When most people hear about couples training together for a race it sounds remarkable. I happened to be one of those people. I thought training with my husband would allow us to spend more time together since I work 7am-530pm and he works from 8am till ??? (TBD). We are both part of a triathlon training team who train on the opposite side of town from us and our work hours make it slightly difficult to make it to team training. Therefore, I thought since we are unable to train with the team on a regular basis that training with my husband would be the same as if we were training with the team. Little did I know that training with your spouse takes a toll on one person more than the other and unfortunately, I happen to be the person that it has affected the most. Everything from the training plan, to the schedule, and everything else in between literally drained me! If you ask my husband how the training was going he would probably say, “It's going well, I have finally gotten serious about training.”
The Training Plan
I am a person that follows training plans strategically (especially ones where money was spent for it to be made). My husband, on the other hand, thinks it’s okay to switch a few days/things here and there because of schedule/obligations or just “too tired”. I know it’s acceptable to change things around occasionally but in my mind, someone created this plan so we don’t overtrain and so we don’t increase our chances of injury. Should I be more “go with the flow” like my husband and just changes things on the training schedule because we feel like it or should I just decide that training on my own would be best?
Since we both started training for our first triathlon we would collaborate every Sunday and figure out what meetings we had during the week, what time would we be getting home from work, who would take Benny (our fur child) out, who would cook dinner, should we meet at the park this day, should we meet at pool and so on and so forth. (I am a huge planner and I like to have things organized so that I know where and what I am supposed to be doing on what day.) About 90% of the time I was the one that got home first, took Benny out for a quick run, cooked dinner, and then waited for my husband so we could train together. The other 10% I was very grateful for the “help” when my husband would do all that, but it just wasn’t enough to cover the 90% that I was taking on. When should I tell the husband that I am exhausted from doing everything, without him thinking I am just nagging or complaining?
The Motivator=Exhausted=No Longer the Motivator=No Longer Caring
My husband works for a big corporate company and I know he always has deadlines/meetings and his work is very demanding. He is an amazing husband and dedicated to his work, but every time he would get home I would be dreading the words “I am too tired to train” or “I have to work tonight”. I somehow would pull all my energy together when I hear those words after I just worked, cooked, took Benny out, and waited for him to somehow motivate him to train with me. Sometimes he would win, and we would just have dinner and watch Netflix. My husband is a natural born athlete and as for me, I need all the training I can get. Without training, I would probably fail miserably, and he would pass with flying colors effortlessly.
Other times I would be waiting and waiting until I decided I would train without him because he was taking too long, and I needed to shower and get to bed so I can start my day at 5 am. The days that I would train without him he would get upset and ask why I couldn’t wait another 20 minutes for him to get home and he would walk out of the lab (our training area) as when we were children and didn’t have things our way.
I have found that motivating him throughout this whole training process (almost 8 months) took more energy out of me than I realized. I was always the one reminding him (the nagging wife) that we had a long run on Saturday and to stay hydrated or don’t forget to pack your nutrition (I carried all the nutrition especially during our long runs and I always turn around if he was out of sight to give him nutrition). Which caused me to stop my momentum and check on him which then effects my training.
If I was motivating him, who was motivating me? Myself? How does one motivate oneself when you are too busy giving all your energy to someone else? I honestly didn’t think it was possible until I realized that I needed to take care of my sanity before I went crazy.
I finally sat down with my husband and told him that he was draining my energy and that I wasn’t going to force him to train anymore. If he really wanted to train then he can join me at any point in time and his response was, “But you push me and motivate me, and I need that.” Therefore, we created a system to where we would be able to train together but, in the scenario, where one of us got off work early or late the other would be able to train without the other getting upset. (So far this has worked over the past couple of weeks)
When you feel overwhelmed, exhausted, or just realize you no longer care you must speak up or something must give because it can really affect your training. (Almost like writer’s block) Don’t let it build up like me to where I was slowly losing myself. Talk to your spouse/significant other/training partner when you aren’t feeling it anymore. When you address the issue, you can collaborate and adjust the training or just help one another find their passion again.
Not Always Rainbows and Unicorns
Training with your significant other is not for everyone out there but if you can compromise and motivate one another “equally” it’s the best thing ever. From my personal experience so far, I love being able to see my husband hit huge milestones that he felt were impossible to achieve and vice versa. Being in that moment with them of pure excitement is the best feeling because you were there each step of the way. You were their biggest coach/fan and they won’t forget that.
CHEERS!! Here’s to training 70.3 Galveston in April and Ironman Arizona in November together and hopefully I still have all my hair.
Written by Elvia Rodriguez, Siren Luminary
Follow Elvia on Instagram @elviardz23