So you are smack in the middle of race season. Maybe you have 4 or 5 races on your calendar and it is starting to seem like there is no end in site. You are getting up at the crack of dawn to get your runs in before it gets to hot. Your lunch hour is spent at the pool getting your 3000 yard swim in and you are most likely eating a yogurt at your desk for lunch. Your long ride is now up to 4 and a half hours which means you are the only one in your house not sleeping in on Saturdays.
If this sounds familiar to you, you are not alone. It is the life of a hungry triathlete. We are a different breed and often times not everybody you are close to REALLY gets it.
We work hard and our training is constant, especially in race season. If you are like me, you always have that podium finish in the back of your mind and that's what drives your efforts. You feed off of competing.
You have to be very careful though, because it's easy to become obsessed with training and racing and it can take over your life if you let it. There is a healthy balance of managing training, work, family, kid's activities, social life, church, etc. So here are my top 5 tips for "keeping it REAL" when managing a busy life and training for a triathlon:
1. Clear your head. All you need is 10 minutes a day to pray, meditate, chill out, or read a personal development book. Remind yourself that there are many components to your life and triathlon training is just one of them. Sitting quietly and reflecting will calm you down and reduce your stress. Focus on anything else but your race during this time. You can even do this while you gently stretch or foam roll! The idea is to wipe the slate clean and relax.
2. List all of your roles. That's right- actually write them down. For example, my list would include: Mom, Wife, Business Owner, Blogger, Coach, Fitness Instructor just to name a few. This helps you to see that being a triathlete is NOT THE ONLY thing that you do. You are many things to many people! The triathlon is a major component of your life but not the ONLY component, got it?
3. If it's important to you, you will MAKE time for it. This requires a good balancing act. Try to get your workouts in early and at lunch so that you have time for your family/kid responsibilities. Missing one of your kid's games is not an option, so often times you just have to make do with the time that you do have. This can also mean saying NO to things that you really don't want to do and don't matter. For example, attending a baby shower in my book is not nearly as important as a bike ride with your kids or playing golf with your wife on a Sunday afternoon. Don't spend extra time doing things that you just don't give a crap about. You have enough on your plate. NOT. WORTH. IT.
4. Take RECOVERY WEEKS! I can't emphasize this enough! When you are training and racing hard for a season, your body just needs for you to be nice to it every so often. If your coach or your plan says "Recovery week" then that's what it means! So often I get athletes who just don't want to allow a recovery week for fear that they will lose fitness. Actually the OPPOSITE is true- some of your biggest fitness gains happen when you are SLEEPING!
5. Make plans on weekends or during free time that are not training or race related! Go to the movies, go out to dinner, have lunch with friends. It's all about BALANCE and you don't want your training to outweigh everything! Nurture your relationships or else they WILL suffer when you ignore them! Trust me on this one!