Since joining the endurance sport community, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time learning what it takes to be a successful athlete. I’ve studied with coaches from The U.S. Olympic Training Center, I’ve sought out uber-experts in the esoteric corners of this sport, and I’ve spent more time reading scientific journals than most doctors I know. What’s my conclusion? When it comes down to it, the most important factor in being a successful triathlete is having supportive family and friends.
Even the single athlete with no children is supported by someone. When I was living alone in Hollywood, Florida training for the A1A Marathon, even I had the support of my cokehead neighbor who agreed not to bring any loud party people home from the bar or casino until after 4 am on Saturdays when I was up and out training.
During peak training next year, you will need everyone in your social network on your side. Prepay those favors and set expectations now. Yes, you’ll have to attend the weddings and funerals. However, let your family and friends know that Saturdays are for long bricks and napping, not dancing. Your new bedtime is 10 pm at the latest. That includes most Fridays. You won’t have the energy for many things you used to.
All of the above will be more easily tolerated if they know how important your goal is to you, and know what to expect. It also wouldn’t hurt if you took the fam on a big vacation now while you have the time. And when you don’t need to be Captain Serious with your training, chill out and involve the family. One of the para-athletes I coach routinely takes his daughter out in the trailer on his short rides. And what was Matty Reed doing moments before the start of the Lifetime Tri? Playing with his kids on the beach. That’s how it’s done.
This is the final post in the “140.6 in 2012” series. If you have questions or are in the market for a coach for your 2012 season, drop me a line at email@example.com