The ride of my life: A multitasking, working, triathlon’ing mum


21.03.24 at 12:25 pm

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In this article, we catch up with YJ x BTF Age group ambassador, Nina Wareham and get her experiences from transitioning back into the world of sport whilst working full time after having two children. Over to you Nina.


Many parents will relate to day and night blurring into one when you have young children.  Last night, our household was up multiple times until eventually I dragged myself out of bed around 6am along with two mini humans that had hijacked the bed during the night. As always, in that moment I think about the day ahead and maintaining a level of professionalism at work despite my fatigued, foggy brain.  I think about training and wonder when and how I will best fit it in today and whether I swim, bike, run or gym.  It’s a recurring dilemma.

The morning routine commences with a chaotic buzz of activity, often disputes over trivial things, whining about breakfast, inability for anyone to find clothes amongst the piles of washing that are still to be put away.  We leave the house slightly dishevelled, but everyone is ok, fed, washed, clothed and ready to start the day.  The walk to nursery and school is a bit of a battle but we get there.  Children dropped off. And breathe. Off to work.

YJ x BTF age group ambassador, Nina Wareham at a triathlon with her children

What has any of this got to do with riding a bike?

I have two children and being a parent has been the biggest, best, and hardest challenge of my life.  Personally, I feel it is important to maintain some of things in life that you enjoyed before having children, the things that give you your own identify as well as being a parent, that make you feel good and keep you energised.  After having children, I wanted to get back into sport, challenge myself, have something to focus on and something for me.

In 2022, on a whim, I entered a super-sprint triathlon to kick myself back into gear having not done any training for several years.  It was a shambles, but I loved it, despite losing my goggles in the swim and (literally) rolling around in transition trying to get my now much snugger wetsuit off.   Riding the high from this event, I joined a local Triathlon Club and started getting back into some training.

The bike was outright my weakest discipline and so I focussed on this throughout 2023.  I did lots of indoor training, weights, absorbed as much information as possible from cycling friends, as well as replacing my very entry-level bike for a much more respectable, second-hand road bike that would give me half a chance of keeping up with the competition.

Triathlete riding under the Clifton suspension bridge

I became fitter and got placed at local races.  Cycling became my strength.  (The adrenaline and endorphin release from riding my road bike fast, especially in drafting races, is my favourite part of racing!) I entered a British Triathlon Age Group Qualifier race in 2023 to see how I would fair up against stronger competition.

I qualified for both the 2024 European and World Age Group Sprint Triathlon Championships and I’m excited to be racing at both this year.  However, triathlon has offered me so much more.  Often, I will get on my bike feeling totally frazzled from the day (or rather the blur of day and night), but I get off feeling mentally and physically refreshed and strong.

I’m a better person and a better mum for triathlon. I have made some amazing friends that I train with regularly – the kind of friends that you will use your precious 15 seconds of rest between 100m freestyle efforts to recall snippets of your day… the person you know will agree to a 20km weekend run so that you can chat the entire way.  I hugely admire my sporty-mum friends, they are strong women who similarly embark on this multitasking ride.

Nina Wareham with her triathlon club

People often ask how I have time to train with two young children and a near full-time job. It isn’t easy and requires commitment, planning and willpower and luckily for me a very supportive partner too.  I don’t know how I would manage this parenting-working-life juggle without exercise.

I would encourage anyone that relates to the juggle to find a way to weave a regular and healthy dose of exercise (whatever it may be) into life that works for you and your lifestyle, something is always better than nothing and it is always worth it. Having my family come to watch me at races and cheer me on is the best feeling, I wish I could bottle it and give out to everyone.  I don’t have to do this multitasking ride; it a choice and a privilege and I’m hugely grateful for that.


Can you succeed without a coach?

I have never formally had a coach although I do attend coached group sessions with my triathlon club and through my local gym. I can see huge potential benefit to having one-to-one coaching e.g. to guide you through training, strengthening and injury prevention strategies, to support periodisation up to race day and to help you make the best use of your time when training (especially when other aspects are life are busy!)

Coaching of course is an additional and significant cost and is not achievable for many.  A different approach might be to have an occasional one-to-one coaching session to run through technique for example and give you things to go away and work on.  I absolutely think you can succeed without a coach, but it takes an internal drive and time spent researching how best to train.

There are also many apps out there that can help guide you e.g. Training Peaks, Zwift.  My biggest piece of advice would be to join a club or link up with a group of friends who also have a keen interest in the sport, I have learnt so much from friends!  Triathletes love to talk training, gear and races!

triathlete diving into the water

How many hours a week do you train?

It varies due to a busy family and work life but usually somewhere between 5-8 hours per week.  I will ramp my training schedule up as I come closer to my ‘A’ races which are towards the end of the summer but it’s unrealistic for me to maintain a higher frequency of training all year round and I am ok with that.   I can often be found multitasking looking after children, whilst on my turbo bike in the kitchen, with our dog bounding about the place, it’s chaos!

My advice for others with young children / hectic work schedules is to be proactive in planning where you might be able to fit your training sessions into the week ahead but also not to beat yourself up if this does not go to plan.  Make the most of indoor training during winter and plan to train with friends when you can, the social aspect of sport is so important and often a group of people push one another to train harder!

Triathlete entering the transition zone

What are your top tips for training whilst juggling family life?

Triathlon is a great sport because you can make the three disciplines work for you and reap the benefits of cross training.  If my legs are tired, I might switch my run session to a swim for example and get more out of that session than I would have done running on tired legs.

Ensure you prioritise strength training and recovery too.  The ‘golden hour’ post training is a perfect opportunity to help with recovery.  I love my Riixo calf cuffs because it means I can whack them on and get the benefit of ice and compression on fatigued legs whilst multitasking looking after children.

Sleep is also vital to recovery and performance and having a young family means that it’s not always abundant! That might mean adjusting training and doing a zone 2 session for example, rather than trying to hit a hard session feeling exhausted!   It’s all about balance in my opinion!

We don’t think Nina is on her own and recon that there are many others like her who just need some inspiration to dust off the training gear and get back into sport. For more information on how to get into triathlon, visit our partners, British Triathlon. If you want to check out some fun and friendly triathlon events, check out our blog on The best triathlons for beginners.

If you have already started training and are going to race, don’t forget, Yellow Jersey offer triathlon bike insurance to cover crash damage for your bike and kit whilst competing. Better still, British Triathlon members get brilliant discounts on  Yellow Jersey bicycle and travel insurance. Need a bit of help? give our support staff a call on 0333 003 0046

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