does your triathlete have a case of gearitis

Lindsay Berkebile, of the Single 20-Something series, is back as a guest blogger and we’re thrilled. This time she is sharing her thoughts on how to travel home, do a bit of triathlon training, spend time with the family, AND still have fun. It’s never easy, but I think she’s figured it out…


I’m not used to the PA snow! Good thing I work at a A Runners Circle and was able to purchase running tights before hand!

With the holidays here…and the 2015 season approaching fast (and off season coming to an end), a common problem for triathletes, trisupporters, and family members is how to respectfully balance family and holiday time with training. How does one still Swim Bike Run when visiting family and traveling (and on a budget)? How does one not sacrifice family time and fun and not offend others by skipping out, because you “have to get in that swim and the pool is only open at 1pm for lap swim!” I have been on both sides; the triathlete visiting for the holidays AND being visited by a triathlete (before I drank the triathlon koolaid).

Here are my tips and tricks for tri-ing to train AND celebrate the holidays!

What to bring and how to plan for the trip.

Most people travel for the holidays. Some people drive, but I personally have to fly across the country from CA to PA. Either way, if you are staying over somewhere and need to pack a bag, it’s important to prioritize.

Bike: If you’re flying, bringing your bike is really expensive and if it’s a short trip, it’s not worth it. Also, if it’s icy or snowy outside you can’t even ride outside. See if you have a friend where you are going that may have a bike that can fit you and/or a trainer to spin on. It’s better than nothing! Or plan to do a long bike the day before or morning of and do a ride the day you return home. Just plan to swim and run while at home….or if there is a gym you can go to hop on the stationary bikes for an easy spin, if you must. But, I promise you won’t lose your cycling legs in a week, if you skip a few rides.

Lindsay and Guy on their computrainers.

My dad and I train together during the holidays with an hour Computrainer ride on a friend’s borrowed tri bike!

Swim: Research pools in the area where you are staying before you go. Try to get their lap schedules and prices. If you belong to the YMCA, you can go to any of their pools since you’re a member, without needing a day pass! Save the schedule of the pool or pools you choose or print them out to reference quickly. Leave your paddles/fins at home to save room in your bag…again…you won’t lose your swim shape without them for a week.

Run: Research the weather before you go and pack running gear accordingly! You can always wear your running shoes to travel in, if room is an issue in your luggage.

Cross training: If you lift or do plyometrics, I recommend downloading the Nike + Training Club app and doing those workouts at home while you’re visiting. It’s free, it all runs from your iPad or iPhone, and you can choose 15min to 60 min workouts! You want to save as much time as possible with your workouts, so you can maximize your visit. This is a great way to shave off time rather than going to a gym to lift.

How not to ditch your family to train.

It’s Saturday. You get up a 7am to do your long run, which ends at 9am. Then, you eat your nutrition and head to the pool, where lap swim starts at 11am and you do your workout, shower, and you’re back home at 1pm. But, your family is gone. You missed breakfast and lunch and now, they went for a fun winter hike without you, because they were tired of waiting. Don’t be this triathlete, please. You don’t have to sacrifice your training completely to be with your family.


Or wait your turn in the Endless Pool, so you can get your swim on.

Plan ahead. Know the plan for tomorrow or even better the whole week. If you know they want to go hiking tomorrow at 11am, then either get up early at 5 or 6 to get your run in and be back for breakfast, and then swim after the hike. Or, move your swim to Sunday afternoon when there is nothing planned and everyone is just hanging out. Be flexible. Plan ahead. Make your family plan ahead with you. Everyone wins.

Involve the family! Babysit the kids by bringing them for pool fun while you lap swim! A lot of pools have a few lap swim lanes and an open area still for kids to play in – again, you’ve researched this ahead of time! Invite the family to go with you and hang out at the pool with the kids, too! Have the family hike the trails while you run them! There are many ways you can multitask training AND spending time with the family. Get creative…

Dog walking during the holidays

Take the dog for a run!! It’s a win win.

How to handle training & family time when not everyone is a triathlete.

Some families (like mine) have multiple triathletes, runners, and/or swimmers in one house. It’s tempting to spend “family time” by having long, fun exercise sessions with your triathlete dad or Boston-qualifying sister. My dad and I plan all of our workouts together and it would be easy to have a “triathlon” holiday in his “Iron-Room triathlete playground”, which includes an Endless Pool and multitude of CompuTrainers and other equipment…But, that’s not fair to the rest of your family. You love them, too, right?! (Skip this tip if you’re trying to avoid your family as much as possible – hahaha – just kidding).

What I do is apply all the other tips. Still plan your workouts around family activities and try to involve others. My mom sometimes comes to the pool with my dad and I and times us for fun and we get brunch afterwards. But, make sure to carve out some special time that isn’t exercise related with others. For example, my mom and I might sneak away to see an artistic movie that my dad wouldn’t be interested in or we might go shopping or go eat sushi together. My dad and I have our training sessions together and my mom and I have our own special activities. It’s about balance!

Be flexible.

Remember, triathlon is a hobby. It’s okay to miss some workouts and eat pie and play. Don’t make triathlon your only reason for existing. That’s really not healthy!


Got my run in early so I could go to the football game! Bbbrrrrr!

Hopefully, these tips can help you figure out how to travel, train, be with your family, and still have fun! I’m lucky my dad is a triathlete (as you know), so much of my family time is spent training with him and the rest of the family understands my schedule! Besides, Thanksgiving pie counts as cycling nutrition right?!

Keep tri-ing you sexy triathletes you!

Xoxo Lindsay