Hanging in the Balance: 3 Ways to Maintain a Healthy Relationship with Triathlon

I hopped on to my bike trainer early to get in a longer warm up before the start of a Zwift Academy Race. With 5 minutes before the race start I moved my cursor over the “Join Event” button, clicked it and watched as the cursor turned into a circular rainbow that just kept spiraling. And spiraling. And spiraling.

Panic hit and my stomach dropped. I could feel my blood pressure rising with my anger. I furiously unclipped from the pedals and began trying to force quit the application and get it restarted in time for this workout. As the minutes ticked by my hope slowly drained and I was filled with outrage. Great. I just missed the race and my window to get it in for the day.

That sounds a little dramatic right? But raise your hand if you have been there…chances are almost every one of you reading this should have a hand up in the air. It is so easy to overreact when a workout doesn’t go as planned, or a workout is missed because of unforeseen circumstances. In that moment the workout is the absolute most important thing in the world.


Stepping back and reflecting on that, it seems a little silly. Yes, we are triathletes and we are dedicated to our sport. But, we are also triathletes with families and full-time jobs. (Unless sport is your profession) So how do we quell the angst that happens when our workout plans are uprooted and maintain a healthy balance between sport and enjoying the other aspects of our lives? Or maybe it’s not so much the anxiety of a missed workout, but deep down you know that you would put triathlon, or your chosen sport, above your family.

These three tools have helped me when I start to feel like my priorities are going a little sideways:

  • Close Your Eyes And Breathe. That sounds like a cliche answer doesn’t it? But taking a few moments to pause can give clarity. Ask yourself a few questions:
    • Why am I so upset?
    • Can I fix this or reschedule this?
    • If I can’t fix or reschedule it, what is the worst that is going to happen?
    • How can I use this unplanned free time for good?

We all have different motives and motivations inspiring us to do sport. Just remember that life happens and just because a workout is missed, or two, that doesn’t make for a lesser athlete, or even a bad athlete. We have to take care of our whole person, not just the athlete in us.

  • Be Intentional. Schedule workouts, and family/friend time in advance. Leave wiggle room for work obligations that come up suddenly. Knowing that life can throw a wrench in the plans can help deal with the stress of missing a scheduled session and allow for the opportunity to react more rationally.
  • Think About Others. In a sport that demands total focus on ourselves, how we feel, what we eat, how our recovery is going, we get in the mindset: ME – ME – ME. It’s okay to focus on (ME!) during a session, but when it is over shift the focus to others. Love on the family and friends that allow you to give so much of your time to the sport. Don’t drive each conversation toward your workout or your race, but listen to their stories and be present. It will bring satisfaction to everyone involved.


My husband will be the first to tell you that I need to take my own advice! As a triathlete and a coach, sport takes up most of my waking moments. Sometimes, so much so that I’ll get into these periods of time when all I see is triathlon and view it as my identity. It’s a fine line, and it can be a scary one, but I have a great support system that ultimately helps me find the balance between triathlon as the sport I love to compete in, the sport I love to coach, and the other aspects of my life.

I truly believe that by using the tools listed above you can find your balance in the sport that you love and with your life outside of the sport. Because when you can find that balance, I think you’ll fall even more in love with the sport because you’ll have a great appreciation for the time you have to spend doing it.

Happy Training!


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