This week, we sat down with Kim and Ben Coleman to discuss their unique situation as a bike racing couple with young children, and how they balance family with training and racing. Cycle-Smart coaches have a unique understanding of this balance, since most of us are both parents and competitive athletes as well, and we work hard with our clients to build programs and offer coaching that work best for their needs both on and off the bike. Here's what Kim had to say about working with Cycle-Smart:
CS: Who is your coach and how long have you (and Ben) been with with Cycle-Smart?
KC: Our coach is Jordan Villella and we started working with him in August, when we welcomed our second baby. We knew we were going to need help if we were going to successfully keep racing with two kids and two full time careers!
CS: You gave birth to your second child weeks before the cross season, and began racing shortly after. What planning went into making that happen, and how did you balance training with caring for both an infant and a toddler?
KC: Well, it required a lot of conversations between me and Ben to get organized and talk about what we could manage. And then it took talking to my doctor about what was safe. I made sure I put in my time while I was pregnant, riding or running 4-5 days per week throughout the pregnancy and doing strength to prepare for labor. And then I'd say it took a lot of mental preparation in the form of giving myself permission to hold back. We really needed to be flexible and check in with Jordan about how training was going and what I could realistically pull off.
CS: You and Ben have worked out a great system where you each focus on a different racing season, and split your training plan into Level 3 or 4 depending on which of you in in their main season. How is this training system working out for you? Does that balance carry over into the rest of your lives as parents?
KC: Yes, I think so. I mean, honestly, at this point, I think balance is the name of the game for us. Our family is the most important thing to us, and we're just trying to integrate bike racing into our new life as parents. We think bike racing is a healthy activity to expose our kids to, so we're learning how to be a biking family!
CS: What advice do you have for other parents of young kids, or those who are considering becoming parents on balancing parenthood and bike racing?
KC: Take it easy! Give yourself permission to pull back, change your plans, bail when things aren't going well. The goal, for us, is to find a stride that's sustainable. So we do not want to over do it!
CS: How has Cycle-Smart made a difference for you?
KC: Cycle-Smart totally makes balance possible! It helps us organize our time, Jordan tells us what we should focus our limited time and resources on, and he helps us keep everything in perspective!
Thanks Kim and Ben and good luck to both of you in your respective upcoming seasons!