Moms and Dads, here are the five ways I’ve learned to succeed at triathlon and keep the peace at home:
Wake up Early!
This is a tough one for a lot of parents. Most everyday triathletes work real jobs and get up early for work everyday. The last thing they want to do is wake up before sunrise on the weekends. Sure, I know your friends are going on a group ride at 10:00am. Tough. If you want to be a good great dad you have to get up early. Rise and shine, make yourself a quick breakfast, and start turning the pedals or pounding the pavement as soon as the sun peaks over the horizon. Do your absolute best to be home by the time the kids and your spouse are waking up.
Involve the Family
Do this as often as possible. The family won’t always want to go, especially if it’s a local race you’ve done numerous times, but having them there at the race is a family memory building experience. The kids can cheer and make signs and provide a welcome sign of relief in the late stages of a race. My family combined Florida 70.3 with a trip to Disney for Izzy’s 7th birthday. My wife has been to Boulder, CO, Honolulu, HI, Kansas City, MO, Charleston, SC and Austin, TX to see me race. Not too shabby. Find races that your kids might enjoy. Does it have a fun pool with fountains and slides for after the race? Bingo.
Don’t Bore Your Spouse with Tri Talk
I’m guilty of this. Most triathletes are. We want to talk about our run splits or the specifics of our workout or race. She doesn’t care. Really. She’s just glad you’re done and home or ready to get on with the day. Save your tri talk for your tri buddies.
Model Good Behavior
Your kids will be watching how you react. If you miss your goal by a few minutes or get beaten by your buddy and pitch a fit and spew a few choice curse words they’ll learn a lesson: act like a jerk when you don’t get what you want. Instead, when the race is over smile and hug your wife and kids. If you aren’t getting paid to do it, there shouldn’t be any stress. Enjoy the ride. Do your best, but in the end be grateful for the strength and health just to be out there. Show your kids how to have fun with sport. Remember, you want to teach your kids a healthy lifestyle. If you have to pitch a quick hissy-fit, go off by yourself and gather your senses and then get back to being a dad and role model.
Rest and Caffeine
You’re going to be tired. Remember, you’re waking up early…everyday. Take a two-pronged approach here: get ample rest when the opportunity presents itself. Are your kids down for a nap and your honey-do list done? Lay down on the couch and catch a nap. Try to get to bed by 9:00pm. No need to stay up until midnight reading work emails or watching “Baseball Tonight.” As a triathlete you can’t do that stuff. Sorry. When all else fails, hit the caffeine. You’ll find yourself in “zombie land” some days. You just finished a three hour ride or a 10 mile run at race pace. The rest of your day might amount to; wahwahwahwahwahwahwah. Been there. Hydrate quickly and then hit the coffee pot (or caffeine of your choice repeatedly). You don’t deserve a nap just because you pursued your hobby early that morning.
Tri-Dads, what are some other ways you’ve learned to balance your life? Feel free to comment below.
- Chad Nikazy (Husband, Dad, and triathlete)