We all know it takes a lot of work to make a happy triathlon home and we all know it doesn’t happen overnight. Over the several years we have been writing this blog, we’ve collected a lot of wisdom from our fellow triwives on just how they achieve this happiness. So, as I sit in my home unable to get out due to a snowstorm, I thought I’d gather some of this wisdom and share a few tidbits with you…
It’s a very delicate balance. My husband has been in the sport for over 10 years. We all went through challenges. I was pregnant with our 6th when he trained for his first Ironman. We went on to have a 7th. I did the majority for the kids and the home. I got very depleted and had a health crisis. It was my wake up call to put myself on the list. “We teach people how to treat us.”
I began to set my own fitness goals and now he continues to train for 1-2 full IM per year and I train for 1-2 marathons. Keep working on the communication with your husband and schedule EVERYTHING. Give him plenty of advance notice. Compare weekly schedules and ask him to take over some of the kids/home tasks for the week. Most of the time I think husbands’ see the supportive wife handling it so well that they don’t see the need to step in. Help him feel needed and respected by including him in the scheduling.
We have an awesome YMCA in our town. I would go there many weekday mornings when I had babies and toddlers. This is the first year that all our children are in school all day. This has given me some time to workout and get the errands done. My husband and I have become much better at supporting one another. It helps that both of us love the sport and we even get to run with each other more often now! Older kids make great babysitters!!
Honestly, it took several years for us to get through the challenges. I hope all your readers will continue to work on communication. Also, my husband and I take several weekends away (with NO race planned) to be with each other and have uninterrupted dinners and conversations. This has been so great for us!! I was very bitter about triathlon in the first few years. I am so proud of my husband now that there is no room for the bitterness!
It is tough and we just work through it day-by-day, keeping communication clear and I tell him how I feel. Not to depress anyone, but it took us years to get it all down to a science, but it finally happened. We both work outside of the home and it was always as it probably is in most households, the wife assumes most of the child care and home chores. But, when triathlon training and racing were thrown into the mix, my workload really increased. It didn’t take long for me to go, whoa, something’s got to change.
We had to set some boundaries and I made him responsible for putting away his own tri gear and washing his own workout clothes. It’s not like you can wash these clothes with your regular loads, so you’re adding more work.
Not having kids, what helped me the most was finding friends in similar situations, but it wasn’t all triathletes. I have friends whose husbands work really long hours and one who is a pro hockey player, so we support each other and I have friends to do things with and not be alone so much.
I am in no way an expert, but what works for me is this. Be clear with your feelings and state that they are your feelings. Talk about the training schedule and what is best for both of you as a couple and/or the family. Keep asking questions, so that your athlete’s need and wants are clear and state yours, too.
We either sit down on Sunday and coordinate the coming week’s schedules or at the very least, at the beginning of the week, I always ask what kind of workout week it’s going to be. This helps me prepare, too. Be clear on how you feel and if the schedule works for you. We have made changes along the way to find what works best for us NOW, because it will change in a few weeks. The sport of triathlons is a demanding sport, no matter how you look at it, and one of the only sports that non-professionals take on as a part-time job with their training.
I am sorry to say that the mindset might not change, but the way in which we deal with it has. At the end of the day, the triathlete and the family put in a lot of money, training time, food prep time, and more for what to some seems like very little in return. But, by talking and creating an environment where your athlete’s needs and your needs are clear, it can become a better world. It is not a “me” sport. Your triathlete needs to realize what it took from you and the family to get to the starting line.
My word’s of wisdom are very simple…learn to make a French 75.
- 1 oz. Gin
- 1/2 oz. Lemon Juice – fresh squeezed
- 1/2 oz. Simple Syrup or 1 tsp. fine sugar
- 2 oz. Champagne
Combine first 3 ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake, make sure chilled, and strain into a glass. Add champagne. Serve very cold with a twist of lemon in a flute or martini glass. You will forget all about the world of triathlon!