TRIATHLON TRAINING FOR BUSY PARENTS
The training demands of the three disciplines in triathlon are tough, so how do you fit it everything in when you are raising a family and working? 2XU ambassador Janine Kaye, 41, is a mother of two children aged 10 and 11 while managing her own photography business. She did her first triathlon, an enticer event, in December 2012. Now she’s lost 30kg and is preparing for her first iron-distance race. Here she shares some time management tips and talks about the positive influence her kids have on her goals as an athlete.
MAKING TIME FOR TRAINING
I see my training time as time out for me with no external ‘noise’ or anything else to deal with. As soon as I get my training plan from my coach, I copy everything into my calendar and lock it into the time slots that I know will work with my life, school drop-offs and pick-ups, and so on. When I stepped up to training for half-Ironman races, finding the time to fit the longer bike and run sessions in on the weekends was one of the biggest challenges. I needed to discuss each of our scheduled training sessions and targets with my husband, then we’d lock in times around the kids’ sporting commitments or any weddings I have to photograph.
I’m lucky that my husband is happy to train at any time of day, whereas I prefer to get things done first thing in the morning. “Later” often never comes! That often sees one of us riding or running to a sporting event to watch the kids play. Then we tag team and the other one will ride or run home. We find ways to make it work so we can still be present for the kids and still get our sessions done.
I’m lucky that I work for myself so my hours can be shifted around sometimes to accommodate sessions, weather, etc. That helps if things don’t go quite to plan, but I prefer to be consistent with my work and training times. It ensures I rely on routine to get things done rather than motivation (which can be hit and miss).
BEST TIME HACKS
Get a calendar and put everything in it, including your training sessions and don’t budge on your time unless you absolutely have to. As mothers, we tend to put everyone else first but I guarantee if you are a little ‘selfish’ with your time to train, you will experience much less ‘mother guilt’ and be a much better person for everyone around you!
I’m a big believer in leftovers. We always make extra dinner to use as lunches the next day. I’m usually starving when I get home from my training sessions, so having this food ready prevents me from making poor food choices. I also make batches of healthy snacks (granola, banana bread, mini vegie quiches) on my rest day (Monday) so I have things ready to go when hunger strikes – plus the fruit bowl is always overflowing!
MANAGING REST & RECOVERY
Rest and recovery are often tough to come by during the day when I have so much going on. Sleep is my best form of recovery and I like to get as much as possible. I’ve learnt to watch TV shows I like when I am on the treadmill or windtrainer so that I don’t stay up late watching TV. I pretty much jump into bed straight after I tuck my kids into bed. I also wear my 2XU compression pants after any big leg sessions and I pretty much live in them for 48 hours following a race!
FIXING THE WEAKEST LINK
Running is definitely my weakest leg and it is still a work in progress. I have to continuously work on my mindset as well as my technique. Positive self-talk and reflecting on your progress are the best ways I have found to convince myself that I am a runner. Working on my speed with interval sessions has also improved my pace-awareness and mindset.
FAMILY AND CAREER PROVIDE BALANCE
Your focus has to be shared among all the important aspects of your life, so having family and career absolutely stop you from getting too mentally hung up about your sport. I’m still quite obsessed with triathlon, but the reality of my life ensures I don’t have time to waste on much else other than training and recovery. We lead a very active life as a family, with all four of us participating in triathlon and other sports, so it helps that our family time is often spent being active or training together.
BRINGING UP CHILDREN CAN CHANGE THE ATHLETE’S ATTITUDE
Before I had kids, my life was very structured and mentally I was often single-task orientated. Having kids has definitely increased the chaos of my life, but in turn, this has taught me to be a lot more open-minded and put things into perspective. As an athlete, this helps me deal with juggling life, plus it helps me seek out the positives from less successful sessions or races so that I can see the bigger picture more clearly.
I used to love quiet time to think and work. Now I have learnt to ride the wave of emotions that come with the increased noise in the house, and I think or work my way through it. This has definitely helped me shut up the negative monsters in my head that often start bantering at me during long runs or hard sessions.
Raising two kids with totally different confidence and self-esteem levels has also helped me learn about positive self-talk and different ways to have more faith in myself. This has definitely helped me as an athlete. I had to learn to stop talking down to myself out loud or making excuses for anything I perceived as a poor performance. I had to own my emotions/actions and let myself feel them, learn from them and move on. It is important to me that my kids see me try things and give my best. I am not a podium finisher and I want them to see that winning isn’t everything. I am hopefully teaching them that the boundaries you believe you set for the things you can achieve are only in your mind!
Janine Kay is the 2015 Scholarship Ambassador for WITSUP (Women in Triathlon). In December she will compete in her first iron-distance race, the SunSmart Ironman Western Australia.