New Fathers: How did/do you do it?
Ive been a bit down lately. Last year was my first race season and I had so much fun that winter last year was almost unbearable. I made it through to spring and all I could think about was racing again and how great it was going to be to have a full season of racing and working out to improve my results.
My wife was pregnant during the off season and we were expecting in July. I knew that the baby would effect my racing/training schedule but I told myself that I would still find time to keep going strong.
Well that hasnt happened. I was planning on missing 2 races, I missed 4. I never thought about the races I would miss when my wife was within a month of delivery and the DR told me I couldnt be more than an hour away from home.
I also used to ride 4 to 5 times a week. Im lucky if I ride once a week now. The wife and I are working opposite schedules to avoid daycare (something we werent originally planning on doing) and as a GM of a company I work 55+ hours a week.
I cant believe the race season is coming to an end in 6 weeks and I wont be able to race again till next April. I weigh 25 more pounds than I did this time last year and I gained 20 pounds last winter. Im pretty damn concerned about slipping any further.
So for you new or past Fathers who had a baby during the season, how did you keep going?
People ask me all the time "who beat you up"? I tell them "a tree". They just look at me funny....
I have 3 daughters. I used to ride alot more then I do now but I wasn't any faster. My training is more focused now. Less wasted miles/time. I raced SS open in our state series last year and I'm planning on racing cat1 in 2013. I do alot of night riding both road and mtn.
You choose to have a kid and a wife. They deserve the most from you. I'm 36 and most of the guys I ride with are still getting better into their mid 40s. There will be time for you after the kids are older. Just focus your diet and time to ride as much as possible and not put on to many lbs.
Lunch road rides and more road riding in general. If I had an hour while he is napping (and my wife is home of course), hit the road hard. Kept doing the weekly Wed mtb ride almost every week too.
Also close to home MTB rides on the weekends, again hard rides no/minimal stopping. Actually faster than I ever have been. Pretty fast Cat 1/slow Open racing, after 4-5 years consistently racing, so have a good base.
Edit - Also have a jogging stroller that I'll run w/him in occasionally.
Get some rollers and/or a trainer to get in saddle time - during nap time, before or after they go to bed. You might also schedule an Evening or early morning ride once a week. Running is also good and takes a lot less time, which can help with cardio fitness and weight control. Hike with the kid in a pack; load it up with gear and water, and do some hills and stairs. Fit in one of each of those activities a week, with a Sat/Sun ride (trade weekend days with the mrs so she can a few hours on the other day), and you stay in shape and feel good that while maybe not racing, you're staying fit, doing your best fathering, and have a few solo hours a week to decompress out on the trails.
Enjoy the time you have now as a father.
You probably don't want to hear this.
I personally quit my job and sold just about everything I owned. House and cars and moved to a smaller cheaper house and bought a $700 car, but kept all of my bikes and found a job that would work around my new daughter and training schedule.
Now I only work 35 hours per week and still have a cheap car and the same house. I ride around 10-20 hours per week and spend every night with the kids, they are now 11 and 8. The kids now also do the races as well and it is a family event for us.
I do not miss the material things I once had and happier with the lifestyle. The bike frees me in so many ways.
In life there are many choices, choose what fits your family best. Racing may not be happening for you for the next 5 years or so. I have a great wife who has supported the transition all of the way. Also got rid of our TV 11 years ago as well and believe it or not, that freed up a bunch of time for training.
Great advice (along with the other reponses here).
Originally Posted by azpoolguy
You have to fit in in when you can and be more focused, but your family life is the most important thing right now. I remember feeling the same way when my daughter was first born.
You will have more time when your child gets older.
An night riding/lunch riding/early morning riding is what you have. Make the most of that time, so you can make the most of the your time with what really matters.
(and positive rep to everyone so far!)
This. You may not feel as such now, but you have decades of racing ahead of you. The first ten years of your child's life is your chance to bond and teach them. After that, they're essentially going to do what they want. Also, the stress of a new baby creates a lot of broken marriages. Take a year or two and focus on your family. Just like base training makes the season- your time is now to "base train" for your family.
Originally Posted by azpoolguy
Otherwise, you work in what you can. Get up early or go out during lunch and crank out some intervals. Clean up your diet, that's what drives body weight. In another year or so you can put them in a trailer and then hit some hills. After that is the trail-a-bike. My best memories thus far (and best workouts) were riding single track with my 6 year old daughter on her trail-a-bike in tow.
Congratulations on your new baby! Enjoy every second, it really does go by in a blink.
AZpoolguy- you sound like me a little bit.
Our daughter is 14 months old, and she has made our lives so much richer I can't remember what it was like before she arrived. But I do know what changed to allow me to continue training and progressing.
1) Get the best indoor trainer you can possibly afford. Get one with a powermeter, or get a permanent trainer bike with a powermeter, or something. I have a LeMond Revolution with the PowerPilot head unit for power display.
2) Get a coach, or read enough to train yourself.
3) Embrace riding early before the baby wakes up, or late in the evening after she is asleep. I prefer AM because my wife leaves early and I impact no one by getting on the trainer for an hour.
4) Learn to enjoy structured interval training. When you can measure progress with a powermeter, it is very satisfying and almost fun. You can accomplish a lot of quality work in an hour (including warmup and cooldown).
5) STOP RACING YOURSELF INTO SHAPE. Do NOT count on racing for fitness. Racing is actually pretty crappy training (if you want to get faster), and massively time-inefficient. Train with intervals (primarily) for fitness, and use the fitness you build to race.
6) Negotiate one weeknight to ride outdoors. Try to make it a longer ride (2 hours or so). Make it fun, with friends if you can.
7) Negotiate one early weekend AM ride. This will be your long ride, shoot for 2-4 hours depending on goals. Easy and fun, find friends who need to get it done early to join you.
8) STOP DEPENDING ON RACING AND TRAINING TO CONTROL YOUR WEIGHT. Put down the darn fork and control your intake when you can't be as active for one reason or another. Don't be the guy who gains 10+ lbs every winter or 30+ if he misses a race season. Eat well and stay within 2-3 lbs. of race weight year round.
These work for me. I average 8-10 hours/week of training and it's more than enough for Cat 1 XC, crits and road races (<4 hours). Hopefully it will be enough for Pro/Elite next season. Power numbers are up significantly due to recent blocks of structured training, so I have little doubt.
My wife and I came to the realization that the second pay cheque wasn't worth all the goofing around it caused. She left work 3 years ago and stayed home to raise the kids, which has worked out amazingly... Kids have a full time caregiver, who can keep their days full of variety. I have the freedom to work as I need, or get on my bike and play as I need... She gets all kinds of time with her friends and family...
A double income isn't all it's cracked up to be if you're always at your redline, all the time. Sooner or later the machine breaks down and you're going to have a hard time re-assembling the mess life has become. Car nut said it well, there are 5 years that you have to offer your kids,an opportunity to learn how to be good people. Some choose to shuffle their kids off to overcrowded daycares and rush them through their early years as fas as they can... Relax, enjoy, and find a balance that works, not one that breaks you.
I had a daughter last July too. We also have a 3yo boy. I'm 43, wife is 34. I make ok money and my wife stays home except for teaching yoga once a week. Money's tight, but we're managing.
Last year's one post-daughter race was a disaster. But this year has gone really well. Some things that helped:
> I trade time with my wife. So my 3-4 hour Sunday morning rides are exchanged for her getting to do her thing (yoga, running) a couple times a week.
> I also take "race compensation" vacation days. So I generally take a vaca day the Monday after a Sunday race to make up for lost time with the kids and to give my wife a break.
> I take my son to my parents' house (1.5 hours away) for some of the races that are closer to them, and they happily watch him while I go race. This gives my wife a bit of a break and qt w/ my daughter. My parents love it, obviously, and me and my son enjoy the guy time as well.
> I ride to work (often take a bit longer route to get extra miles) and do intervals at lunch (we have showers at work). I also keep a trainer and bike in the basement at work all winter and do lunch workouts down there (I sometimes bring my laptop down and watch bar-cams of crit races and try to pretend I'm in the race - really fun!).
> Every ride during training and race season has a very specific purpose - no junk rides. And, as you'd imagine, the more effort I put in, the better results I get.
Doing all this has helped a lot. I feel faster than ever, managed to move up to Cat 1 this year and have been competitive. All on an avg of maybe 7-9 hours of riding per week, often squeezed in wherever possible. It was a bit tough to get it figured out at first, but my wife and I have a great understanding about it now and support each other. And squeezing quality workouts in at work means I don't feel like I've missed out on quality time with the kids. On the contrary, I feel like I spend as much time with my kids as any dad I know.
2010 Niner One 9
2013 Cannondale Flash Carbon 3
This one is huge! I can't add more training time but I can control what I eat and how much I eat. I am 5'10 and raced at 155 lbs last year. I did a 5 day juice cleanse two month ago and then went on a Vegan diet. I'm now holding at 144lbs. But the biggest difference has been my sleep and recovery is better. I cut out coffee and soda also.
Originally Posted by tommyrod74
Control what you can and go with the flow on the rest!
Plant Powered Mountain Bike Racer.
Originally Posted by azpoolguy
Ha. I'm 5'10", 143, more similar than I suspected
But I love coffee, and eat meat regularly (though less than in previous years). Never eat fried foods. No gluten. No sodas for years.
Eat lots of plants (whether or not you cut out meat), it's a winning proposition.
I do get irritated at friends who complain that "I can't ride as much, so I've gained 30 lbs" or similar. No, you gained 30 lbs because you continued to eat AS IF you were still riding as much. Simple math.
I hate to say this but getting married and having kid is one reason I stopped riding in 2004 and only started again in late 2011. I still have never raced, but with all that was going on riding got the short end of the stick. The only way to keep doing it is to re-evaluate all priorities and maybe cut back on other things. For example.. I used to watch college and pro foot ball. I don't any more as I don't have the time.
Originally Posted by pattongb
2003 KHS Alite 4000 26" Hardtail - XC, All mountain, blah blah blah.. I just ride.
Yup, same thing happened to me... We had a boy almost three years ago... Most athletic stuff stopped right then and there for the first 2 1/2 years... I put on about 40 pounds. Things have finally settled down enough that both my wife and I can begin to give our health the attention it deserves again...
A lot of good points and good advice have been made here.
We had our first last November and it has definitely strained our marriage with trying to find time to ride and stay active. Something that has been a problem is that I need my time to train and she needs time to do her own thing as well. Leaving your family all the time while your wife has to take care of everything is not cool and she needs her own time as well. What we have more or less compromised on is the following.
1. One weekday ride after work for about a 1 to 2 hour ride.
2. One weekend ride in the AM or PM for 2 to 4 hours. The earlier in the AM the better because the wife likes to sleep in and some times I am back before she is up.
3. I run during lunch at work on M, W, and F. If I can't run during lunch or it looks like the weather is going to be nasty (too hot or rainy) then I will get up early (5AM) and run before work and everyone is up.
4. While I was training for Xterra I was also swimming once a week (or trying to) on Tuesdays. The little one had swim lessons on Tuesday nights and I would swim while she would do the lesson with the little one and vice versa.
5. Every once in a while if I missed a ride or a run I will take a late night ride around town while everyone is asleep. I am planning on getting a decent light this fall so that I can do some night mtb riding as well after DLST. I am only 8 min away from a trailhead so that helps.
I am probably not the person to ask because I don't really "train". I have more fun just being outside and riding and exploring than I do with specific training. In the winter time I will do specific training workouts on the rollers. But in the nice weather I like to be adventurous and just ride wherever I feel like riding. I am also in a similar boat to you and this was just my second year racing and I am a solid mid-pack Cat 2 and still getting faster and improving. I am a mid-pack in Xterra as well. If I actually did a structured training plan I would probably be more successful, but also have less fun.
As far as weight gain. Like everyone has said. It has a lot more to do with what you put in your mouth than what you do. This last July was the most training than I have ever done with 5 hours of running and 15 hours of biking and I gained 5 pounds because I ate everything in sight. There are skinny people who never exercise. There was an article from Chrissie Wellington that even though she was running and biking all the time that she still has to watch what she eats or she will gain weight. I am 5' 10" and 175 so I am not particularly skinny nor heavy. I have noticed that I will easily drop weight if I just do simple things like don't always eat until you are full, and stop drinking empty caloried drinks that do not have alcohol in them.
The most important is try to get the family involved. It is still a little early, but get a trailer and pull the trailer while your wife rides with you. Or let her do her own thing while you have the little one in the trailer. Get a backpack to put the little one in and go on family hikes. Go on jogs and push the stroller while your wife runs un-strollered. You will find out very quickly how pushing/pulling/carrying extra weight is a great workout (and often an equilizer to your wife so you are the same speed) and you get to feel close to your child and family as well. It is very important to me that both my wife and I show our daughter to live a healthy and active lifestyle.
Watch that you do not replace quality sleep with exercise too much. You will feel tired and grumpy and not have a good workout anyways. There have been studies that have linked obesity with a lack of sleep and that our bodies crave extra calories to make up for the lack of sleep. Try and turn the TV off at an earlier time and get you and your family to bed at a reasonable time.
Don't let it get you down. You are not a professional racer. Your familys wellfare is not based on your cycling placings. You will have more time to ride when the kids are older. Unless you are in your 60's this time frame probably allows you to get to CAT 1 when they are older and do not need as much time to take care of them. They will only be this age for so long so embrace it and enjoy it while it lasts. Biking is something that you do for fun because you choose to do so. If it causes too much stress in your life and makes you unhappy then stop. I told myself that I would rather have a happy marriage/family/life and never ride a bike then be divorced and have all the time to ride in the world. Obviously there is a middle ground. You just need to find out what works with you and your family.
Son was born in 2009
Been a night rider ever since.
I can clock 5-6 hours a week this way. I don't race.
But it meant no trail ride for me. So its not really MTB on these ride as I ride with slick most of the time on pavement. BUT I take a day off for the occasionnal day long epic ride now and then and maybe on week-end ( have to negotiate these though). And I often bring my 3 yrs old on saturday morning ride with the trailer.
The kid and family worth it and I have no regrets, but sometime slight nostalgia ...
I have 9month old twins, and the first 3 months I hardly saw or did anything besides work and home. It was pretty much a day shift (work) and night shift (kids).
The kids are still young, but to keep on top of my training I ride at 5.10am every morning, with Sunday off.
You need to accept that things won't be the same as before, and that you also need to adapt your schedule around the kids. For me it was early bed, early start. Now I find it weird that not everyone is up at 5am every day.
Just sent my twins off to college earlier this week. Still have a 14 and 12 year old at home. Started riding/racing motocross and mtb again once my oldest could start to participate or showed interest. You will never be as fast as you think you were, but who cares?
You can still live a healthy and active life, it sets a great example for the rest of the family.
So many great replies -- and really good to see what's working for everyone here. I also have a relatively new daughter, and have been able to improve fitness pretty significantly in the time we've had her. I get fewer overall trail miles (and sleep) than before, but I'd never trade back. Family first for sure.
Here are a couple things that have helped us in dealing with my bike riding addiction:
1. Just like a bunch of guys here, she gives me the go-ahead on one week-night ride, and then another longer ride on the weekend... with an optional (but likely) 2nd weekend ride depending on how the weekend goes. For us, just setting the expectations for ride days that work for both of us made a huge difference.
2. I started riding to work every day, instead of sporadically... it's only 10 miles a day for me, but it's essentially 50 'free' miles on the bike each week because it's not much longer time-wise than driving, so it doesn't take away from family time. It just requires more planning ahead on my part. Obviously this may not work for everyone, but it has been a really good option for me.
3. Do tons of chores. It's magic.
Sorry, double posted that...
Last edited by jp67; 09-08-2012 at 12:22 AM.
Reason: double post
I have 4 young kids 4-10 years old) and train 5-6 hours per week and race cat 1 mountain. My wife is supportive and comes to my races with the kids who are all old enough to race kids races. When they were young I etched the training time into my schedule no matter what, as long as I made sure my family got the time I needed. I scheduled workouts weeks in advance and made sure I had plenty of family time as well. I'm self employed which leaves me with flexibility to ride during lunch and early afternoons plus my wife is supportive. I was able to race and train over the last 5 years with young kids and putting my wife through nursing school. As others have said-ride early, get a good trainer and workout a schedule with your wife and agree on your workout schedule and you'll be good to go.
I have 2 girls and when the first came our way I got myself a road bike for those days I want to ride but only have an hour, then I started riding in the early am to try to up my cardio a bit. I also picked up night riding for those summer 10 pm rides, worked for me and I actually ended up riding a bit more but not quite as fun as all mtn bike rides
Reading this whole thread just freaked me out.
It's been mentioned, but the year our son turned 1, I got a trailer and started riding with him every day.
I have never been stronger on my bike, and that was also the best shape I had been in in almost 10 years.
Great birth controll for the single men and a little something to think about for the young married couple. I think a lot of it also has to do with your wife. Me and my wife switch workout days, she is also very active and as long as she makes it to the gym a few days a week she is cool with the rides and the early 6 am Saturday mornin ride so I am still home bay the time she gets back from the gym.
Originally Posted by thickfog