by Philip Hauserman
January 15, 2014, started off like any other morning. Ashley (my wife) and I both got up to workout before work – she was planning to get in a spin on the trainer and I was headed out the door to go for a run around our neighborhood. Ten minutes later I traded the running tights and jacket for jeans and a sweatshirt. We were off to Dekalb Medical Center!
Fourteen hours later we welcomed Emma Ann Hauserman to the world. Holding your child for the first time is one of the most incredible feelings. I was completely flooded with emotions – love, happiness, and responsibility – there are so many feelings that come over you that it is almost impossible to describe.
Jump ahead 10 months. Our little girl changes every day. She’s still an absolute joy to be around. I’m still a wide-eyed and occasionally sleep deprived new parent. But I’m also still a triathlete.
Having a child and racing triathlons are not mutually exclusive. In fact, being a parent has made me a better triathlete. I chose to focus on Olympic distance races this year to get acclimated to my new role as a parent. That was one of the best decisions I have ever made – it allowed me to continue to race competitively without feeling like I was missing out on too many “firsts” at home.
I certainly learned a lot about balance this past year. Here are my top four tips for training and racing as a new parent:
1. Get up early. And I mean early. No later than 5 am. On weekdays and weekends. If it’s a long(er) workout, it’s not uncommon for my alarm to go off at 4:15 a.m. or 4:30 a.m. Outside of one evening swim per week, all my training is done in the early morning. All my time is devoted to Emma when I get home from work. Triathlon and fitness is important, but my family is more important.
2.Do what you can do when you can do it. Only have time for a 4 mile run? Or 15 minutes of core work? Do it. It’s important to get out there and do something. I’ve always felt much better when I’m consistent during triathlon season. Seven days of short workouts has always made me feel much better than four days off and three days on. If nothing else, it keeps me sane and helps me be a better husband and father.
3. Be flexible. Almost every weekend in my first five years in this sport consisted of a long ride or brick on Saturday morning, followed by a long run on Sunday morning. I’ve had to learn to be much more flexible. Workouts are now fit in around three schedules: my schedule, my wife’s schedule, and an infant’s very unpredictable schedule. Some of my long runs are now done at 4:30 a.m. on Sunday morning. That’s early, but see No. 1 and No. 2 above. It’s quite peaceful, actually. I can typically run by myself down the center of College Avenue that early in the morning. No cars, no walkers, no runners (except for maybe a few). Just the morning and me.
4. Involve your family. Emma and I have gone on many training runs together. The most we’ve done has been eight miles, but eight miles with a stroller is a different kind of eight miles. Plus, she really enjoys being outside. It’s also important to me that Emma is exposed to healthy, fun activities as early as possible. One tradition I started with the Publix Half Marathon – the very first race I did after Emma was born – is to give her my medal. Even though I know she likes the medals mostly because they’re shiny and fun to play with, I like giving them to her because I view the medal as an award for our entire family.
I’ll definitely be putting these tips to work in 2015, especially since IM number four – and my first IM with a child – is on the calendar for September. Sounds like an “IM training with a young family” blog post is in my future!
Team Podium member Phillip and his daughter Emma.