Luvuyo Bangazi: Juggling training and festive season family demands

I have mentioned the unique quality of multitasking more than once before – and that most triathletes have that ability.

Balancing a demanding sportslife, family life, work or business commitments and some social life is no easy matter.

Because of our habitual lifestyle, as triathletes we tend to cope and master this art.

We clip on cycling shoes, drink, eat and still ride 180km without stopping. That is mastery. Does this make us perfect? I doubt it – I am sure that somewhere out there is an incomplete task, annoyed partner or friends that cannot even remember what you look like.

Be that as it may, we do what we have to do, so we can be what we want to be. Enter the festive season. If not carefully approached, this time could be a disaster, or an opportunity to gain – and by that I do not mean gaining weight, although the chances of that happening are pretty good.

I will not attempt to give any coaching advice, but what I know is what had worked for me over the last four years.

I have a wife and two highly active children, who are only glad to have both parents available for the holidays.

The worst thing I can do is to rob them of the quality time they miss for most of the year.

Last year, we decided we would agree on a location for a family breakaway – and fit in a triathlon race as part of the experience.

We also agreed that there has to be something for everyone.

We settled Bahrain. on Ironman 70.3

As part of the programme, the Middle East race had Iron Kids and Iron Girl.

The prep to Bahrain was a pleasant one – all of us had something to look forward to.

The wife will tell you she is no athlete, but the thought of running a loop at the Bahrain International Circuit, a Formula One race course, was inviting. My two munchkins have taken a liking to the Iron-Kids concept, I think they want to do what daddy is doing – perhaps as a means to spend time together, or maybe as a genuine interest, I do not know.

Suffice to say, the trip was successful. We all enjoyed our time out.

The lesson for me is to always take the family needs into account.

This year, we are going for a little break to Cape Town. Yes we will take our own bath water with!

To cope with the festive demands, and still get some training done, I have been kind of sneaky.

The accommodation I booked into has access to a good gym and decent size swimming pool.

The place is not far from the national gym brand I belong to.

I made sure to book close to popular cycling and running routes – and as close as possible to the ocean.

This means I can get my sessions early in the morning while my family is fast asleep – and we will still have breakfast together.

As a budding athlete, I cannot afford to regress in my preparations for next year, but I cannot rob the family of quality holiday time

One needs to be creative in balancing these needs.

For many, the first task ahead is the Ironman 70.3 South Africa, in East London late next month.

There are 100 70.3 World Championship slots up for grabs.

Go and get yours.

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