While writing this article, I wondered what happened to my daughter this morning. She was just peacefully sleeping, whereas yesterday, at the same time, she was an absolute monster (no joke! and I love my daughter).
You will read and hear a ton of different advice on how to be parents and structure your life as a family. The truth is that your child will decide a lot for you. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try some of them.
The same goes for training as new parents. Here are our 7 practical training tips for you, your second half, and your newborn:
Disclaimer: The Triathlon Tips of My Tri World are reader-supported. When you buy through links, I may earn an affiliate commission.
1. SET YOUR EXPECTATIONS TOGETHER BEFORE THE BIRTH
It is essential to know the goals of the other person before your child is born. My husband and I are both doing triathlon, making it easier for the other party to understand the importance of training but makes it a lot more complicated to plan. I wanted to be back at Sprint distance triathlon as soon as possible, and my husband wanted to train for a Half Ironman.
Our common goal was to include our child into our training life as much as we could.
2. START TRIATHLON TRAINING WITH BABY STEPS
When you can start to do sport will depend a lot on how the pregnancy and the birth went. Your doctor will let you know when it is safe.
I could walk around the house five days after birth and started postnatal yoga two weeks after. My first run was five weeks after birth (1km really easy run and then walk), and I did my first 5 x 1 km seven weeks after (thanks Strava for keeping track of all of that 🙂 ).
Whereas pregnancy was frustrating as my running pace went down week after week, the postnatal training was really motivating. It helped me a lot because I didn’t put too much pressure on myself concerning my general fitness gain. I took it quite easy and was happy about each step.
3. BE MORE FLEXIBLE
Before our daughter was born, my husband and I needed to be flexible on a weekly basis. Now it is more on a daily basis. You just never know what might happen during a day. I would nevertheless highly recommend having a training plan, just be aware that it might look really different in reality.
If you don’t manage to do a specific session, don’t make it too hard on yourself. Enjoy the time with your baby and give him all the attention he needs.
4. INTEGRATE YOUR BABY INTO YOUR TRAINING
As I mentioned in our first tip, this was our common goal before birth, and it helped us tremendously. Here are a couple of ways on how we achieve it:
- Play in the same room where the partner is exercising. To this day, our daughter is still fascinated when one of us is doing indoor biking.
- One person walks with the baby stroller while the other is doing interval training.
- Take the baby to the pool or lake with you. We are obviously alternating training 😉
5. INVEST IN A JOGGING STROLLER / BIKE TRAILER
We bought a Thule stroller around the three months mark that we can use while running, biking, and cross country skiing. It made a big difference for us as a couple. Our model is the Thule Chariot Sport 2. In the US, I think the Thule Chariot Cross Multisport comes close to it. (Amazon affiliate link)
From training separately, we could finally train together again. One “advantage” is that the weight of the carrier and the growing child makes it harder for the person pushing/pulling (read my husband), so it makes training way fairer.
6. GET THE HELP OF YOUR FAMILY
Letting your child with someone for a couple of hours will give you some “free” time for you and your husband/wife that you can use for special training. We both enjoy riding MTB trails, and it is something you should obviously not do with a bike trailer 🙂
This is definitely an area that we are still working on. Sometimes our daughter really likes to be with her aunt and her godmother, sometimes not at all. We are making sure to stay at a close distance from them.
7. MAKE EVERY TRAINING SESSION AS EFFICIENT AS POSSIBLE
You can put it however you want it, but the time you will have to train will be more limited than before having a child. I recognized that a lot of parents are sacrificing sleep for being able to train. I would not recommend it, or at least not as a first solution. There are a lot of ways you can be more time-efficient with your training:
- indoor biking
- cardio or strength sessions at home
- use commutes as training sessions
- do more interval training
- run or bike outside with the trailer
As you can see, there are a lot of ways to train with a newborn. It is simply one more challenge for us, triathletes.