Triathlon Magazine Canada - - FEATURES - BY CATHY KEENAN

IT IS NEC­ES­SARY to pro­tect pock­ets of time while jug­gling train­ing and rac­ing with a busy fam­ily life. There are great ben­e­fits to hav­ing a triath­lete par­ent in the house as chil­dren wit­ness the im­por­tance of ex­er­cise, com­mit­ment and the power of sport. No class­room can teach a child what it means to sees his or her par­ent give their best and come through the fin­ish line re­gard­less of place­ment. I’m grate­ful my hus­band has been able to do this with our chil­dren re­peat­edly. But, in the spirit of co-op­er­a­tion and for the love of triathlon, my hus­band and I came up with the top five sug­ges­tions we feel may help you bet­ter bal­ance your work­outs, mar­riage and your fam­ily obli­ga­tions.

The ti­tle for this tri tip be­gan as a joke over a glass of wine among friends, many of whom are mar­ried to triath­letes. While I am not a triath­lete my­self, I’ve been mar­ried to one for 13 years. My hus­band’s train­ing and rac­ing have been a high pri­or­ity and I have sup­ported his pas­sion for the sport for years. I’m proud of his ath­leti­cism and suc­cess. That it meant a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of hours pur­su­ing the sport never both­ered me, un­til, that is, we had chil­dren. That changed every­thing, in­clud­ing my at­ti­tude about three-hour bike rides, early morn­ing swims while the kids were wak­ing up and evening runs while the kids needed to be bathed and put to sleep. His com­mit­ment to triathlon was mak­ing my par­ent­ing ex­tremely dif­fi­cult and it only in­ten­si­fied as race sea­son ap­proached. Some­thing needed to change.

As with every­thing in life find­ing bal­ance is cru­cial in man­ag­ing sport, ca­reer and re­la­tion­ships. Psy­chol­o­gist, coach and triath­lete, Pete Si­mon coined the ex­pres­sion “Di­vorce by Triathlon” to char­ac­ter­ize mar­riages that have fallen apart when one spouse re­fuses to pur­sue the sport in the con­text of the rest of their lives, but rather al­lows it to be­come the fo­cal point – out­weigh­ing all other re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

Keep your mar­riage strong while pur­su­ing triathlon with the fol­low­ing tips: Train all you want be­tween 8pm and 6am. Dur­ing other hours be ef­fi­cient with your work­outs and em­pha­size qual­ity over quan­tity. In­vest in a baby jog­ger. Make sure you still have en­ergy af­ter your work­out to spend time with kids (no nap­ping, only ac­tive re­cov­ery play­ing tag or hide-and-go-seek while drink­ing your pro­tein shake). Re­spect your spouse’s ex­tracur­ric­u­lar in­ter­ests as much as yours. Give them the same amount of time they need to pur­sue their own ac­tiv­i­ties and in­ter­ests.

Cathy Keenan is a reg­is­tered acupunc­tur­ist and yoga teacher liv­ing in Toronto. Find her at cathy­

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