I have limited free time for family and training. How can I balance the two so that it’s worthwhile and fun for everyone?
I consulted a few of my time-strapped friends on how they integrate spouses, kids and pets into their training. They all have interesting, unique solutions to fit their lifestyles.
Alternate racing seasons
Seton and Debbie Claggett own TriSports.com, and are both competitive triathletes. They alternate years in which one of the pair gets to prioritize training and racing. Neither is sure if they actually sat down and developed this plan or if it just evolved, but it has worked well for this family of four: One year mom gets to race, next year it’s dad’s turn.
“Doing it this way has relieved what could have been a ton of stress from our relationship,” Debbie says. “There is no arguing about who gets to ride when, who is responsible for getting the kids to school, etc. It’s just understood that if it’s my season, I get the prime training time and he has primary responsibility for the day-to-day operations of the household, and vice versa.”
The other partner still manages to keep fit and stay active—the couple will drop the kids off at school and go for a run together—but most of the “off-year” training consists of easy runs, bike commuting and swimming with the kids. This strategy also has other benefits: Since only one of the couple is seriously training at a time, they can share training tools such as power meters, heart-rate monitors and even a time-trial bike. As the kids get older they get to join in the racing in the baby jogger and bike trailer, or cheering on the sidelines.