There is no question that triathlon can be a selfish sport - you take on a race alone, doing not one, but three disciplines. It is easy to get obsessed when your goal is finishing a race that some people wouldn’t consider attempting. My husband and I are both triathletes, although I am more of a ‘try-athlete’ whereas he trains for 70.3 and Ironman, and we have had many arguments about training schedules interfering with our personal lives. By no means do we have the perfect balance but here are my top five tips to balance triathlon with a relationship.
01 ‘Try’ to include each other
Try to support and include each other, whether your partner has an interest in triathlon or not. My husband likes to talk and talk through his training and race plans, and there are times I’d like to zone out. Triathlon is his passion and therefore it’s part of our life. So he talks and I listen; and I get out there and cheer him on in the blistering sun or pouring rain (looking at you Challenge Melbourne 2015!). On the flip side, he encourages me when I doubt myself and shares some training advice. Most importantly, we’re always there for each other with a sweaty kiss at the finish line.
02 Train together
No matter what your training goals are, find ways to include your partner. Our fitness levels are completely different but my husband and I train together whenever possible. If he has a long run, I might jump on the bike at the same time with his water bottle or we swim together (him overtaking me constantly). For those with non-training partners, maybe this means they help you count laps or man an ‘aid station’ on a long run. Get creative.
03 ‘Try’ to be accommodating
Sometimes it is important, on both sides, to take a step back and consider the priorities of your partner - they might not always line up but perspective can help. When I am sitting at home ready to go out and my husband is still out riding or running, it can be incredibly frustrating. He is focusing on getting the km’s in, but I might have the bigger picture in mind, like those waiting for us somewhere else. It is not because we’re both being selfish, we’re just focusing on different things.
04 Present a united front
There will undoubtedly be people in your life who don’t understand the demands of a triathlon training schedule; they don’t understand the desire to put a long ride or run ahead of getting somewhere on time, or sleeping in. Stuff them! Ok, maybe not. But when it happens, present a united front with your partner and support each other's decisions.
05 Take time out together
Triathlon training is time consuming, especially for long distance athletes, so designate one or two nights as a stay-at-home night. Ours is Wednesday night and at least one night on the weekend. On Wednesdays this means I get my run done before work and my husband does an ergo session as soon as he gets home - otherwise, the night is for each other. On occasion I have also said I need a non-triathlon talk evening - or hour! ‘Sometimes’ it is nice to talk about something else!
Nicole Williams is a TRY - athlete with three mini distance races under her belt and a phobia of ocean swimming. Nicole is looking forward to her next triathlon challenge!