Jardin Westchester Triathlon

HOW TO BE A SUPPORTIVE PARENT TO A TRIATHLETE

THE TRIPARENT…This was a category of trisupporter I had not really thought about – especially the triparent to the single triathlete.  What really brought it home to me was meeting a lot of you last year at races.

I was first introduced to you through Karen, who stood next to me at Rev3 Quassy and was there cheering on her daughter for the first time.  Karen was so proud and excited and wanted to share with everyone!  Next, I had the great fortune of chatting with Elizabeth at Ironman Arizona, who was enjoying her very first triathlon.  Then, seriously, it dawned on me that our very own Jodi and Lindsay fall into this category.

jodi and lindsay at ironman kansas

After this knock on the head, came the realization of how special you guys are.  Being a single triathlete can be lonely at races if you don’t have friends or family there cheering you on.  And, especially at destination races, it’s hard to ask friends to tag along, because it’s not as if you can really play tourist or party hard prior to the race and they may not understand.  Perhaps they can join you for the race and then everyone can vacation after…

But, it’s not just at the races where support is needed.  There’s also support for the lifestyle in general and its many facets, such as training and finances.  This is where the triparent can excel.

So, here are 5 tips I got from you, the triparents, on how to best lend your support to your single triathlete.

Ask To Attend A Race – Yes, I said ask, because your triathlete may be reluctant to ask YOU for a multitude of reasons.  But, this can be of benefit to both of you.  For your triathlete, they get to have someone to travel with, play sherpa, and hear someone yell, “Go Lindsay.”   For you, if you don’t already know what a triathlon is all about, this is your chance to experience it firsthand.  And, if you aren’t the triathlon novice, this is your chance just to be that darn good parent.

greenwich triathlon cup

Offer To House/Pet/Kid Sit – If you live close by or could travel, offer your services to the triathlete who needs sitting help, especially if they want to attend a destination/international race.  This will allow your triathlete to relax and enjoy the race knowing everything at home is under control.

Be Supportive Of This Lifestyle – Being a triathlete takes a lot of time both for training and races.  So, you have to realize that they may not be as attentive to the family as they used to be.  When they come home for a visit, just accept the fact that they probably have to maintain a training schedule and may have dietary requirements.  If they don’t have that second piece or maybe even first piece of pumpkin pie, don’t take it personally.

Give A Gift That Counts – This should thrill you!  You now have gift giving covered for many years to come and guess what – they’ll actually be gifts they want.  Ask what they need and you may find out they could use an entry fee for a race or a new wheel.  This is an expensive sport and the single triathlete is often young and just starting out, so money may be tight.  An easy gift/care package is a goody bag filled with little things they use everyday, like bars, GU, and tubes for bike tires.  Trust me, it will always be appreciated.  All Sport 3 triathlete gifts

The Triathlete Parent – There is a special category reserved just for the triathlete parent.  Here you have two choices:  You can be as Lindsay suggested, the coach, sounding board, emotional nurse, tough love training partner, medical advisor, Ironman travel manager, etc. or you can be the know it all who always gives unsolicited advice.  I know which one will be most appreciated!  You have a unique perspective to offer your child, so take advantage, just be respective!

Ironman 70.3 World Championships

Okay, we’re adding a tip of our own for all you triparents out there.  Make sure your triathlete wears some sort of id tag, such as RoadID and its eCrumb tracking app.  Seriously, use your parental influence – yes, we’re sure you still have some – and make sure they never go out for a run or bike ride without it!  We learned the hard way and don’t want you to….

 – THE TRIWIVESCLUB

TRIPARENTS: WHAT TIPS DID WE MISS?

TRIATHLETES: WHAT SUPPORT WOULD YOU LIKE FROM YOUR PARENT?