Balancing life and training

Updated: Jul 26, 2019

One of the hardest aspects of triathlon or running is balancing life with training. We all have busy lives. Stack the goals of training for an endurance event on top of everyday life and things can quickly become overwhelming, even more so if you are not realistic about how much time you can commit to training. I learned hard way early on, you don’t have to!

In 2010 I committed to my first half IRONMAN. At the time I was a full time student at Northern Michigan University and was working part time a bike shop. My days were long with morning and evening classes while juggling time repairing bikes between. Majoring in Exercise Science I decided that I needed to apply what I had learned so far and developed a training plan. Up to this point I had committed to shorter endurance feats including short running races, half marathons, Xterra triathlons and olympic distance triathlons - a half IRONMAN was the next step. This commitment was a overall big jump in training time for me.

Early on I realized that pushing my workout to the end of the day was not going to cut it for my lifestyle. Whenever I waited until 6pm to get in my workouts I found that something had come up between studying or working at the bike shop - so a workout was not possible. Or, even more often I was just simply to tired from focusing on other commitments all day and would tell myself that I would just double up the next day. I constantly found myself far behind the ball. About one month into training I finally had my aha moment - I needed to go to bed early and get up early. From this moment on my training became much more consistent and the quality of each session was amplified. I kept my time to train realistic and I held myself accountable.

We all have different schedules and commitments that we need to fit training around. For me, 9 years later I still stick to the get up early and get it done mentality. While first 10 minutes may not feel great as I am still waking up I know that by the time the warm up is over I will feel great and ready to conquer the workout.

Here are a couple tips to keep your training schedule on track:

1. Communicate with family about training commitments before commiting to your goals.

2. Be realistic with how much time you have available to train.

3. Plan ahead, if you are training early have all of your gear and nutrition set out the night before.

Sync your TrainingPeaks calendar with your personal calendar - make a workout appointment with yourself.

4. Don’t give up if a conflict comes up and you do not have enough time to get in the whole season. Fifteen minutes is much better than zero minutes

5. Communicate with your coach to make sure the time you have available to train is maximized and unrealistic session commitments are not scheduled.

Days are busy. Be realistic, communicate and commit!