When you’re training for an important endurance event and you have a family, it can get downright challenging when trying to balance your family time and training time. On one hand, you don’t want to miss, say, your daughter’s soccer game Saturday morning, but you also need to get in your 70-mile bike ride to get ready for your upcoming triathlon. And your spouse may want you both to go out with friends Saturday evening, but you need to be in bed early for your 5 a.m. run on Sunday.
Here are some pointers that may help you steer you through these rough training and family waters over the next 4-6 months.
1. Family Meeting
Before you embark on the training journey, have a family meeting to explain to everyone what your goals are and why you want to train for this particular event. Make sure you let your kids and spouse know that it’s important to you that you have their support on this. While you may be the one who will physically do the event, you need their emotional support through this training just as much.
2. Try to Work Around Your Family’s Schedule
While this is a personal goal for you, don’t forget that life will go on for the rest of the family. They still need your support as well. If that means running at 5 a.m., so you can make your kid’s 8 a.m. tee-ball game, then do it. If it means you can only squeeze in a 30-minute workout instead of the 60-minute one you planned on, because you need to drop of your daughter at her music lesson while your wife takes your son to karate, then so be it. Remember, while it would be nice to be able to solely focus on your training, this is just not practical with a job and family commitments.
3. Inspire Your Family to Workout More
Maybe you’re doing this endurance event to lose some weight and get in shape – model for your family a healthier lifestyle. If that’s the case, then try to get your kids or spouse out there for part of your workout or go out for a family walk after dinner. Maybe have the kids bike next to you as you run. Make a game out of your training – where everyone can participate. Something like, for every 10 miles you complete your family members needs to do 1 mile of running, walking, biking, swimming, etc. Of course, make sure the goals are attainable for all parties involved.
4. “Walk the Walk” Don’t Just “Talk the Talk”
Perhaps point number three isn’t working for you and you are getting serious resistance from the family, who maybe are not as physically active as you would like them to be – and up until recently, neither have you. In that case, you just need to let your actions speak for themselves. Maybe you’ve tried exercising in the past, but always gave up before seeing any real results. So you need to commit this time before your family drinks the “endurance Kool-aid“. Once they see how you look healthier, feel better about yourself and actually look forward to your 2-hour+ rides/runs, their tune will most likely change. Plus, how proud will they be of you when you cross that finish line – you just may inspire one of them to do your next endurance race with you!
5. Find Ways To Pitch In More
While you are spending up to as much as 10-20 hours of training a week (away from home, most likely), you need to find ways to pitch in to get some more buy-in from the rest of the family. Tell the spouse you’ll do the groceries after your ride because you’ll be next to the supermarket, anyway. With a bit more energy now from your fitness regimen, you probably will be more open to (and physically able to) assist your kids with things like shooting hoops, catching the football, volleyball setting, batting practice, etc. The object here, as previously mentioned in point number 2, is not to lose sight that your family still needs your help, too.
Those are some points to take in. Hopefully, you found them helpful. Share with us what you do to keep a good family-training balance.