Communicate: Keep the lines of communication open with your employer, training partners, and family members. Let them know about your commitments and discuss any scheduling conflicts or challenges that may arise. This helps manage expectations and ensures that everyone is on the same page. With my kids, I always sit down with my husband and talk about the kids' schedules for the week/weekend so we are on the same page of who needs to be where and when, and when I may need to squeeze in a longer training session or he may have plans or have to travel for work. Communication is very important so that nobody gets angry or hurt. I do my very best not to miss a game or swim meet for my daughters, but sometimes it is inevitable. If I do have to miss it, I ALWAYS communicate with them ahead of time as well.

Involving family in training helps keep everyone from getting resentful
Turkey Trot 2023 - a family tradition

5. Involve Your Family: Where possible, involve your family in your training and racing activities. This could mean including them in your workouts, cheering you on at races, or finding activities that you can enjoy together. Not only does this strengthen your bond, but it also helps them understand and support your triathlon pursuits. When I want to travel for a race, I discuss with my husband ahead of time and sometimes we try to make a family trip out of it. This makes it more fun for everyone. Having the familiar faces of my family at the finish lines always helps motivate me, too.

6. Be Flexible: Life doesn't always go according to plan, so be prepared to adapt and adjust when unexpected events occur. This might mean shifting your workouts to a different time of day or rearranging your work schedule to accommodate family commitments. Flexibility is key to maintaining balance in the face of changing circumstances.

7. Take Care of Yourself: Finally, remember to prioritize self-care. Make time for rest, relaxation, and activities that recharge your batteries, whether it's getting enough sleep, practicing mindfulness, or indulging in hobbies outside of triathlon. Taking care of yourself ensures that you have the energy and resilience to juggle the demands of work, training, and family life.

I hope this can help you. I will say that the longer I have been living this lifestyle, the more "normal" it feels... so much so that when I don't have a race on the calendar I feel weird and antsy. Having the dedication you have to have to properly train for an endurance event can help you be more successful in other aspects of your life as well.

By implementing these strategies, you can strike a healthy balance between work, training, and family life as a triathlete, allowing you to pursue your athletic goals while still meeting your other responsibilities and enjoying quality time with loved ones.

Having a coach to work with 1:1 is also invaluable in my opinion to helping figure out the right balance to meeting your goals, and still showing up to your life. If you want to chat more about coaching, I am happy to help.

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