I started this site 10 years ago after doing my first triathlon in 2001. My goal for this site is to get people healthy and happy. I firmly believe that triathlon is the best 'sport' for your body as it has less impact then the more popular single sport(running) while incorporating your upper body from swimming allows for a balanced-body approach to fitness.
The Balanced Triathlete - Two New 8 Week Triathlon Training Plans
Looking to still be active in triathlon but create more free time to spend with your family or on other activities? These two plans could be for you.
Have you been doing triathlons for a year or more and feel like you don't have enough time in the day anymore? Do the days start blurring together like this: 'wake up, go to work, train, get home, see spouse and kids for a little, go to bed exhausted, repeat?
Do you feel fulfilled at the end of the day?
Are you really happy?
Is your family seeing you enough?
Is your spouse starting to have issues with your training?
Are you being realistic in your training and race goals or just plain selfish?
These are the questions I have been pondering for the last 5 years. It has only been the last year that I have started to figure out some answers and then only the past 6 months that I have taken action. The thing is, you CAN triathlon and have a wonderful, satisfying family life and actually be available for your family and give your children a lot of time and memories together.
Hobbies such as triathlon are great to have, but like any hobby it's easy to get carried away and want more, more and then some more. It's easy to justify triathlon training because it is 'healthy' - it's healthy to a point and not healthy when you are out training at the expense of your family.
In today's society, the family unit is coming increasingly under fire. Partly because both parents are now working, and usually more than 40 hrs per week. So after work and training, your family is just getting some of your 'leftover time' when you get home - and by then you are tired. I would like to change this as our children and spouses are so important for the future. Though this is just my opinion, I would say that there is a direct correlation between the time spent with our children and the ultimate happiness of the family. Meaning, the more time we spend with them, the less negative 'issues' we have with them and the easier it is to get along with them and be the parents that we need to be. This leads to more trust and respect of you by your children.
My answer to this are two new training plans created by Mike Ricci and I to cut back our triathlon training so that it amounts to little more than going to the gym for an hour every day - which we all should be doing anyways. All of this training time saved can go back to the family. There are two plans:
You can find and use them in the 'Programs' page. I thought we had all the plans we needed here, but after a lot of reading and soul searching over the last year on my part to achieve a more balanced lifestyle using my own version of a 2x balanced plan + strength, we decided to add two more plans to the mix. Plus I have a feeling that many of you are in the same boat as I am and want to create more free time but don't quite know how.
The premise of these plans is to get our tri-sports down to 2x per week per sport with only key sessions. This will enable us to free up some time for family and personal growth while keeping us in a 'race-ready maintenance mode'. These plans can be repeated indefinitely. We don't plan on a balanced HIM or IM as the nature of the necessary training goes against what we are trying to achieve here since the hours needed to train are so much more (make sure that your affairs are in order so that you won't negatively affect your marriage/family before training for HIM's and IM's).
Besides the workout and plan structure that Mike Ricci created, I added an optional weekly 'lifestyle' section. These sections are simple concepts and ideas to be performed everyday that will free up more time for you to spend with your family. Of course these ideas are based off of my life and what has worked for me, but the concepts are general and easily adaptable to the single people out there too. These ideas will also work on personal development and on achieving a much more balanced lifestyle. These weekly ideas build on each other so that by the end of week eight of the training plan, you should have free'd up at least an extra five hours per week for your family or for things that make you truly happy but just didn't have the time for. Remember, the goal of these plans is not to make yourself more efficient to replace the hours with more 'busy' hours of things that don't really enhance your life, but to create actual free time...to slow us down...to enjoy what really makes us happy and to create more happiness overall.
Speaking for myself, I was selfish early in my triathlon career training for an Oly at about 3x workouts per week plus strength. This almost ended my marriage and we didn't even have kids yet. It was my fault. I was always training and not spending time with my wife...exercise was getting addictive. If I didn't get a workout in, I was irritable and in a foul mood.. Triathlon ruled me. My wife didn't like the person I was turning into.
Last summer I signed up for the inaugural Beach to Battleship HIM, but after about three weeks on the plan and thinking ahead on the training demands, I bailed as my marriage with my wife was not up to par upon reflection and counseling. I did not want to repeat my past mistakes. I would like to do a HIM in the future, but I'm in no hurry.
These two training plans will hopefully serve the BT community well. A lot of us including myself probably have a good percentage of 'type A personality' within us and want to further challenge and better ourselves hence the lure of the triathlon. But, once in this sport, we must swallow some pride and try not to keep going longer and longer every year at the expense of our spouse and kids. If your marriage is not satisfying (or it just could be better) or you are not spending enough time with your kids, don't go long to further avoid the bad situation - or even just out of selfishness if your personal life is not balanced. Get on one of these plans, re-evaluate your life and priorities and work on that marriage and quality time with your kids. The HIM will be there. The IM will be there even if you have to wait until your kids are out of the nest.
Another way to look at it is if your marriage is not strong when the kids leave the house to pursue their dreams as adults - it's going to be that much tougher for you and your spouse once they leave if there are still issues that are preventing a satisfying marriage since the kids will not be around to distract the both of you from the real issues. So if you are married and have children - in the crib or in High School, think about making the investment into balancing your life, giving your spouse and children as much time as you can give them. You can do that with these two plans and still train, race and be fit.
I would and have argued that triathlon is the greatest sport for your body. But triathlon, like many hobbies/sports, can be a double-edged sword as it can detract from family if not properly regulated. These two new training plan additions will keep you in racing form allowing you to focus more on your family while still keeping your body in EXCELLENT shape.
Click on star to vote