The Triathlon Spouse Perspective

The Triathlon Spouse Perspective

by Coach Mike Ricci

D3 is offering a new column – from the perspective of the triathlon significant other – a ‘tri-so’ as we call it. Since I have a lot of experience as a tri-so, I am here to offer valuable information into your triathlete’s mood, mindset, and actions. I also hope to draw attention to the significant other in the triathlete’s life by sharing advice and suggestions on how to manage training, racing and relationships! My years of being a tri-so, having seen my triathlete race everything from sprint to Xterra to Ironman races on different continents – and my own training and race experience – will hopefully lend to a lighter side of the sport. I hope my column enlightens you on the triathlete mindset and helps your relationship prosper in 2007! Enjoy the ride!

The Spouse’s Perspective – Resolution Suggestions for ’07!
I had to laugh when I heard a spouse proclaim, “now my season is longer”, as her husband verbally committed to several cyclo cross races this fall/winter. I realized that when you are “involved”, this sport requires a lot of negotiation and compromise in order to make it work in the relationship. As a spouse of a very invested triathlete, I thought I might be able to share some friendly suggestions with other “involved” triathletes and their significant others. So from this coach’s wife, read on and line up a successful training and race season in 2007 ensuring your partner’s complete support!

Resolution #1
We are there for you. That’s right, it’s true, we want you to be happy, and if triathlon makes you happy, then by gosh … do what you need to do and train! However, remember this: For each race that you might schedule or plan, that’s one day or weekend away from an activity that your significant other would want to do – with you. Resolution: For each race scheduled, commit to another day doing something your significant other plans.

Resolution #2
Spontaneity is essential in any relationship. If every weekend, every afternoon, every morning is blocked off for training, it limits the opportunity for spontaneity. Spontaneity and variety add spice to the relationship – it keeps things diverse and interesting. A little spice leads to positive results in other training zones and hubba hubba – who doesn’t want that. Resolution: Occasionally, deviate from the training plan and embrace some variety.

Resolution #3
Speaking of variety, breakfast conversations that start with heart rate zones, dinner chatter that includes lactate thresholds and emails that include pace charts are ok to a certain point – ‘cause it’s interesting to you and well, your significant other is probably trying to stay healthy and is – to a degree – almost interested. However, if your significant other doesn’t wear a heart rate monitor, it’s really not so easy to follow along and understand. It would be like discussing the $25 savings card for future purchases she just picked up at Ann Taylor because she spent $100 on her new cashmere sweater. The card must be used before January 1st, and the sales are happening now, so she’s got to get back there soon. Do you like the color? Resolution: Recognize that some of your significant other’s interest are perhaps not your own, but make a concentrated effort to pay attention to things he/she wants to discuss.

Resolution #4
Tag-a-longs! No, not the Girl Scout cookies. If you’ve got a significant other that likes to train, welcome them as a tag-a-long. Your training pace might be faster than his/her fastest day, but sharing the sport together, at any level, is important to the quality of both your lives. Resolution: Carve out a work out or two that you can do together.

Implement those resolutions and I’m certain your relationship will blossom and your race season will hit PRs!

Michael Ricci is a USAT Level III certified coach. He can be reached for personal coaching at Please visit his website at


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