Triathlon training is tough no matter what and we know we don’t really have to tell you that. Many people work out two times a day and it can get really hard if you live with a partner, wife, and/or kids. Especially the kids!
Think about the hours you put in training alone. Now, figure in those hours you spend preparing to work out; getting water bottles ready, changing, psyching yourself up, reviewing your workout plan, travel time often, and getting your nutrition ready. Then, there’s the post workout routine; cool down, clean up, eat, and shower. So, you really have to add at least a 1/2 hour to that workout. And, many days you have to repeat…
Family plays a huge role in triathlon training and just because you have been doing triathlons and now have a toddler in the mix, does not mean you have to stop doing triathlons. It just means you should do it differently. You need to talk to your spouse/partner and figure out a routine that works for everyone. We’ve been there and had to figure out what worked best for our families. We know there are things you can do to make it easier for all members of the family.
So, here’s how to manage triathlon training with toddlers like a pro:
Streamline your pre and post workout routines. Spend some time on Sunday during nap time – their’s not yours – to prep your workout nutrition and bags for the week. This will save a ton of time during the week. Make sure you have a good bottle brush and drying area that makes clean up easy as well.
Keep your routines consistent, but be flexible. Make it so that the same workouts are happening on the same days each week. This makes it easier on your partner to expect that each Tuesday and Friday are early morning swim days and to expect you not to be around in the mornings. But, if you have a sick one, you may need to be flexible to help with the morning routine. Remember that one day of missed or adjusted training is not the end of the world. If you work with a coach, let them know what days for swim and long rides work best for your family. A good coach will ask you about your family obligations in planning your schedule. Kids are creatures of habit and love to know what to expect as well.
Make your toddler part of your workout area. If you have set up space in your home for triathlon training, add space for your toddler. Move a small TV or computer into the space where you can ride your bike and your toddler can watch their favorite show for a bit while you ride. We moved a couch and a table with toys and arts and crafts to the area and it really worked out well. So, although you are peddling away, you can still talk with and interact with your toddler.
Make your toddler part of your workout routine. Set up a towel or yoga mat for them and let them stretch with you. You are their idol and their hero, so workout together. This not only incorporates them into your workout, but encourages them to lead a healthy lifestyle. Start them out young and they will never stop. You can even get the dogs into the act!
Set up rules as in “no touch” zones. This is so, so important for both you and your toddler. Kids like to know what to expect and know their boundaries. It might take a bit of time with little ones. One of the best things we can tell you to do for your sanity and your child’s safety is to take colored tape and make a “daddy/mommy” only zone. This is the area around your bike or other equipment where the kids are not allowed; period, end of story. Do not worry you’re being mean. You are being safe.
Get a runner stroller. We know your training plan calls for runs. Figure out which days and which runs are best for you to load up the stroller and take your toddler with you. If you work with a coach, talk to them about the added impact of pushing the stroller. You may need to go a bit shorter for the same workout. Make sure the stroller is full of toddler accessible snacks and a water bottle. Get a sturdy one like the BOB Ironman Single Stroller. We also recommend making sure you have sunscreen, a hat, and a few toys that are attached in some way, so that you are set for the longer runs.
Make a toddler friendly workout chart. We suggest using a large poster board of the month with stickers of a bike, pool, and running. You can have your toddler put up smiley face stickers over the workout when you are done.
Do your workouts when they’re in bed. This may force you to get up a bit earlier or stay up later, but will give you that extra time with them. It doesn’t have to be for every workout, but throw in a few of them now and then.
Plan an outing. You can do this on the weekend after your bike or run. Come up with a place you all can meet after your workout and your family can be waiting for you, with a sign of course, as you roll or run in. Then you can have a picnic and all go home together.
So see. When you have to train for a triathlon, raise a toddler, and sleep, you can have it all…Well, it sounds good anyway!
WHAT TIPS DO YOU HAVE FOR TRAINING WITH A TODDLER IN THE FAMILY?
Sherry is one of the TriWivesClub and LifeDoneWell co-founders and contributes to multiple blogs. She is a former co-owner of the California Apparel News and had a career in the healthcare industry. Her passions include traveling, real food, the environment, and animal rescue/welfare. She lives a healthy lifestyle and has been a vegetarian since 1987. She and her husband are parents to two rescue pups and reside in Connecticut.