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Training on a Time Crunch

This past weekend was so crazy busy that it’s Tuesday, and I just stopped flailing in all sorts of directions.  Wait – no… it’s FRIDAY.  Tuesday was when I started writing this darn post.  Good golly gosh.

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Sunday = Another great day leading the Indoor Cycling at PTS Sports!

[I will apologize in advance for the sheer number of “selfies” in this post. I was home alone with the kids all week–and Swim Bike Kid #2 wouldn’t help me out. 🙂  I feel that I must include photos. No one likes to read just text. So apology advanced. Moving on.]

I am seriously time-crunched lately.

More so than usual, it seems.  And with the Expert traveling this week, I was really struggling to fit in the workouts.  I had a great Fartlek run on Monday.  Actually hit THIS pace for my last three intervals! Woot!


…but the kids were little baby demons on Tuesday when I attempted a 1:30 ride—so I didn’t have much hope when I embarked on the trainer last night as “single” mom.

However, I had a crappy day at work, and the kids seemed kind of settled.  So I decided to make the ride a contest in the Tri-Fecta group.  Whoever “guessed” how long my actual ride time was, would win a new, snazzy SBM tech shirt.


Who knew that it would become probably the longest thread on the page ever.  (And thanks ya’ll for keeping me entertained the entire ride, too!)

I managed a FOUR hour trainer ride, only getting off the bike twice, so I was pretty stoked.  With only five weeks until Florida 70.3, it felt good to put a pounding on the legs.

Finally, the kids are at an age where they can “tolerate” me getting my workouts in. We did homework from the trainer. We did a few puzzles.  Watched “Frozen.”  It’s amazing what one can accomplish from the trainer “perch.”


Still, the main question that I receive from folks is:


This question becomes especially tough when you make the jump from Oly to 70.3 or Ironman.  (Here’s an older humorous post on this topic, too.)

And even tougher when you are the mom/wife/woman/mother/breadwinner/fill-in-the-blank-here AND the triathlete in the house. And lawd help you when you have TWO triathletes in the house.


Much of the learning to balance requires an assessment of your life and relationship.   And I didn’t forget my single moms….  Here’s a great post from Sarah at Chasing Down a Dream about how she, as a single mom, makes it happen:

Here’s an excerpt from my book about fitting it all in, especially as a married/partnered person….

There are three possible scenarios where you are a triathlete in your serious relationship:

1)      You are the solo triathlete in your family and your significant other is supportive.

2)      You are the solo triathlete and your significant other is not supportive or is indifferent.

3)      You are both triathletes.

While each category presents its own benefits and challenges, if you are the solo triathlete with the supportive significant other, you should count your lucky stars and never complain. NEVER!!!

If you have the unsupportive partner, what a tough road ahead—but take the road anyway—there are ways around it. Keeping the other non-tri-ing person’s feelings in perspective is important (this is your relationship, after all)—even if that person is unreasonable.  (But you may be dealing with a partner who doesn’t think you should have any time to yourself. We shall call him or her the BUTTHEAD.)

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And if you are both triathletes, be prepared for some of the strangest fights:

No, I get to swim first! Me! I’m first! Did you take the last water bottle? How could you be so inconsiderate?! What? You lost my Headsweats Ironman visor!!!!?? Get off my bicycle! Those are MY Huma gels! You are not getting a new helmet—I need one first!


No matter which category you fall under, it is all a personal battle and one that you must fight smartly and strategically.

The Solo Triathlete, Supportive Partner

I have a long-time girlfriend who is a stay-at-home mom. Her husband works full-time, but when he walks in the door, she takes off for training. On weekends? She’s gone riding and bricking and swimming. The dude drags the kids to the races to watch her race. He’s totally cool with it.  I think this cat is a rarity and she’s quite lucky to have undying support.

If you are in a similar situation, I think the danger is taking the saintly significant other for granted. Eventually, I would imagine he might tire of you being gone every available moment to spend time with your bike.


So, be grateful for what you have, but be careful not to take advantage or create a resentment that is unnecessary in your pretty-darn-perfect training world. And you should probably do some super nice things for that partner of yours, too—and I don’t mean cooking (although that is a nice start).

And by the way, you don’t need time management help. You have the holy grail.  Moving on.

The Non-Supportive Butthead Partner

You are living with a non-supportive butthead. You’re darn right that I don’t know you and I just called your partner a butthead.

This situation is the worst. You have a passion (triathlon) that benefits your life. But your significant other is negative, unsupportive, or abusive (or all three).

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These situations call for you to be a triathlon ninja. If you are not a ninja, you will never make it to your first (or next) race. Do not attempt to stick the butthead with the kids while you go on a bike ride. Do not even bother explaining to the butthead that you can’t cook dinner because you have a long run. You will be setting a time bomb.

Without delving into the issues that may be at the root of your relationship, you must bend over backwards to ensure that the other person is in no way inconvenienced by your triathlon dreams. You must complete workouts before he/she is awake. Learn to love the Crock Pot and cook every darn meal in it. Find other childcare for your race days. You must never leave him/her with screaming kids or dirty laundry while you go for a run. Sell your stuff on eBay to pay for your new triathlon suit. Don’t even leave room for him/her to say, “How much did that cost me?” (And don’t sell his/her stuff!)

Is this really fair? Heck no, Joe! But do you want to be a triathlete and still in a relationship, or what?

Remember that you cannot change the actions of others.

You can only change yourself and how you react to their actions. Get up super early. Squeeze in the workouts. Find ways to make quick meals, have laundry delivered to your office or whatever it takes. Make it happen and talk about your training with others who will be supportive.


You must find a way for your butthead partner to have absolutely no ammunition against you. (If you are in an abusive situation, then you should seek help and get out immediately. Find someone in your triathlon group, tell them you are being abused and move in with them. Then you can bike and train to your heart’s content. In all seriousness, seek help if you are in this situation.)

Finally, do not bother to tell your good triathlon stories to your partner if they will do nothing but rain on your parade. Find something else to talk about with him (like why he’s such a butthead…okay, not that).

The best you can hope is that your butthead partner will begin to see the changes in your life and warm up to the new you. Maybe he or she will even come along for the ride. We can hope for that. If he or she does join you—then you must implement a “no butthead” policy going forward and require that he/she be nice and supportive if he/she wants to come along and play with the cool people.

The Two Athlete Compromise

When you have two people training for triathlon, you must compromise often, and negotiate like in a constant hostage situation.

A two triathlete household is tough. Is it tougher than being married to someone who is not into triathlon? Who knows. But if you are asking your spouse or significant other to watch kids for hours on end or spend time alone much of the weekend, or take on the responsibilities of the house while you are out on your bike, you are either: 1) married to a saint (see the first scenario, above); or 2) cooking a recipe for disaster (see, the second scenario).

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For me, starting off back in 2010, I would have been just fine doing triathlon alone, without the Expert.

But I am also no fool in my house.

I knew that the man would never agree to let me vanish for five-hour bike rides and three-hour runs on a weekend saying, Have fun with the kids, sucker! He’s (admittedly) just not that kind of character. Not that I am smushing him into butthead land, but he’s definitely not of the saintly category when it comes to tri training.

The only way to live in harmony in my house with triathlon and the Expert…was to pull him into the sport with me. So I signed him up for races. He trained, we found babysitters, and he’s a triathlete too (who is allegedly signing up for his first Ironman for 2015!)

It’s not that the Expert would have been unsupportive of my triathlon dreams…it’s just he doesn’t want to be solo with the kids for seven hours while I’m out having a good ole time. And I can’t say that I blame him.   Parenting is the ultimate compromise that requires special care.


Now for a word about husbands and men, in general.  Sigh.

The Expert came along without much convincing. Again, he didn’t want to be stuck as the only babysitter. Some men may require more convincing (not nagging).

However, other men may come along just because they have something to prove.

Ladies, don’t think for a second that your sitting-on-the-couch man will like getting “chicked.” If you are out there kicking triathlon butt, and he’s sitting on his butt—eventually, his ego might not be able to take it—and he’ll come running just to prove that he can beat you (whether he can or not).

That may be one way to get him involved—pure and simple peer pressure. If he does come along and he’s having a coronary the first time he runs with you—go easy, let him “enjoy” the sport and focus on a team effort to bring him into triathlon. The long-run benefits for your family will be magical.

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As far as scheduling in the two-triathlete-house, the Expert and I have found that making a simple training/compromise calendar and sticking it on the refrigerator alleviates some of the arguments surrounding workout times.

On my early morning workouts, the Expert is home with the kids/taking them to school, or when we have a race coming up we may have a sitter come in early so we can both go workout. On his early morning workouts, then I am home with the kids and doing the school shuttling.

Our workout calendar has looked something like this:

Day of Week

Swim Bike Mom

The Expert


Long Ride / Run

AM workout

(gym with kids)



AM Workout


AM Workout

(Babysitter in early so both can train early)

AM Workout


AM workout

PM workout


PM workout

AM workout


AM workout



AM workout

(gym with kids)

Long Ride / Run

Regardless of your relationships and travel and life and work–there are ways to make it happen.

First, you must assess where you are and what your life is like.  Next, carve out little windows of opportunity for training.  And finally, do what you can–and let the rest go!

Happy Weekend, friends!



  • Ashley

    March 7, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    Love this post! I wish my husband would do triathlon, but he won’t. 🙁 Mr. Pro-Athlete does like to harp on me for my training though….I always get the, “What were your mile splits this morning?” and the “You can run faster than that, try harder next time.” It’s all good for him pushing me, just wish he would do it too! Because I know he’d kill it, and he’d totally be hot in a tri suit, haha. That may be TMI, oops.

    Thanks for this post!

  • strollerfreak

    March 7, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    Our house started off as a #1 house…with it being a “just this once” bucket list thing for me, and it was AWESOME…4 years later we have realized that “just this once” was a LIE (LOL!) and we are now moving past even the #3 option and into the fighting for the treadmill/bike training time between FOUR of us…I have now drug not just one other person in the family into the frey, but 3 of them…
    DH is *whining*/ahem, voicing his opinion, that all the tri’s I do are women only so he can’t try one with me, and I have two SBKids now. Eventually we will find one that we can do together. 🙂
    It’s awesome, and sucktastic, at the same time…LOL

  • Cynthia @ You Signed Up For What?!

    March 7, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    There’s no way my husband would do scenario #3, but he does have his own sport – hockey, but that is late at night so at least it doesn’t conflict. So I’m somewhere between #1 and #2. He’s not a butthead but he, similarly to The Expert, doesn’t like being the one “on” for the kids every weekend morning. That’s getting better now that we don’t have a baby in the house though – the kids are pretty easy in the morning, and my daughter is a huge help with her little brothers.

    However, I got a big ole eye roll last night when I said I had a group run 1 hour away on Saturday morning…

  • Lisa

    March 7, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    You’re looking fabulous! I admire all you ladies who find time to do this with kids and husbands and careers. I’m a single mom and CPA who didn’t start this until my daughter was finishing high school I keep thinking I need to find me a husband but with my schedule the only way I’ll meet someone is if they run out in front of my bike:)

  • Jen

    March 7, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    After 4 years in triathlon I’m
    actually leaving multisports because I’m tired of being time crunched and stressing about. Before tri I was runner. It was simple lace up shoes step outside. No checking gear or maintaining so much equipment , driving to pool to swim. I still enjoy biking so will add that in as cross training. So much less stress

  • Ed

    March 7, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    For my first IM it was #1 because I was doing it with my daughter. Now that I am training for my second IM things have switched to #2 🙁 It is certainly more of an issue and I have to stay focused and flexible. Thanks for the read!

  • Jennifer

    March 7, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    Stellar advice!! And remember, before you know it, the SBKids will be SBTeens and you can get your early morning workouts in and get home before they are even awake on the weekends! Or sometimes you can even get those 5 hour bike rides in before they wake up! 😉

  • Ashley

    March 7, 2014 at 7:14 pm

    I am so lucky to say that I am the triathlete and hubby is supportive. He has no desire to join me on my journey but he is happy helping out with the little one while I train (he plays basketball so it’s reciprocated by me when he goes to play)!

  • 2 Cups 'N Run

    March 7, 2014 at 10:26 pm

    Up at 4:30 in the morning to go running before the husband wakes up…. that’s my life. I wouldn’t put him in the unsupportive category, but he’s not exactly encouraging either. He deals with my training but I can tell he would much rather I be home doing everything he’s forced to do when I’m not around. 🙂

  • Michele

    March 8, 2014 at 8:51 am

    Great Post and although I am in household #1 ( for the most part, VERY supportative of my training for hours but can’t seem to remember how to run a vacuum, load a dishwasher or washing machine) I still find it very difficult to fit everything in with multi-sport training. I feel like I spend half my time training the family that I can’t do this and that because I am training. I no longer have children at home but assist in the raising of grandkids now and find it very cool that I am teaching them that at no matter what age/size/ability you are, you have super powers…
    I never have to worry EVER about becoming household #3 my husband is the BEST Race Sherpa a girl could ask for and thank god he will even Sherpa for my friends ( always there when I need to see him most in a race most likely smoking a cig but hey he is there, imagine the eye rolls he gets at events)

    As I sit here typing amidst a house that looks like a bomb went off and he just said to me in case you are wondering I am kind of running out of clothes to wear ( guess he forgot how to run the washer/dryer this week) I need to take a deep breathe, throw a load in the washer and get my run on… The mess will still be here when I get back!


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