Balancing my {Iron} Life- Tri Talk Tuesday

Happy Tuesday! I’m back this week with another link up with CourtneyMiranda, and Cynthia for Tri Talk Tuesday.  Today’s topic is: the training life balance. This topic is all about juggling this crazy thing we called life, with the even crazier, triathlon training.


Finding balance is a difficult task these days. I am currently training for my first Ironman, as most of you know, which is in August. Before training for the Ironman, I completed plenty of sprint, Olympic and Half Ironman Triathlons, all while working a full time office job. Training for the ‘shorter’ races and working full time, was never super stressful. I also was kind of ‘winging’ my training for these races and was not professionally coached. I went to crossfit, did yoga, swam, biked and ran, all while working…. And feeling somewhat balanced. My training was not really taking over ALL of my free time and I even had time for hikes and camping on the weekends with my husband and our dog. I was not sticking to a concrete training plan, but was still managing to succeed at races. I thought my plan was working and I was happy with the balance.

Kristin's iPhone Photos 11.15.13 024

It’s funny how things can change…

Enter my current life, Ironman training. To be honest, I think if someone were to look at my current life, they would probably say I don’t have much balance. I have a feeling if I saw a therapist about work-ironman-life-balance, they would say I’m failing. Maybe it’s because this is my first rodeo with full IM training, but I honestly don’t have time for much in my personal life, nor do I have the energy for it either. Every day I train, I think about how easier it would be if I didn’t have a full time job, if I was very wealthy (like a lot of IM athletes #truefact) and could afford lots of personal treatment (i.e. massages) whenever I wanted. Sure, I would love to work my work schedule around Ironman training, but I can’t. It’s the other way around. Of course this is stressful at times, but then I think about how PROUD I am of myself for doing all of this training, while working a full time job! It’s HARD stuff! It’s by far the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Sure it would be ‘easier’ to juggle my crazy training schedule with a part time job, but honestly, I LOVE the challenge. I love proving to myself (and others) that I can do this and I WILL do this.


Here is what helps me balance my life with Ironman training:

  • My amazing, supportive and self-less husband. I would be lost without this man and I am so grateful. We both had no idea what I was getting into when I signed up for IMMT last year, but he has been behind me every step of the way. He is my rock and has been a huge help throughout the process. He helps clean the house, does laundry, helps with bike maintenance and food prep.. the list goes on he’s amazing!
  • Being an early bird. I have always been an early riser and I don’t require much sleep. I tend to do my workouts EARLY in the morning, and then again after work. The early morning workouts are the ones I enjoy the most. Although, I am working on getting MORE sleep because I’m realizing how vital it is.
  • Loving to cook. I love to cook and prepare healthy meals. I consider this to be my ‘break’ from training. It can definitely be exhausting with all of the training and working, but I truly enjoy it! I don’t’ know how I do it, but I make my own meals: breakfast, lunch, and dinner at least 6 days a week, for all three meals. A lot of it has to do with meal planning and preparation. I think it’s my motivation to always eat the best possible way for my body and my training that motivates me.
  • Being type A. I am very type A, intense and schedule oriented. I thrive on a plan and a schedule! Having my training mapped out by my coach, day by day, really helps me stay balanced. I love knowing what to expect for training each week and this helps me balance work and life.
  • Finding out how to wear my hair the ‘natural’ way. Yes this is a BIG deal for me. I have naturally wavy hair, but for years I have always blow dried and straightened. I took great pride in having perfect hair every day, but it always took TIME. All of this training does not leave much time for perfect hair. Let’s just say dry shampoo and beach wave spray has saved me hours!
  • Making it a point to still do other things that make me happy.  My husband Todd and I love to hike and camp.  Despite all of the training, we are still planning to hike and camp this summer whenever we can! Being in the mountains makes me so happy, I can’t avoid it all summer.. no way!


As a side note…Ironman training is throwing my personal life slightly off balance. While I honestly don’t mind missing a party here or there, it is making me a bit of a social introvert. I have always been a borderline introvert/extrovert, and this IM training is definitely transforming me into more of an Introvert. I don’t mind spending time alone, but it is A LOT of alone time. Not only do I mostly train alone, but my personal time is spent alone or just with my husband. I am too tired to want to hang out with anyone else, honestly. Even putting on make-up is a chore… and wearing normal clothes like jeans on the weekends, feels painful! I am also guilty of not calling friends, forgetting to RSVP to parties and showing up to work late… I blame this on Ironman training. It’s not a good excuse, but it is pretty much throwing my life into a tailspin. However, I signed up for this crazy ride and I’m absolutely loving it. If I did not enjoy all of the training, there would be no reason to sign up for IMMT in the first place. I signed up knowing it would be hard to balance my life, and I have no regrets. Nothing worth having comes easy.


How do you balance your training and your life? Tell me your balancing secrets!

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  • Reply Amy June 10, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    Each of the 6 Ironmans I’ve done, my husband has done, as well (and he did an additional one that I didn’t). It’s tough, given that we both have full time jobs, and adorable fuzzy children (cats and dogs, not particularly hairy human children), but we’ve pretty much just learned how to deal with what’s important and how to let everything else go.

    What I mean by that, of course, is that the house is always a disaster, but it doesn’t matter anyway, because we never have time to have anyone over.

    But basically our priorities have shifted over the years, and our core friend-base has shifted, as well. Most of our close friends are also training partners, so we get in the social aspect there, and our true non-triathlete friends understand how important this is to us, and we see each other when we’re able.

    • Reply Kristin June 12, 2014 at 3:31 pm

      How awesome that your husband has done all of the Ironmans with you. It must really help to be able to go through it all together. I agree with you.. I never have time (or the energy) to have anyone over. It’s great that you have learned to deal with what really matters… I am working on this every day:) Some things in my life have definitely taken the ‘back burner’ but hey, I think it’s worth it! I

  • Reply Abby June 11, 2014 at 3:56 am

    That is awesome your husband is so supportive and is definitely the biggest factor in it!
    Personally our first IM was our worst in terms of IM/life balance. It got a lot better with each one we did since we knew we’d finish! It also helped doing our own training instead of coached because then we could follow whatever we wanted!

    • Reply Kristin June 12, 2014 at 3:00 pm

      Thank you, I would be lost without him! I can imagine with the both of you IM training, your life/IM balance was a little out of whack. I’m sure it gets a lot easier after the first one… looking forward to that:) I have been contemplating going without a coach next time around, I think I might feel less stressed about sticking to a program.

  • Reply Cynthia @ You Signed Up For WHAT?! June 11, 2014 at 4:20 am

    I love this post – it is so nice to read a realistic picture of the toll that Ironman training is taking, but also how rewarding it is. I toy with the idea of a full IM someday, but my kids will have to be a lot bigger and more self-sufficient for me to even consider it! Oh and the job thing might get in the way too…

    • Reply Kristin June 12, 2014 at 3:01 pm

      Thanks so much. IM training definitely takes A LOT out of me… mentally and physically, but it’s worth it! I have faith that you can do an IM one day, when your kids are older. And yes, the job thing always gets in the way… if only I could be a full time triathlete and get paid for it!

  • Reply Kecia June 11, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    Finding that balance is definitely a challenge!! Since both my husband and I usually participate in the same races (including Ironman), we have set aside Monday evenings as our time to spend together, with friends, tryings something new, etc. We also have set most Fridays aside as a complete rest day, so we have time to spend with friends, socializing, cleaning house, etc. on Friday evenings. We make sure to see our friends early in the evenings since we are up early in the mornings. Thankfully our friends are VERY understanding of our training and some even plan meals around our training so we can literally wheel up after a difficult ride to a grill out and food all ready to eat 🙂

    During the summer, I am off work (I am a middle school teacher and have about 8-9 weeks of my summer months free), which allows me to clean house, run errands and do some of my training during the day while my husband is at work. It helps free up our schedules a bit for training to revolve around his work schedule. My husband also saves up most of his vacation throughout the year to use over the summer so he can take an hour off here and there so we can get in a longer bike ride during the week, etc.

    It is definitely easier for me to find balance during the summer months and de-stress my life 😉

    • Reply Kristin June 12, 2014 at 3:13 pm

      I think it’s so cool that you and your husband participate in the same races.. even Ironmans! It must help that you both understand the commitment and what it takes. My husband understands what I am doing, but he doesn’t FULLY understand because he’s not doing it! I think it’s very important to have friends/family that are understanding of the triathlete life and my crazy schedule.

      Being a teacher and a triathlete must make for a perfect combination… I am really jealous! During the summer months it must be great that you can train whenever you want. I honestly might consider a career change… I’ve always thought I could be a great Health teacher;)

  • Reply Courtney @The TriGirl Chronicles June 11, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    I feel like all of your bullet points were seriously all things I would have said! Except the hair thing, mine is thin and stringy and is just whatever, lol. So excited to hear all about your upcoming IRONMAN!!

    • Reply Kristin June 12, 2014 at 3:13 pm

      I’m glad you can relate! Lol yes, the hair thing can be an issue. Thanks so much, it’s getting so close!

  • Reply Kristen @ Glitter and Dust June 12, 2014 at 9:23 pm

    First off, I just want to say how incredibly impressed I am of your motivation and dedication to IM training The fact that you work a full time job and still find time to put in the long hours for training each week is just inspiring. I am honestly beginning to think that there is a specific personality type that defines endurance triathletes – I am definitely Type A and very schedule oriented. I think there are certain traits you have to have to succeed at training for these very time consuming events. Like you, I have also experienced a change in how much time and effort I put into my hair and make-up. I used to do my hair and make-up every day (for the most part) but now it has become that is trivial. I also live in my workout gear. I am fortunate because I work full-time from home and have a schedule that is flexible. That being said, I still do most of my workouts alone because everyone else is tied up with their lives. I can relate to the loneliness.

    Cheers to wonderful husband’s who support and make our crazy goals a possibility!

  • Reply Lee@tri*inspired*life June 16, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    Hi Kristin! I just found your blog and I can relate to you a lot after reading this post! I, too, am training for my first IM (Lake Placid) and work full time and have an incredibly supportive husband (who has previously done two IMs…so he can relate to what I am training for now). The balance is so hard to maintain, but thankfully he understands why I am doing it and he helps with so many little things that mean so much! Most of my friends are super supportive, even if they are not in the sport. I think it is so important to keep our eye on the prize and know all this craziness is so worth it!!! I look forward to checking out your blog again as race day approaches! !

    • Reply Kristin June 19, 2014 at 1:12 am

      Hi Lee! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog! I am happy to hear you can relate to me and my post here:) Super exciting that you are training for your first Ironman too!! Glad to know that I’m not alone when it comes to training for an Ironman and working full time. Having a supportive husband makes ALL the difference in the world with training… and how cool that he’s done 2 IM’s. Since he’s been in your shoes before, it must help when you are training so much, because he GETS it. While my hubby does not fully understand what I’m doing, at least I have his support! Sometimes I wish he was a triathlete too though:) I absolutely agree with you, it is SO important to keep our eyes on the prize.. you are SO close! I look forward to reading about your training on your blog!

  • Reply Leslie @ Triathlete Treats June 19, 2014 at 4:09 am

    When I am IM training. That is pretty much all I do. Eat, sleep, train, work, repeat! I see friends once in a while but I don’t mind staying home either! I have always been somewhat single while training for my first 3 IMs! But this time around my BF is training for the IM as well. I feel pretty lucky because we are in the same boat! Hungry and tired all the time!! 🙂 Not a whole lot of balance but it works for me. You just have to do what works for you!

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