About a year ago, I was at the Bay Area headquarters of a major outdoor industry brand, when the guy I was meeting with explained that he’d given up trying to seriously train for cycling. For years, he’d been an avid competitor and he loved the hard physical work of getting (and staying) in top shape. “But now I have two kids under five,” he explained. “It’s not possible.
At that, I slumped in my chair. My son was then nearly two and my wife and I were about to start trying for our second child. I love cycling and running and skiing and I’d managed to get enough of all three (plus some bonus rowing) even while being a very dedicated dad. But two young kids would be a different story—or so everyone kept telling me. Still, I kept thinking I could find a way. I do pretty well with no sleep …
Now, here I am, father of two boys (the new one arrived on New Year’s Day) and I’m coming to terms with the reality of trying to train for a triathlon with very, very little free time. This despite the fact that I‘d followed a low-commitment plan for triathlon training in 2008 and done great, finishing the New York City Triathlon in 2:29, 16th in my age group (30 to 35). I had this vision that, after the initial six weeks of intense newborn care, I’d start waking up super-duper early to slink down to the garage and use my secret weapon, a CycleOps Supermagneto Pro bike trainer. Maybe some weekend afternoons, I could drive the baby around in the car until he falls asleep, then park in the garage and spin for another 45 minutes while he snoozed. I’d be the Superfit Superdad!
So far, my super-duper mornings have been spent with my little guy on my chest. It’s been awesome, actually—I’d forgotten that magical way a baby make your heart grow. But my athletic fitness has almost collapsed. I’ve gotten in some runs (pushing the toddler in a bike stroller) and rides (pulling the toddler in a trailer), though not many. And now, as I prepare to start Matt Dixon’s custom plan for time-crunched athletes, I find myself honestly wondering, Is this a really bad idea?
Time will tell, I suppose.
Senior Executive Editor