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The TBN #54-10 Tips To Balance Triathlon Training & Relationships

Read time: 4min.

By Coach Yan Busset

How to Train for Triathlon Without Getting Divorced: 10 Essential Tips

For many triathletes, managing the demands of training and family life is a real challenge. The struggle to fit many hours of training into an already packed schedule can strain even the most supportive relationships. But what if you could excel in your sport without sacrificing precious family moments? In this article, I'll share ten practical tips to help you integrate triathlon training into your family life, ensuring you stay fit, happy, and married (works for any kind of relationships!).

1. Lead by Example

Use your triathlon journey as an opportunity to lead your family toward a healthier lifestyle. You know my principles: to be a good athlete you need first to be a healthy human being, and triathlon is a great excuse to hack your lifestyle toward habits such as better nutrition, better sleep, less screen time, and more overall activity. It will be easier for you if the people around you tend toward similar goals. Why not use this opportunity to encourage them to join you in your fitness journey by first simply adopting healthier habits?

2. Involve Your Partner in Race Planning

Make your racing a joint adventure. Involve your partner in choosing your "A" races. First, make a shortlist of your favorite top 10 bucket list races. Then ask your partner to choose from that list a favorite one. Involve them in the logistics like booking flights and hotels, and plan some sightseeing for after the event. This transforms your races into family vacations, increasing their support and enthusiasm for your training.

3. Train Smart

Your time is precious; every training session should have a purpose. You will spend a lot of time training, so avoid wasting time on "junk miles" and on planning: consider hiring a coach (daaa!) who can tailor your workouts to be both efficient and effective. This ensures that your training fits into your lifestyle and that each hour of your free time won’t be wasted.

4. Use Recovery Days Wisely

Transform your recovery days into family days. Instead of crashing on the couch, plan activities that everyone can enjoy to create lasting memories. A triathlete's life is a lot self-centered, so make that day their day and not only yours. And don’t worry, your body needs the recovery time to rebuild itself and assimilate the previous day's training load and get ready for more.

5. Polarize Your Training

A polarized training model where the vast majority of your training volume, 80%, is spent at lower intensity (Zone 2 and below) and where the rest, 20%, is performed at high intensity. This training balance promotes sustained improvement in fitness over time while preventing burnout. This will have a great effect on your everyday mood. If you don’t push hard all the time, you will have a better chance to not be overtired and cranky at home, and everyone will benefit from that around you!

6. Family Training Hacks

Incorporate family into your workouts. A good one is the Bike & Run: one bike for two, while you run at your own pace, your partner can follow you easily on the bike, and vice versa is also possible. You rest on the bike while they run or walk at their own pace. So, you can reconcile different fitness levels and do something together.

7. Utilize Waiting Time

Having kids can add another level of complexity in finding the time to train. But you can find creative ways to use the kids' hobbies and use that time to train rather than waiting. Instead of scrolling through your phone, run laps around the field or find a nearby gym. This makes the most of your waiting time and sets a positive example for your children.

8. Optimize Training Times

Switch to early bird training mode, start to train when the rest of the family is still sleeping. Better than training late evening (which can alter your sleep quality). It has many positive sides: it's worth 10 coffees, wakes you up the best way, and you will feel boosted and in a nice flow for the rest of the day. The second-best time to train is straight from work. Get your training gears ready and do your second training of the day before coming back home. This way when you will be back, you will be done with your training and fully present for all. And you know how it is, if you come back home before going to the training, there is always something to be done that will slow you down like home chores or sometimes hard to resist the appeal of Netflix and sofa calls!

9. Plan Meals as a Family

Take one day of the week for family meal prepping. This not only ensures that everyone eats healthily but also saves money and reduces stress throughout the week. Involving everyone in meal preparation makes it a fun and educational activity, promoting healthy eating habits for all.

10. Address Training Guilt

Remember that taking time for your health and fitness is not selfish; it's necessary. Just like the safety instructions for oxygen masks on planes, they ask you to put yours on first before helping others. It’s a metaphor for life; you need to take good care of yourself in order to have the energy to be useful and help others around you! Of course, it’s all about finding the right balance, but everyone needs their own "me time" to feel good in their skin. So stop the guilt; it’s often people who feel bad about themselves and secretly envy your fitness level that will question your time spent training. "What is wrong with you?" often means "how dare you show off your health and happiness", so no worries, haters gonna hate ;)

Balancing triathlon training with family life doesn't have to be a zero-sum game. I hope these tips will help you to carry on with the best hobby in the world while living a happy relationship. Remember, the goal is to improve your life with both fitness and people that are dear to you, not to choose between them.


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