It's that time. In the south, summer vacation is about to begin! It’s a great time for families packed full of camps, long evenings outdoors, pool time, and vacation but it can also be a challenging time for parents with triathlon goals.
We chatted with some of the moms on our race teams to ask them how they balance family and training in the summer months. Here are a few key things we learned that can help you keep your family central while still training with some big goals in mind this summer.
Make family your first priority. You only get so many summers with your kids, make memories. This may mean some very early mornings when everyone else is enjoying a more relaxed schedule. letting go of some workouts, really taking a vacation with your family with no workouts, or finding creative ways to train.
Team member Niki Deckers is up and riding by 6:30 am on the weekends to be home for a full day of family activities.
Team member Mami Fondu knows that when she goes on vacation, she's going to make whatever is available to her work. Whether it's a long session on a stationary bike, a weight workout in the gym, or just skipping it to enjoy a vacation with her family. I don't beat myself up because of what I can't do because I want to enjoy being on vacation with my family.
Be Flexible. Most of us have a preference for when we workout but the unpredictability of the summer schedule means that you have to be flexible. Plan your workouts during your kids' events. If kids have a swim practice or soccer game, take that time to run. Find a pool close to camp drop off so you don’t waste time carpooling back and forth. Set up your trainer outdoors so you can watch the kids play in the backyard.
Team member Abby Mowinski is the queen of multi-tasking. As a mom of two active boys and a veterinarian, she drops the boys off for camps and then finds a place to run. On vacation, she'll take a swim in the ocean while the family plays on the beach. Adaptability and the willingness to forgo workouts because family comes first is the key to her success in the summer.
Get a two-for. Does your athletic club have childcare? Put your kids in while you swim or get in treadmill intervals. Get your little ones to ride a bike alongside you as your run. If your kids are big enough to swim unsupervised, take them to a pool with dedicated lap lanes. Your workout may have a few more interruptions than normal but you won’t feel like you’ve sacrificed family time for another training session.
Team member Leah Rodenbeck has found the LA Fitness Kids Club to be a lifesaver. The kids have fun and she gets in a great workout.
Plan your training. If you’ve got a big race in the works, plan around your training blocks. Team Podium member Amy Stanton has big goals for her Ironman in September. Although many of her friends were doing a race in early September, she chose Ironman Chattanooga at the end of the month. As a stay-at-home mom of three boys, weekends are packed with family activities. She plans her long rides on Tuesdays but with the unpredictable schedule that summer brings for her boys, she knew that having a few extra weeks for long training sessions would make a big difference. (Note, in Georgia most schools are ending right before memorial day and go back to school early August).
Are you still doubtful that it can work? We know parents on our race team who have taken the podium at Ironman and 70.3, raced Worlds, and achieved PRs all while balancing busy summer schedules and jobs. It takes creativity, dedication, flexibility, and some smart planning but summer break doesn't mean that you have to take a break from your goals!
Do you have any tips or tricks you can share? Go ahead and leave them in the comments.