I feel bad. For the first time since launching the blog, I skipped a post. Between working full time, caring for a household, and training for another race, it can get tough to fit everything in. Triathlon is a hobby that you have to be 100% dedicated to in order to see the results, so when life gets busy, it can’t be the first thing that goes.
Lucky for me, I love to organize and prioritize things, and of all the things I organize, my life is the number one priority. Here’s how I find the extra time to never miss a workout.
Every Sunday I sit down with my three calendars- work, personal, and workout- and figure out when I can fit everything in. I have a grid on which I write all of my meals and snacks for the week along with the “end caps” of my day. Everything fits together like a puzzle. Don’t have to be at work until 9 on Monday? Having a cup of coffee before heading out on a run and then cooking some oatmeal for breakfast is no problem. Early conference call on Wednesday? Probably only time to squeeze in a quick strength routine before heading to work, and I’m probably going to want a quick protein shake for the car. Meetings until 7 after work? Not the day to schedule my long bike ride. Some people like to only work out in the mornings or only in the evenings, but with triathlon, you work out wherever and whenever you can fit it in. That being said…
Become a Morning Person
I can’t tell you the number of times I used to say, “I could never work out in the morning.” Now if I’m not awake at 6am and in the gym by 6:45, I start to question what I’ve been doing with my life. I need my coffee first thing for sure, but now it’s coffee and then gym sesh. To fit in the amount of training triathletes need, you have to take advantage of every moment you can get. It is possible to become a morning person, it just takes dedication and commitment to making it happen.
The art of meal prepping deserves its own post, to be sure. But the highlights? Sit down once a week to plan what you are going to eat for every meal that week. Then make a shopping list, head to the grocery store, and stock up. When you get home, cook everything that will keep, cut veggies and fruit, and pack lots of snacks for the office. This is so crucial to resisting the urge to stop at a fast food joint on your way home or gorging on unhealthy treats. The better you eat, the better you perform, and no one performs very well with a refried bean and cheese burrito still in their belly from the night before…
You are not superwoman (or man), you can not do it all. I struggle with this hard core. I like a clean home, tidy yard, home cooked meals, a full time job (or rather, the income from a full time job) and the time to see my friends and family. The thought of spending money to hire someone or buy something to take over those chores I hate when I can do them myself- for free!- was a nonstarter for me. However, I’ve spent more than a decent share of time in tears feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and sore from trying to do it all. And the worst thing? Those things are NEVER DONE. The day I caved and finally paid a landscaping company to clean up our yard, I came home to eleven full trash barrels ready at the curb for pickup. I cried again- I cried tears of happiness. Seeing those trash barrels made me realize that the money I paid just bought me a weekend away from breaking my back. And my weekend is worth a lot more than the check I wrote the professionals.
Always be Prepared to Train
Every night before I go to bed I lay out my workout clothes for the morning. I keep a gym bag packed with all the essentials and keep it in my car, just in case I can fit in a workout. On Tuesdays I like to join a local swim group. I can’t always make it, but I still pack my wetsuit, cap and goggles just in case a meeting gets cancelled. If you find yourself with the time but not the equipment, the opportunity is lost. But if you find yourself with the time AND you’re prepared to capitalize, then you can squeeze in one more session on your way to triathlon glory.
I hope these tips help you free up more time to devote to your triathlon training. Have a question about organizing your life around training? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask! If I don’t know the answer, I will find out. I’m happy to look like an idiot so that you don’t have to.