Getting Started

How Can I Get My Kids Interested In Triathlon?

Coach Shelly O’Brien gives advice on sharing your love for triathlon with your children.

Coach Shelly O’Brien gives advice on sharing your love for triathlon with your children.

Q: How can I get my kid(s) into multisport so we can share the triathlon lifestyle as a family?

A: The greatest challenge for parents is to invite themselves into a youth training plan instead of incorporating the young athlete into an adult-oriented plan. This means that the parents must learn and evaluate youth-appropriate workouts and racing opportunities instead of applying adult themes to training. I understand this would be a complete reversal for many multisport families.

Some activities you can do together:

Spend time at a bike shop and learn basic maintenance.
Have sprint relays or sprint-only workouts in swim/bike/run.
Incorporate transition-only workouts—who is faster?
– In all phases, play games. How long can you vertically kick in the water? Who can ride a straight line in a parking lot on the white line? Or who can hop over cones the best?
While riding the bike, challenge yourselves to small-ring-only races for 5–15 minutes at a time.
– Spend time stretching or participating in a yoga class with the young athlete.
Participate in body-weight-only strength training. How long can you hold a plank position?
Go grocery shopping. Have the young athlete make a list and locate those items.
Take a cooking class.
Choose a super-sprint and do a family relay.
Be creative! Invite other neighborhood kids to play.

As a positive benefit, you, the adult, may find your own performances improve!

Photos: Tri-Loving Kids

Shelly O’Brien is a USAT Level 3 International Elite Coach and the owner of IconOne Multisport (Icon1multisport.com).