A grazing approach

Ive been about the impacts of having one’s training frequently interrupted. This falls into the category of things I can’t change right now, but still curious.

Before our second little one, I was able to get in 10+ hours of training per week, and most of it was concentrated in longer sessions. These days I can manage ~8, but it’s piecemeal. Almost every morning I wake up and get on the trainer at 6, watching the baby monitor. When my littlest (19 months) wakes up, usually between 6:15 and 6:45, I stop my trainer ride, grab her, bundle us both up, and head outside with her in the trailer. I live right next to a park with very safe riding, and I can mostly keep it in zone 2. I keep a Bluetooth speaker in the trailer and have some good playlists for her to groove to. We both love it, but she hits her limit at about 45 min. I should mention I’m doing the polarized plan, not because I think it is superior, but because my current life cannot accommodate three structures interval sessions per week.

Wednesdays are my one day a week that my wife does morning duty with both girls, and I do my hard TR threshold or vo2 session.

On Saturdays, instead of one long ride, I do my normal morning trainer warmup followed by baby ride, then another hour or so on the trainer during her afternoon nap (will be increasingly outside as spring springs) . I’m far too needed at home to go off on multi-hour rides right now, as much as I love those.

Sundays are similar, but instead of the trainer I commute to a gig 45 min each way, once again separated by a few hours between legs.

When there is snow or ice, I run with the baby instead of riding. I squeeze in strength twice a week as well, often at pretty random opportunistic times (I’m the weird guy doing pull-ups and push-ups at the playground near my daughter’s preschool before picking her up).

Before folks suggest getting up earlier, that’s not an option for me. The only time my wife and I get to be alone together is from 9-10pm or so, and that time is important to us. I don’t function well on much less than 8 hours, so 6a is the earliest I can do on a daily basis.

This is what it is for me right now. Do others have similarly complex ride schedules, and have you had success improving under these kinds or constraints? It is exhausting and frustrating at times, but I am incredibly grateful to get the riding I do, and I cherish the time with the kiddos.


Most of us have had to adapt our training around our kids and family responsibilities……you do what you can do.

If that schedule is what you can accommodate, then that is what you deal with for now. As your kids get older, you’ll find more opportunities to train on a more regular schedule.

Enjoy this time with your kids….that is what really matters.


That’s an astonishing schedule you’ve managed to work out - kudos to you for developing it and sticking to it. It really sounds like you’re doing the absolute best you can to balance things. And that should keep you in good shape for the future when things ease up a bit and you have some more flexibility for longer rides. Well done.


I feel you, I used to try and get out at 5am, but my daughter started getting up at 5:30 and or would wake as she’s a light sleeper….so I started evening indoor rides but then my son started going to sleep later and my wife didn’t take kindly to playing second fiddle to a bike…
You can’t fight it, just need to be very flexible and train when you can, I now incorporate running for my commute post school/daycare dropoffs and cycling when I’m working from home twice a week, I also try and swim but that’s a whole other challenge trying to get to a pool :sweat_smile:

Thanks for the validation, folks. It’s a game of Tetris, but I’m enjoying it. Family always comes first, trying to go with the flow otherwise. Encouraged to hear it gets easier!


I feel you. I’m in the same boat, and my advice is to stay flexible and try to find strategies to either protect your training time or to combine dad duties with riding. Here are a few things that worked for me and may or may not work for you:

  • I try to prioritize my kids and my wife, especially when all are awake. What help is it to anyone if you are a worse dad or a worse partner in exchange for 2 more hours on the bike.
  • I reduced volume and then built up slowly. Fortunately, both of our kids have had a very good sleep routine. They both like to sleep in now. However, sometimes our big one will get up at night and then come in our bed to cuddle. She moves a lot, and it might happen that I can’t really get to sleep. Less sleep = less resilience to fatigue, so you need to factor that in.
  • We bought a kids trailer, the Encore (similar to the Encore X, although it lacks suspension). The other company is Thule, they are pricier, perhaps a bit more nicer. This is probably one of my two most favorite cycling-related purchases ever. Very often I would take out one or both of our kids on an endurance ride: I pop them both in the trailer, put snacks, water and other stuff in the back, make sure they are comfortable. Usually, they are super stoked to come and they’d fall asleep after a while. These endurance rides have been a win-win-win for us: my kids win as they get to spend time with me doing something we all enjoy (win for the kids). My wife gets time off from our kids (win for my wife). And I get my endurance ride in, and because I have a giant trailer in the back with the aerodynamic properties of a brick, I stay in low zone 2 during those rides (win for me). I’d usually ask my wife for how long she wants us out of her hair and simply choose a route accordingly.
  • Note that the kids trailer can also be used for running, skiing and offroading in case you or your wife are into that.
  • I started getting up earlier and hopping on the trainer earlier. I used to get up at 5:30, not it is 4:40–5:00. This will get me more protected time.
  • It sounds as if you did this already, but talk to your partner about time management. My wife goes to the gym at night and is part of an acapella ensemble. I take care of the kids then and she’ll make sure most of my mornings are protected. Since all of my rides but one are while everyone is asleep (for the most part), I am able to do about 90 % of what I was able to before our second kid was born.
  • I try to level up my game when it comes to time management. We only have two kids, but there are a lot of e. g. doctor’s appointments and such that disrupt the regular schedule. E. g. two weeks ago, my wife asked me whether I could take our little one to get a vaccination. I said no — not because I was a d$ck, but because I was already on dad duty and had to accompany our big one to the dentist at the same time. (I offered to swap appointments, too.) So my wife went from 3 gym sessions per week and the odd acapella group recital to 2 gym sessions, and one optional activity on the weekend.

There’s no easy answers.

A helpful thing for me is trying to minimize the times that the wife and I each are responsible for one kid. That time is better spent for either of us to have both kids so that the other can do something productive.

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Yup, that matches my experience as well. Even if you can do some house chores without “interference” from one of our kids or being able to go shopping alone is a big boost to productivity. Sometimes you can’t avoid splitting responsibilities, though.