Advice to a new triwife – Be prepared to run their errands…

We so loved your responses to our Hooked on Triathlons – The Making of a Triwife, that I decided to pose a question to fellow triwives/partners at Ironman Arizona.  Here were some of your responses both to the article and to my question, “What is the one, best piece of advice you would give to a new triwife/partner to handle life with a triathlete?”  Since many responses were similar – it’s great to know we have shared experiences – I’ve picked a few and divided them into lifestyle and race day words of wisdom.  Be sure to share with us what we missed…


  • To anyone just starting- Buckle up!  It’s an adventure!  My first experience with Ironman was extremely difficult.  But, we made it!  It taught us a lot about ourselves, each other, our difference in parenting styles (we had 2 in elementary), and our marriage.  It also taught me how much *I* am capable of doing on my own.  Now, our marriage is stronger and I am stronger.  You can do this!!  I think the ‘tripartner’ is always taken aback at the beginning regardless of their ages, stage in their lives, and how long they’ve been married. – Jen
  • Glad you’re having fun, but just beware of the time, as you will be surprised how many races are on your anniversary and birthday.  I guess my best advice is learn to live with one who becomes very selfish, it’s the nature of the beast with extreme training. – Susan
  • This was my husband’s first tri season…and I had NO idea what we were in for!  The training was one thing, but the exhaustion from the training, and the preoccupation were also rough.  Definitely set boundaries, even more important with younger kids.  We have 3 and 5 year old boys, so race days were an interesting combination of fun, boredom, frustration, and excitement.  All that said, it’s amazing to see them accomplish such big goals!  The boys and I were so proud to see him finish and place in his age group the first year; such a great role model for our kids! – Rebecca

    Dad as super role model....

    Dad as super role model….

  • I would wholeheartedly recommend that he work with a coach who can help him ramp up to the full IM distance safely, which is very difficult at older ages and with past sedentary years.
  • Figure out when he needs to talk through issues out loud, even if you are only nodding occasionally; when he needs to talk to someone who actually knows something about his dilemma and can offer real help; and when he needs to be alone.
  • Recognize that this is a HUGE time AND monetary commitment.  Have the discussion BEFORE it gets going, how you as a couple and/or as a family will be affected and will handle his being gone or busy a lot and the expenses.  Sacrifices will have to be made by you and the kids.


  • Never let him do a half or longer unaccompanied.  I’ve seen too many med tent visitors who got dehydrated, cramping up, etc., and shouldn’t be driving themselves home, etc.
  • Do your own pre-race course recon, because those thoughtfully placed port-a-johns are for the athletes, not the spectators!
  • Do your research ahead of time and have things planned for you and the kids to do during the race.  Don’t expect the race to be the entertainment!


    Enjoying one of the roller coasters at Cedar Point for the Rev3 race.

  • Know where you are going to meet post-race, no matter what else doesn’t work with the plan during the rest of the day.
  • Post race updates on his FB page to inform all of his buddies, so they don’t wear down your phone battery calling/texting you!
  • Buy a portable external charger; no phone battery outlasts a 17-hour event, during which you have been checking the athlete tracker pretty much continuously ever since he got out of the water.  And, if he has buddies in the race, you will need to know their current status for when he asks the next time he runs by you!