We live in a busy world with busy lives. If you are "adulting" then you most likely have to manage a full time job, a family and kid's activities, a household, a spouse, social events, and triathlon training. I don't know any athlete that doesn't need to find a way to find more time to train. How do we fit it all in without being overwhelmed?
I speak from experience here. I am a mom of two kids and I have been racing since they were babies. My husband was an active duty United States Marine at the time and often his hours in the field were crazy and many nights he didn't even come home. Not to mention the deployments and trainings that kept him in the field for months and weeks at a time.
I get it. You need to work this out so you have your training. So here are my top 8 tips for finding more time in your schedule to train.
1. Get up EARLY. This is a no brainer. Your chances of losing your workout at 5:30am are way less than losing it at 5:30pm. As the day goes on, there are always things that come up that can interfere with your workout time. At zero dark thirty, when the whole house is asleep, pretty much no one or nothing can take it away from you. Be smart and get your butt out of bed before everyone else. Set up your running shoes, gear, or trainer so all you have to do is get up and GO. You'll feel great that your workout is DONE and you'll have more energy to attack the day.
2. Hire help. This was the only way I got to workout when my husband was deployed to Iraq. I was pregnant and had a toddler running around so if I wanted to keep my mental health then I had to pay someone to keep my kids. This was totally justifiable in my opinion because my sanity depended on it and no, I didn't feel guilty. If you are a single mom or dad then TREAT YOURSELF to a workout and hire a babysitter for your kids. The money spent is worth having the time for your training. When we were training for the Marine Corps Marathon, Paul and I used to put the baby to bed on a Saturday night and have the sitter come at 8pm and we would do our 3 hour run. It was quality "date" time and we got in our long run. The same goes for doing chores around the house. If you want that time on Saturday morning for your long bike ride, then hire someone to mow the lawn or clean the house.
3. Make good use of your lunch time. If you can make it work, use your lunch hour for a 45 min indoor ride, run, or strength training session. Some jobs will allow for flexibility if you want to come in earlier or stay later so take advantage of this if it is offered. Think ahead by packing your bag at night with all your necessary gear, and have it ready to go in the morning when you leave for work. It is in the best interest of most organizations to keep their people healthy, so always ask for this flexibility. Remember, if you don't ask the answer is always no.
4. Train with your kids. Or dog. Or spouse. Why not set your kid's bike up on the trainer next to yours? Or maybe the kids can ride their bikes while you run with them. Trust me I have done this and it's HARD to keep up with a 6 year old on a bike while on foot. Involving your kids and spouse shows them that your race and commitment is important to you. It also sets a good example for them when they see you staying fit and healthy.
5. Get up early on the weekends. Our group ride is every Saturday and Sunday at 7:30am no matter what the weather or temperature. I am not much fun on a Friday night because I usually eat dinner, watch a little TV, set up my bike, nutrition, and gear and I go to bed at 10pm. It boils down to this: HOW BAD DO YOU WANT IT? I get up at 6am, drink my coffee and I am out the door by 7:15 on the bike. If the kids have a sports event I can usually make it by 10 or 10:30am. In the summer months I get up earlier if we have a family event.
6. Turn your race into a family vacation. When I was doing the Charleston Triathlon Series in South Carolina we planned a family vacation in Myrtle Beach immediately following the race. This made getting up on race morning much more doable for the kids because they knew we were headed straight to the beach after that. If you have the honor and privilege of competing in something awesome such as IM Florida or Kona (somewhere beachy and beautiful) think about making it a family event. Explore what is around the race venue and the city that might be fun for the kids. Sometimes there are smaller events included in the big one such as a kids 3 mile bike race or 1 mile fun run.
7. Don't cram 3 workouts all into one day. If something goes wrong and the workout thing just didn't happen for you, don't freak out and push everything you missed into one day. Yes this seems like the sensible thing to do, but in the long run it's really not good for your body and it will catch up with you by making you exhausted. This will only cost you training time in the long run. Take time to re-group and just keep moving forward when you get back on track.
8. Tell your co-workers, boss, and family how important your race is to you. Post your training schedule at your desk and on the refrigerator where it is VISIBLE to those around you. This way there are NO surprises when you don't want to stay for happy hour after work because you need to swim. Make it crystal clear that this is important to you and they will respect your training time.
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