This test of endurance is tough enough for adults, so imagine what it's like for kids–like me. Young triathletes must spend a full day at school, working on their studies, trying to keep up with extracurricular activities and coping with all the social pressures of adolescence. On top of all of that, add the intense physical effort it takes to train for a triathlon.
Why do it? Why put yourself through it? Triathlons can be crazy hard, but they can also be unbelievably rewarding. The sense of accomplishment and the boost to a young athlete's self confidence that come with completing a triathlon make it all worthwhile.
As a parent, you play a vital role in keeping your kids motivated as they prepare for a triathlon. Your support can help make the journey both exciting and challenging. Follow these tips to help you successfully train for a triathlon together.
Be honest.1 of 6
Triathlons are hard. Don't hide that from your kids. If you try to pretend that training should always be fun and races should always be easy, you're setting unreasonable expectations. This goal requires commitment, effort and time management, and sometimes it's more difficult than you thought it would be. Let your kids in on the truth–it will allow them to be more confident in their choice to train.
Collaborate on a training schedule.2 of 6
Creating a schedule for your kids without their involvement could cause them to feel out of control. This can lead to struggles with planning homework and recreation time, and they might find it hard to relax between activities.
Instead, sit down and plan a training routine together. Allow your kids to voice their preferences, and give them plenty of choices as to when to train and for how long. This way, your kids will feel like they own their training plan–and they'll do better because of it.
Get the right gear.3 of 6
When you're competing in a triathlon, you never want to be thinking about your shoes or your clothes or your bike. You want to be totally in your body and mind, so it's important your kids have the right gear to help them perform their best.
Triathlons have very specific gear requirements, including running shoes, bikes, goggles and wetsuits. These items can be difficult to find in kids' sizes, which is why I launched my clothing line. You can also ask your kid's coach to help you pick out the right gear from trusted brands.
Always prioritize academics.4 of 6
My parents have always told me, "Academics first." This mantra has inspired me to stay balanced and focused as I train for triathlons. They know how important school is for my life and that a good balance of academics and sports can improve my performance in both disciplines.
As parents, it's important to stay informed about how your kids are doing at school and how they feel about the coursework. If there's ever a point when stress arises about how to study and train all at once, take some time off from training to help get that balance back.
Provide frequent reassurance.5 of 6
I remember when I first started training for triathlons. I found it so hard to complete all the exercises required to get ready for a race. I frequently felt like I was working too hard and wanted to quit. At times like these, parent support is crucial.
Make sure your children know they are not in this alone. High-fives, hugs and words of encouragement are always great! You could also maybe jump in and do some training together to show that you understand how hard they are working. And remember to always focus on their overall well-being.