Monday, February 28, 2011

The Benefits of A Training Partner

Coach Rich and Rob at Chisago Lakes 2010 - a MUCH warmer day!
Friday was the last day of my training week.  I was feeling pretty beat up from a new cross-training endeavor (racquetball).  It was C-O-L-D.  Around 3 degrees with a brisk 10-15 mile an hour wind out of the north.

Earlier that week Rob and I had set up our usual Friday morning, kids are on the bus, meet up and run.  I hadn't really paid attention to the weather until Friday.

No turning back now, I told Rob I'd meet him so that's what I did.  I grabbed extra layers, spread on some Warm Skin (a product I got some free samples of ), loaded up the dog and off we went.

The first mile absolutely sucked.  Into the wind.  Hands turned to blocks of ice.  Neither of us were talking much (that usually doesn't happen until the end of a run).  Finally we turned away from the wind.  Hands warmed up.  Conversation, well, it didn't exactly flow, we're still guys.  But there was some conversation.  The miles went by.  Challenges were made.  "Top of the hill before we turn around."

We finished the run, exhilarated by our time in the frigid air.

Would I have headed outside Friday morning and done that run on my own?  I like to think I'm a disciplined trainer, a 2x Ironman finisher blah, blah, blah.  I don't like running when the wind chill is in the negatives.  I probably would have grabbed my ipod and headed to the gym.

I probably would not have gone as far and I definitely wouldn't have enjoyed it so much.  Training partners (and coaches) can help us keep the commitments we've made to ourselves and make it fun along the way.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Workout Ate My Marriage?

This morning on mytalk107.1 fm in the Twin Cities, Ian and Marjorie were talking about an article that had appeared in the Wall Street Journal entitled "A Workout Ate My Marriage" (You can torture me and I will swear up and down that that station was on only because my kids enjoy the Happy Boy joke segment)

Here's the full article:

A Workout Ate My Marriage

Basically the article offers some anecdotal evidence of extreme endurance training causing marital discord.  One counselor even referred to "divorce by triathlon"

The radio hosts talked up the addictive nature of working out and triathlon in particular.  Portraying the tri widow left behind with kids and the cleaning.  The one line of the article that got no mention was as follows:

The effect of extreme exercise on divorce rates isn't clear. Even if research showed a higher rate of discord in homes where just one spouse is an endurance athlete, exercise could be a consequence, rather than a cause.

Now I'm not going to argue that the time demands of triathlon and "extreme endurance" doesn't ever put stress on marriages.   I think it's probably even harder when only one spouse is engaging in an active lifestyle.

Balance is really the key.  Most of my athletes use triathlon and training as part of a healthy lifestyle.  They race to keep them motivated to stay in shape and because they enjoy it.  Like me, a lot of them choose to make it part of their family lifestyle.

I think you could plug hunting, fishing, golf, tennis, car racing, hockey, or even coin/stamp collecting into the article and find anecdotes where one spouse's hobby has created strain in the marriage.

Participation in endurance events in general and triathlon in particular is skyrocketing.  At the same time our nation is getting more and more obese.  It seems to me that rather than looking for problems associated with exercise we should be figuring out how to get the other spouse off the couch.

I contend that triathlon can strengthen a marriage.  I know I'm happier and a better husband than I was 40 pounds ago before I started exercising.  I certainly appreciate the support I've received from my wife and kids.

Has your need to train strained your marriage?  Have you struggled to balance work, family and hobby?  One solution might be to train more efficiently. (WARNING - self serving plug to follow)  At TFI we can help you get the most out of your training time, so you can get back to your loved ones.

Don't forget to thank the ones who allow you to pursue your passions!