Like father, like sons: Abe Tayag on raising national triathlete twins | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

A triathlete father like Abe Tayag knows best
Art by Ella Lambio

Sharing a love for triathlon with your children, says Abe Tayag, means “nurturing their interests rather than pushing them”

To those who’ve been in the multisport scene for a while, Abe Tayag needs no introduction. But in any case, here’s a quick introduction: He has been doing triathlons for more than two decades already and as of today, has done his 20th full Ironman.

He continues to be one of the fastest and most respected ambassadors of the sport. The past few years, he, together with his brother Jumbo and teammates from TriClark, established GoClark Sports and Events. They hold multisport races in the Clark and Subic area and have been fostering the growth of the sport as of late.

A fellow coach, Abe brought his wife into the fold and is passing on the torch to his children. Unsurprisingly, they all seem to have inherited his athletic genes; as a matter of fact, his 18-year-old twins Lance and Mari Tayag are part of the developmental pool for the national team. As our special Father’s Day feature, Abe is kind enough to take time from his busy schedule to share his thoughts with us.

How did you get started with triathlon?

I’ve always been passionate about competitive sports: I started with tennis at the young age of six and played competitively through college. After college, I took up golf and reached the national amateur level. A friend then suggested we try a triathlon and I was immediately hooked by the challenge of combining three disciplines—swimming, cycling, and running—into one event. The camaraderie within the triathlon community and the personal growth I experienced kept me coming back for more. What began as a hobby gradually evolved into a deep passion.

Abe Tayag family
Abe Tayag with his family

How do you manage doing triathlon while being a father, husband, and provider for the family?

Balancing triathlon with family life requires careful planning and a lot of communication.

Here are a few strategies that have worked for me:

Prioritize and schedule

Since my work involves organizing multisport events and managing a bike shop, my passion for sports has seamlessly integrated into my professional life. This alignment allows me to prioritize both training and work effectively, enabling me to stay dedicated to my triathlon goals while thriving in my career.

Lance and Mari Tayag are both members of the National Triathlon Junior Developmental Team
Lance and Mari Tayag are both members of the National Triathlon Junior Developmental Team
Involve the family

I include my family in my journey by sharing my goals and achievements with them, making them feel like a part of the experience and fostering their support. I introduced multisport to my wife and children, allowing us to train together and use it as a bonding activity. This way, we not only stay active but also strengthen our family connections through our shared passion for sports.

Sacrifice and flexibility

I sometimes have to make sacrifices, such as missing a training session for a family event or work commitment. Flexibility and understanding from both my family and myself are crucial in maintaining this balance. Being adaptable ensures that I can meet both my personal and professional responsibilities without compromising my family relationships or my dedication to triathlons.

How did your boys get started with triathlon?

My boys got started in triathlon by watching and participating with me. They saw the joy and fulfillment I derived from the sport and naturally became curious. We began with fun, informal events like family runs and bike rides, keeping it enjoyable and pressure-free. As their interest grew, I gradually introduced them to more structured training, ensuring the experience remained positive and engaging.

A winning post-race portrait with the Tayag family
A winning post-race portrait with the Tayag family

As a competitive triathlete, do you push your boys the same way? Or are they naturally driven?

I believe in nurturing their interests rather than pushing them. I provide opportunities and support, but I don’t force them to participate. It’s important that they find their own motivation and passion for the sport. I encourage them to set their own goals and celebrate their achievements, no matter how small. If they choose to pursue triathlon seriously, I’ll be there to guide and support them, but the drive needs to come from within them.

What’s the best reason why dads (no matter how busy) should engage in sports and exercise?

The best reason for dads to engage in sports and exercise is that it sets a positive example for their children and promotes a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Regular physical activity improves mental health, reduces stress, and increases energy levels, making it easier to fulfill various roles as a father, husband, and provider. It also provides an opportunity to bond with family, instilling values of discipline, perseverance, and the importance of taking care of one’s body. Ultimately, it leads to a happier, healthier, and more fulfilling life for both you and your family.

Photos courtesy of Abe Tayag

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