Trying to fit exercise into your daily routine can be a challenge, add work and family into the equation and it can pose an even bigger challenge. I’m writing this blog to tell you that it can be done and you don’t need to feel like your life is spinning out of control while doing it (although sometimes on really bad days it may feel like it).
My husband (Joe) began consistently training for triathlons 3 years ago. What I mean by “consistently” would be working out every day, one or two times a daily. I didn’t mind it really. Most days he completed one of his workouts before the kids and I got out of bed in the morning. The other workout was done around our family schedule. I was strictly running at the time and was not interested in doing triathlons, so I would usually run when he arrived home from his early morning workout. This is how our household ran BEFORE I started triathlons. Now for the past 2 years my husband and I both try to fit in our daily workouts, work, and raise our 2 boys together. Some of the things that we found helpful are as follows:
Communication – Communication is what I think is the most important key to making the triathlon world and family world align. Here is how we do it. A monthly calendar with the kids school and extra activities hangs on the side of the refrigerator. My “Training Peaks” weekly schedule is printed and posted on the refrigerator for all to see (mainly it is here for myself, but I think Joe looks at it on occasion to see if I’m doing my workouts). In the evenings, we typically will talk about what we have going on the following day for work, the boys’ activities, and discuss what our plan is to make sure we get our workouts in.
Flexibility – This is a must! I work part time (20 hours a week/with flexible hours), and Joe works full time (with longer set hours and traveling). Joe usually gets the dibs on his ideal training times and I typically try to work around his schedule and what the boys have on their schedule. It’s what makes the most common sense to us.
Sacrifices – In a lot of ways! Our boys are 10 ½ and 8. They are very active in basketball and baseball. We make it our priority to get them to practices and games. Sometimes that means getting up on weekends at 3:00 a.m. to get a workout in before we have to leave for tournaments. Sometimes we get to travel as a family, but most of the time it is Joe taking one boy and I taking the other. That is just our angle on it.
The boys have a different angle. Often times they end up spending time the track for our track workouts. We encourage our boys to run laps with us, but most of the time they are throwing the football, kicking balls and making up their own games of one-on-one baseball. Other times, if I have an easy 30-45 minute run I will do laps around our subdivision, which is just over a mile long circle. This allows the boys to “participate” with me. I call it their kid version of a triathlon. Typically they will do the first loop with their scooter, second loop with their bike and third loop running. Depending on how long my run is, they will bike more laps. The local YMCA is my kids second home. They spend about 1-2 hours a week practicing basketball or doing other boy activities while I get in my swims. They find the time enjoyable because they get to practice their skills on the court, although I try not too do this often, since it takes away from time I can be spending with them.
During the summer months, we often get babysitters to watch the boys so that we can get our workouts done at the same time. This allows us to spend the rest of the together as a family. A lot of time in the summer, the boys like to go biking and it is something we all love to do as a family.
Triathlon training is a big commitment in someone’s life that requires communication, flexibility and sacrifice. Triathlon training is important to me and my husband. We also hope that by providing a good example of healthy lifestyle to our children we can have a positive influence on their lives as well.
Jen Yanda is a triathlete racing for the Wattie Ink. Elite triathlon team. She resides in Manitowoc, Wisconsin with her family.