How Radka Kahlefeldt Maintains The Race/Mum Balance

The on-going struggles of any committed triathlete are learning the race/life balance. Spending enough time concentrating on your family and maintaining a social life, whilst smashing your races and being the best athlete you can be. See below for Radka Kahlefeldt’s first-hand account of having a baby whilst maintaining her elite triathlete title…

I have always loved training and racing.

I have raced until I was 10 weeks pregnant and I kept training during my whole pregnancy. In the later stages, it was really unlike training and more like exercises to keep happy and healthy. I really felt better when doing at least one training sessions a day even when 8 months pregnant. That helped me with any sickness or headaches or mood swings 🙂

After pregnancy

After I delivered baby Ruby I started immediately back. I was initially walking with the pram, and later swimming. Swimming is the best way to get back in shape without risking injury. I then started cycling, doing plenty of core exercises, elliptical and at 8 weeks post delivery also running.

My motivation was to be back racing!

Ruby is my first baby, so I had no idea what to expect from the new life after delivery. However, I agreed to my first race back only 11 weeks after Ruby was born! This race was Ironman 70.3 Phillippines.

I didn’t push myself into any big training. I am lucky my husband is also my coach, so he would always suggest training schedules for me. My main coach in the first stages after delivery was my baby 🙂 She was the one who would decide if I will do the suggested training. Sometimes I would end up doing only half, sometimes I could do a bit more … My rule is: Happy mum = happy baby. So I trained, that makes me happy and so Ruby was/is happy.

My training has changed significantly since becoming a mum:

  • I do most of my training indoors on the treadmill and wind trainer. That way, I can do more quality training in a shorter time and still be close to Ruby in case she needs me for feeding.
  • When I do a training session, it is always very specific, and high-quality. I don’t do any “junk” mileage anymore.
  • I always want to be back with Ruby as soon as possible so I don’t have any coffee stops…
  • I plan my training days around Ruby’s routine (for example when I know she will have a longer nap I go on the wind trainer.)
  • I have joined a gym/pool with a creche where I can have Ruby for up to 2 hours so I can do a solid workout – even now when Ruby is bigger and on the “move” 🙂
  • I don’t have set “easy days”. I just have an easy day when training isn’t possible for some reason, like after a sleepless night because of growing teeth or so.
  • I also plan some of my training for when Brad is at home and can be with Ruby.
  • Every day is different and you have to to be flexible with everything you do.

I don’t think about training much as there is no time for it anymore. Just jump into the pool, get the hard work done and go back to the baby world of smiles and cuddles. All is about the baby.

I love it 🙂

“Family friendly” days

We love to organise some “family friendly” days. I will ride for 3 hours to a nice, previously chosen place, where Brad and Ruby will meet me. I will take Ruby for a run off the bike with our Bugaboo runner pram and Brad will do his running training. I love these days.

My racing plans are also different:

I race less ( I used to do 20+ races a season)  as the logistic of traveling with a baby to races is more complicated. Although Ironman70.3 WorldChampionship is going to be already my 7th race in 2018.

I have to either travel with Brad or my family to the races or I organise a nanny in the race destination. This is the case for the 70.3 World Championship. I wouldn’t be able to come without having a help of local family Natalie, Jason, and their girls and nanny.

My 2018 race results so far:

  • 1st Ironman 70.3 Davao, Philippines
  • 1st Ironman 70.3 Vietnam
  • 1st Ironman 70.3 Asia Pacific Championship, Cebu, Philippines
  • 1st Keszthely Triathlon, Hungary
  • 1st Challenge Taiwan (Asia Pacific Champs)
  • 1st 70.3 Western Sydney
  • 3rd The Championship, Samorin, Slovakia
  • 3rd Challenge Melbourne
  • 5th 70.3 World Champs in South Africa

All this is possible only if you really love the sport and only if you have a great supportive husband 🙂