At the start of each new racing season, I consistently find myself looking for ways to manage the demands of my career, family, and triathlon. Training for 3 different sports is time-consuming, but possible with simple planning and smart training.
To excel in triathlon, effective time-management is essential. If you are the typical age-group triathlete, you juggle your athletic goals with your family commitments and career demands. Being a triathlete requires a lifestyle that should bring you joy, not stress. Here are the top five ways to balance your commitment to triathlon with the rest of life’s responsibilities :
Flexible Training: Learning to train intuitively can help you find work/life/triathlon balance, and prevent injury and overtraining. Being able to “go with the flow” and alter your schedule when needed, will keep you from getting stressed out when unexpected events interfere with your workout plans. Whether you’ve suddenly come down with a cold, or have to travel unexpectedly, you can save yourself some anxiety by simply altering your training schedule to meet your needs.
Create Time: Don’t start planning your training schedule until you’ve figured out exactly how much time you can devote to your workouts each week. One of the biggest obstacles in training for an athletic event-or exercising in general-seems to be a lack of time. Before you even BEGIN a training program, calculate how many hours you can spare each week, and schedule these times and days accordingly. Don’t wing it; use a calendar! Tip: The average American spends 15 hours per week watching T.V.! This is an easy category to “borrow” time from.
Prioritize: Decide what’s most important, and complete that task first. Determine what your weaknesses are, and which workouts are most crucial. If your strength is swimming and you find yourself with limited hours in a given week, skip going to the pool and opt for a run or bike ride instead. Also, commit to your long training sessions and avoid missing them. These are necessary in order to build endurance over time, and are irreplaceable.
Rest & Recovery: Without proper sleep, nutrition and down-time, your body can’t recuperate from hard training sessions, and you increase the risk of getting sick and/or injured. Catching a virus or tearing a muscle will derail your training efforts quickly, and can last for days, weeks or months. Listen to your body, and try to give yourself at least one day of “rest” per week.
Be Realistic: Don’t bite off more than you can chew. If you are having trouble churning out enough hours to train for a sprint triathlon, don’t elect to register for a Half Ironman(70.3 mile) race in the hopes that some free time will magically appear. You will set yourself up for failure, and likely end up forgoing the entire plan. Start with an easily attainable goal, and build from there. With each success, you will gain the confidence and knowledge to take your training to the next level.
With thoughtfulness, diligence, and determination, you can figure out how to make time to fulfill your dream and love of being a triathlete, while balancing the needs of your loved ones, career and other goals.
Best to you and yours,
Staff Writer: Holly Lowe Jones