Juggling triathlon training commitments along with work, school, and relationships can be challenging for all. However, for those with young families, also being an engaged and focused parent adds an additional layer of complexity. Children are a ton of fun and are only young for a short period of time, so you want to spend a lot of time with them. As well, children come with many needs for support, whether is the feeding and changing of younger ones, the homework and recreational activities of older, or the all around presence and support, being a good parent means time.
One solution for making training time possible while spending time with the kids and helping them to be healthy is to integrate your children into your triathlon lifestyle. In fact, for myself it was the other way around, and the kids were the ones who talked me initially into swimming, and more recently cycling at the Forest City Velodrome. What seems to work well is combining activities where kids and parents find a shared passion.
Making triathlon a family affair can take a number of forms. Perhaps your kids enjoy swimming, biking, and running, and it’s a matter of finding a local triathlon club that is family friendly (such as Balance Point Triathlon in my area). Alternatively, there is a good chance your kids will relate to at least one of the three sports of triathlon, so you can try for combined workout times. The pool is often the easiest, as parents and kids can either attend open family swim times, or parents can swim while kids are in lessons. I have found the same simplicity with track running workouts, as the kids can lap at their own preferred pace but are always close in sight. The bike can be a bit trickier as kids don’t necessarily ride at a pace that gives you a workout, but why not have them ride along with you while you run, or put their bike on a trainer to make winter spins a family affair.
Race days themselves can be a bit tricky, as spectating isn’t terribly engaging, particularly over the longer distances. So, picking destination races that involve holiday time for them and racing time for you can make a world of difference. Or, maybe they want to do their own races such as the Tri Kids series in Ontario, Canada.
Overall, combining training and family time helps the whole family be active and engaged in a common passion. It turns training time from time apart to time together. See if you can find ways to make family life a benefit to your training, not one more thing to juggle.