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  1. #1
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    Training and Life

    So this might belong in a dear abby advice column more than BikeForums but how does everybody balance training for a bike racing season with family obligations (i.e. kids, wives or girlfriends, dog walking, housecleaning).

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    Lots of communication. Expressing my goals to my partner and what will be required to achieve them, so that she sees why and that there is an end in sight to periods of increased hours and intensity on the bike. Making sure I do the things I say I will without the bike ever being the reason or excuse for them not getting done.

    Scheduling us time into the calendar. I completed my major goal of the season last weekend. While we'll both continue to ride and/or race over the remainder of the season, cycling won't be the reason for passing up other opportunities for a couple months. Then it will be back to the training calendar taking priority over lesser social events. Basically I'll go from, dedicating every Saturday morning for a long ride, to just looking for a decent ride on either weekend morning.

    One of my training buddies announced on Saturday evening (after the race) that we wouldn't be seeing him for several weeks while he caught up on the house, garden and obligations to his kids. Fair enough.

    You have to figure out how many hours you have available that you are willing to dedicate to cycling and adjust your expectations to suit. You're not going to make it to contending for multi day Cat 1 events on 6-8hrs a week. So, you figure out where your priorities are budget/manage your time accordingly. I often start work at 6am. Your would be surprised how many guys I see returning toward the city from "the hills" at 5:30am. I suspect they are in bed reasonalby early the nights before.
    Birth Certificate, Passport, Marriage License Driver's License and Residency Permit all say I'm a Fred. I guess there's no denying it.

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    That's exactly the sort of information I was looking for. Right now I don't have kids or anything but my girlfriend doesn't ride bicycles (her sport is Horseback riding, which somehow is more expensive than bike riding which I didn't think was possible) so I think you're right that communication is key. Do you have a plan on which days you ride and set aside blocks of time just for family obligations and whatnot? I am trying to start racing next season and I figure I want to spend 10 hours a week training.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigfred View Post
    Lots of communication...

    Scheduling us time into the calendar.

    You have to figure out how many hours you have available that you are willing to dedicate to cycling and adjust your expectations to suit. You're not going to make it to contending for multi day Cat 1 events on 6-8hrs a week. So, you figure out where your priorities are budget/manage your time accordingly. I often start work at 6am. Your would be surprised how many guys I see returning toward the city from "the hills" at 5:30am. I suspect they are in bed reasonalby early the nights before.
    +1
    Communication is key. For non-cyclists/athletes it is inconceivable how you can spend 8-10-12hrs a week doing a hobby. You have to break it down to them in simple terms. You say you want to be training 10hrs a week so with 1 day off that makes a little over 1.5h/day. If you do 2-3+h ride(s) on the weekend it comes down to 1h per day; 1h is about the duration of a TV series episode with the commercials. Skipping that TV show is doable. Also training before work/early mornings is both enjoyable and frees up a lot of hours during the day.

    Good luck!
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Milice's Avatar
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    The running joke around here is if your lawn is perfectly mowed and your garden is weed free your not training hard enough
    If it looks like the $3000 bikes but costs less than a decent helmet, it probably isn't a wise investment.


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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by atallen223 View Post
    That's exactly the sort of information I was looking for. Right now I don't have kids or anything but my girlfriend doesn't ride bicycles (her sport is Horseback riding, which somehow is more expensive than bike riding which I didn't think was possible) so I think you're right that communication is key. Do you have a plan on which days you ride and set aside blocks of time just for family obligations and whatnot? I am trying to start racing next season and I figure I want to spend 10 hours a week training.
    I have a training plan. However, as a mature rider one of the most important aspects of my plan is that it remains flexible. That flexibility is utiliized frequently, both, to allow me to respect when my body needs an alteration to the planned training and so that family obligations don't seem to be playing second fiddle to cycling.

    My training plan is anchored with a Tuesday evening trainer session in the garage that my wife and a few friends participate in. With the knowledge that folks may just show up, without rsvp, we've got to be there and ready to go. That provides a good fixed point in the week. My other fixtures are then a Thursday ride and a spirited Saturday morning group ride. Endurance weeks see a ride added on Wednesday. Sundays are frequently an easy to moderate ride with wife and friends or a social ridingin club we belong to.

    The only real consistant impact on our social life is the lack of Friday evenings out.

    As family opportunities/obligations come up rides can get shifted between morning or evening and even advanced or delayed by a day.

    This is all doable because I'm only averaging 6-9 hours a week during power weeks and around 10 hours during endurance weeks. Up those totals just a couple hours per week and your schedule has to become a fair bit less flexible in order to ensure sufficient recovery at the right times.

    Another aspect that factors heavily into your training plan is the length of your target events. If you're setting your sights on criterium racing and tt's. 6-9 hours per week may actually be plenty. You won't need endurance beyond 2 hours for those. But, if you're targeting long road races and centuries, your going to need more volume and endurance than you can get in under 9 hours per week.

    Somewhere there is a great set of training "rules" from one of the ironman coaches. Largely those rules focus around not overly impacting your family. Don't talk about cycling constantly with those who aren't interested. Go about your training quietly. "Show" your appreciation for their support by all means possible. etc.

    Good luck with your training and aspirations. And by the way, horses are expensive, but, they're nothing compared to ocean racing sailboats or mid-level motorsport.
    Birth Certificate, Passport, Marriage License Driver's License and Residency Permit all say I'm a Fred. I guess there's no denying it.

  7. #7
    Senior Member ericm979's Avatar
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    I do around 600 hours a year plus gym time, and travel to races across the state.

    The best thing for domestic harmony is to hook up with someone who has their own life. That way they're not depending on you to entertain them. I've had girlfriends like that. Once you're over the initial stage of spending a lot of time on dates and in the bedroom it starts to get troublesome.

    If she's doing horses that's set; they can consume a lot of time. My wife's a runner and does other things as well. We work couples time around our schedules and plan vacations around major events. She comes out to one or two important races each year and I try to support her at her running races. I think as long as you prioritize important family things ahead of riding, take care of your share of obligations and communicate about schedules and such, a reasonable partner should be able to work with it.

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    I have a 9 year old, a 21 month old, and a pregnant wife.
    I just make sure I keep everything balanced and communicate with my wife. It really isn't that difficult.
    Quality > quantity for me. Also, variety in training is a good thing. For instance if the weather is crap a nice 10K is easier to pull off than spending time getting dressed and what not.

  9. #9
    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    My son seems to be doing a good job. He gets some volume by commuting to work 3 times a week (35 miles) with a return by company shuttle. I think he might do something intense over lunch. He does this 52 weeks/year leaving in the wee hours. His long rides, 100+ miles, he does on Sunday . His saving grace is his dynamo of a wife.

    This is not a problem unique to the young. My wife and I ride a tandem: minimum two shortish rides during the week and 40-60 on Saturday plus 10 or so organized rides during the year. At the same time I'm "training" for my bucket list climbing 200K which involves at list one long climbing ride/week and something a bit intense during the week. And I'm still working for a little bit longer. Still have to find time to fix fences, feed horses, disc the pasture, fix the rototiller, etc. Everyone's life has "stuff".
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  10. #10
    These Guys Eat Oreos Creatre's Avatar
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    I have no life. Cycling consumes most of it. But I'm 23, have no wife, no gf, no kids. So might as well. Cycling is what I enjoy so I may as well let it consume as much of my life as possible. My friends don't understand why I don't party with them, or why I won't stay up til 11pm+ on the weekends. But it pays off in my training. I am still able to have some friends and have a good time, I still get to see my parents and hang with them sometimes. The cycling training usually comes first though.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member rvk5150's Avatar
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    I think there is a lot of good info for the OP here; communication is key.

    We (wife and I) are often complimented on having a "perfect" marriage...not sure that is possible but I do believe we have a good one. As stated communication is very important. I am blessed with having a fit wife that is often complimented on how much she must work out to stay in shape; she barely does any exercise! She eats well and simply has that metabolism...I have not been so blessed; also she is eight years older than I am! We came back from vacation in July and the next morning I got on the scale; I was the heaviest I have ever been in my life....I sat down with her after dinner that evening telling her I needed help to commit to getting back into shape and losing weight; she was supportive although claimed she though I looked fantastic, we have never looked back and I am 34 pounds lighter and maintaining.

    Also; very good point about having separate lives...one of the great things about our relationship is that we simply enjoy being in each others' company...not necessarily ALWAYS doing something together but at least being around each other makes us happy, we also have respect for individual hobbies and likes.

    Balance is one of the things we all look to achieve in life but in fact is achievable; takes work though.
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